Lu Rou Fan, Taiwanese Braised Pork

  • 3 Tbl peanut oil
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder (or belly), finely chopped
  • 6 shallots or about 1 ½c, chopped
  • 8 Shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1Tbl grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder (see note below)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ½ cup dark soy sauce (*specialty item)
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 cup Chinese Shaoxing rice cooking wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 hard boiled and halved Chinese tea eggs, peeled (optional)
  • Takuan, Japanese yellow pickle slices (optional)
  • bok choy halved

  1. Heat the oil on a saucepan over low heat. Brown pork in sauce pan with peanut oil. Add and cook the sugar until it starts to melt and browns, then add the shallots, stir-fry for a minute. Add the mushrooms and garlic and stir-fry for another couple minutes.
  2. Add the shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the spices  and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Towards the last 20 minutes, you can place hard boiled eggs on top to pick up the sauce, or you can make Chinese Tea eggs instead ( . I usually drape bok choy in there too and let it steam the last 8 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Throw in some sliced Japanese yellow pickles, Takuan or or takuan-zuke for added zest. 

Peanut oil has a high flash point and I like the flavor but you can use other oils. I found the dark soy sauce in Chinatown, you can mail order it from Amazon, too. Kim Lan is a favorite taiwanese soy sauce. I keep the meat finely chopped so the flavors blend easier.
This is a favorite Taiwanese dish that I used to get at St Alps Tea House on Bedford Ave. before they closed.  Taiwanese Braised Pork Belly is also slightly similar to Shanghainese Red Braised Pork Belly (Chinese: 紅燒肉; Hong Shao Rou), Chinese Dongpo Pork (Chinese: 東坡肉), and Japanese Braised Pork Belly Kakuni (Japanese: 角煮).
Note: You can make your own five-spice powder by combining 1/4 teaspoon each ground cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seed, plus 1 cinnamon stick and 1 clove star anise.