Cheap & Good

Cheap & Good: Bowled over by braised pork rice at Seah Im Food Centre

Eat 3 Bowls' Taiwanese offerings include (from top left, clockwise) intestine mee sua, salted crispy chicken and lu rou fan, or braised pork rice.
Eat 3 Bowls' Taiwanese offerings include (from top left, clockwise) intestine mee sua, salted crispy chicken and lu rou fan, or braised pork rice.ST PHOTO: YIP WAI YEE

Singaporeans have gone through a number of Taiwanese food crazes over the years - whether it is fried chicken steak, grass jelly desserts or, more recently, castella cake.

But the one Taiwanese dish I wish would start catching on here is the humble lu rou fan, or braised pork rice.

A steaming bowl of lu rou fan was the very first meal I had on my holiday to Taipei a few years ago and I have been craving it ever since.

Sadly, the dish at the few eateries that serve it here is either overly salty or completely dried out.

It turns out that a pair of young Singaporeans have been on the same fruitless hunt for the dish here too.

Whereas I am hopeless in the kitchen, they have managed to come up with their own recipe.

It is a good thing they decided to start selling their version because I can finally satisfy my craving as well.


    01-21 Seah Im Food Centre, 2 Seah Im Road; open: 8.30am to 7.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays and public holidays

    Rating: 4/5

Mr Lim Pei Tang and Mr Ng Jiewei, both 30, were insurance agents before they quit to set up a lu rou fan stall at Seah Im Food Centre last year.

Mr Lim says: "We spent many weekends in the kitchen experimenting and fine-tuning the recipe, and took several trips to Taiwan to ensure we got the taste right. It took us over a year to be happy with what we had created and the response has been very encouraging."

Indeed, their yummy lu rou fan ($2.50) is the closest to what I have had in Taiwan and the positive comments on their Facebook page - many from Taiwanese people living in Singapore - can attest to its authenticity.

The serving is not very big, but it is heaped with minced pork that has just the right proportion of fat and lean meat.

Braised in a gravy of dark soya sauce, rice wine and vinegar with hints of orange peel, the mildly sweet and melt-in-your- mouth tender pork is delicious piled over the piping hot short-grain rice.

While the stall also sells other Taiwanese street food items such as intestine mee sua ($3.50), fried squid ($4.50) and salted crispy chicken ($4) - all of which are perfectly decent - the star of the show is still the lu rou fan.

Given that the owners have named their stall Eat 3 Bowls, I need to acknowledge that and start working on my second and third helpings.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 16, 2017, with the headline 'Bowled over by braised pork rice'. Print Edition | Subscribe