Monday, March 29, 2010

Formosa Chang... (鬍鬚張魯肉飯)

When I was a little kid, I used to refuse dinner all the time, not because what my mom had made was terrible or anything, I just preferred eating rice with soy sauce and sugar. Yes, that sounds really stupid, but it actually tastes incredible (I still do that sometimes ha). The next logical progression in this soy sauce rice thing... is to add meat to the equation. So as I got older and learned how to not burn my hand on the stove, I'd make myself rice with soy sauce and ground pork. What's the point of this story? Mostly that I love rice and soy sauce pork. Which leads me to... Formosa Chang's restaurant, known in Taiwan as 鬍鬚張 (Hu Xu Zhang). Now the Taiwanese take their minced pork rice, called 魯肉飯 (lu rou fan) very seriously. So serious that they hold national contests to determine the top bowls of this stuff every year, sort of like the beef noodle thing, but less glorified. This place, which is actually a fast food chain (~weird, I know) took 1st place honors in 2008 if I remember correctly. I figured I should at least try it once. Plus the guy on the main logo looks like Leonidas from '300.' Baller as hell.


So first of all, for 55 NT ($1.60 or thereabouts) you get a meal set. That covers a 'large' minced pork rice, with a side dish of greens. From the picture (sorry it sucks, they have crappy lighting), you get a bowl of rice with pickled ginger, a soy sauce egg, and a side of greens, tofu, and cucumbers. First off, that's insanely expensive. I might sound like a miser, but in most places, a bowl of minced pork rice is like... 25 NT, hell I've even seen 15 NT in the boondocks. Basically, they're charging you for Leonidas' endorsement. Second... it's not even that good. I mean, I enjoyed eating it, don't get me wrong, but after the fact I realized that I was still hungry given the serving size, and I also found myself wishing that I had spent the money elsewhere. Sigh, anyway. I'm not going to tell you to not go here, but I certainly won't be going back.

On a related tangent, it's obvious people in NYC love this stuff as much as I do (the pork sauce on rice) since the 'NYC Cravings Truck' has made a killing off their 'secret pork sauce.' Listen. I know how to make that sauce in bulk. If anyone wants to join me in a business venture where we undercut their business... let me know haha.

4 comments:

SinoSoul said...

wondering if you caught the latest article on Taiwanese cuisine by Matt Gross on Saveur? http://www.saveur.com/article/Travels/Taipei-Family-Style

Nicholas said...

Oh wow, story of my life... except I can safely replace his grandmother in law with my own grandmother. Not sure I agree with the idea of 魯肉飯 being the borderline for restaurant cuisine/home cooking though. That's pretty much comfort (home) food in my opinion, not that that's the point of the article...

Anonymous said...

Which Taiwanese mother does not know how to make 魯肉? Serioussssly.

Nicholas said...

Haha, my mom knows how to make it, she just thought I was stupid for only wanting to eat soy sauce + pork + sugar on a daily basis.

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