December 6, 2023

Taiwanese fatty pork

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As I'm spending a few days back in Taiwan, Imma use this chance to eat some of my favorite local food. As it turned out, I was really missing some fatty pork!

I landed a few days ago and didn't have lunch on the plane, so I decided to check out a place near home that I hadn't had a chance to try for the last few years. Jin Da Braised Pork Rice (今大魯肉飯) is apparently pretty famous, and when I showed up at 2:30 p.m. on a Saturday, there was still a line waiting to place orders. Thankfully I didn't have to wait too long, since I don't have much patience to line up for food.

Braised pork rice with soy egg (魯肉飯加魯蛋) - pretty good. This is my kind of braised pork (滷肉), which is to say that it is made entirely of skin and the fat below the skin. No lean meat whatsover, so the texture is extremely soft and satisfying.

Braised Napa cabbage (魯白菜) - good to have some veg to go with my very fatty pork, and we've got some little tiny dried shrimp. No surprise, though, that there's plenty of MSG here.

Pretty happy that I finally made it here to check it out, but I do wish it were a little bit closer to my apartment.

I haven't visited a braised pig trotter specialist in Taipei in quite a few years, and I decided to rectify the situation on this trip and rope Little Rabbit in on this quest. She suggested that we hit Lao Pai Chang Pork Knuckle (老牌張豬腳), which is kinda across the river from my apartment and not too far away.

The shop opens at 11 a.m. but a short line had already formed when my friend arrived more than 10 minutes before the official opening time. As there are two of us, we decided to order a few items.

I was looking at these big hunks of pork hock (蹄膀), and Little Rabbit was intent on ordering the whole thing, eat some of it with me, and take the rest home. She had already brought along her own takeaway container...

Pork hock and pork knuckle (蹄膀加中段) - unfortunately they didn't understand what Little Rabbit wanted when she asked for the hock. As we were ordering other items, they probably thought we only wanted a little bit of the fatty hock so what's what they gave us, and plated it along with the pork knuckle.

Pork hock (中腿) - this is actually the calf, not the upper thigh, or what the Alsatians would call jambonneau. I asked them not to cut it up, but leave it whole so it looks great in a picture.

This is one of my favorite cuts of pork, and I gotta say I really loved this. In fact, it's pretty damn close to what mom makes at home.

Marinated tofu (滷豆腐)

Stir fry cabbage (高麗菜)

White rice with gravy sauce (白飯加滷汁) - I know I shouldn't complain about something that cost me TWD 20, but this was a bad deal when the plain steamed rice without the sauce is TWD 10. I could have easily taken the sauce from our dishes and poured it into the bowl myself... it's literally the same sauce!

This was a really, really satisfying lunch. There are few things I love more than fatty pork with plenty of skin, so this was right up my alley. I'd love to come back again soon.

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