Minced pork rice
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2011)|
|Minced pork rice|
Minced pork rice served with pickles
|Literal meaning||braised meat rice|
Minced pork rice (Chinese: 滷肉飯; pinyin: lǔ ròu fàn; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ló͘-bah-pn̄g) is a Chinese-style rice dish commonly seen throughout Taiwan and southern Fujian province. The flavor may vary from one region to another, but the basic ingredients remain the same: ground pork marinated and boiled in soy sauce served on top of steamed rice.
According to Shuowen Jiezi (說文解字, Explaining Simple and Analyzing Compound Characters), The word “Lu (滷)” has the closest meaning to “cooking in thick broth or sauce.” This gives the term “滷肉飯” the direct meaning of “rice with braised meat.”
However, for several decades, Taiwanese have used the homophone “魯” instead of “滷”. Although people still use the original character in China, “魯肉飯” has become the most common name seen in Taiwanese restaurants and street vendors. 魯 is the ancient name for the Chinese province of Shandong, which led the Michelin Green Guide Taiwan to write in April 2011 that minced pork rice originated from Shandong. This confusion then led to a fierce debate in which most Taiwanese insisted that minced pork rice was in reality a true symbol of Taiwan, while others viewed it as a Chinese dish that caught on in Taiwan.
As the origin of the flavor, the key to making Minced pork rice is undeniably the sauce. The most popular way of preparation seen in Taiwan is stir-frying the ground meat with sliced shallot in oil before the material is later on boiled in soy sauce. In the frying process, one may customize his unique flavor by adding some condiments such as sugar, rice wine, pepper and other spices. When finished, the dark-brown meat sauce is called “bah-sò (肉燥)”. When bah-sò is served with steamed rice, it would be the renowned Minced pork rice. Other than that, the sauce bah-sò also goes well with noodles, soup, vegetables and many Taiwanese homemade dishes. The dish is commonly served with stir-fried vegetables and a marinated hard boiled egg on the side.
While Minced pork rice is referred to as one important icon in typical Taiwanese folk cuisine, the variety of methods to customize flavors is so wide that it creates considerable differences between regions. In southern Taiwan, where people name it by the sauce “bah-sò-pn̄g (肉燥飯)” instead of the meat, Minced pork rice is preferably served with pork with less fat. People in the north of Taiwan favor a greasier version of meat sauce with rice.
In southern Taiwan, while “bah-sò-pn̄g” is seen on the menu indicating Minced pork rice, “ló͘-bah-pn̄g (滷肉飯)” remains on the very same menu, referring to another dish where braised pork belly covers the rice. The same rice with braised pork belly is known as “khòng-bah-pn̄g (焢肉飯)” in northern Taiwan.
Minced pork rice can also be found in China, and a wider selection of vegetables such as corn is eaten along with it.