Taiwanese Bian Dang

I’m Taiwanese and I love Taiwanese food. Some of the most homey dishes are the portable lunchboxes, or bian dang. It’s usually a meat dish on served on a bed of steamed rice with braised pork with sides of braised cabbage, a marinated egg, bean curd, and other greens. To go all-out pig, I made two pork dishes: fried pork chop and braised pork belly.

It’s basically all the same spices: five-spice, soy sauce, sugar, and garlic. Now I get to eat this all week, yes!


Lu rou fan (Taiwanese braised pork)

  • Hard-boil 4-6 eggs. Peel.
  • Fry 6 medium shallots finely sliced. Pat dry. (OR 1 cup prepackaged fried shallots)
  • In leftover oil, brown 2.5 lb ground pork in batches.
  • Fry 4 cloves garlic sliced, the white parts of 2 scallions sliced, 4 dried/fresh shiitake mushrooms and diced. Add pork and shallots.
  • Add 1/4 cup dark soy sauce, 1/4 cup light soy sauce, 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine, 2 tbsp rock sugar, 1/4 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp five-spice powder, enough water (~4 cups) to an inch above meat.
  • Simmer covered for 75-120 minutes. Add eggs an hour before the end. Boil uncovered to reduce as needed.
  • Serve on rice (essential). Top with the green part of scallions, egg sliced in half, fried sliced bean curd, braised cabbage.


Taiwanese Braised Pork Belly

  • Cut 1 lb pork belly into 2”x2”x0.5” pieces. Fry in oil on med-high until lightly browned on both sides, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Saute 2 cloves garlic sliced, 3 slices ginger, 1 star anise, 1 red chili sliced, 2 tbsp rock sugar, until the sugar is melted.
  • Add 1/2 tsp five spice powder, 1/4 cup rice wine, 1/4 cup dark soy sauce, 1/4 cup light soy sauce, 4 cups water.
  • Simmer pork belly in marinade for 1-2 hours, until very tender.


Taiwanese Pork Chop

  • Take 4 pork chops, bone-in, score the fatty sides, pound until flat.
  • Marinate 30 minutes to overnight in a bag with 4 cloves garlic smashed, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp white pepper, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp shaoxing wine, 1/2 tsp five spice powder.
  • Coat with 1/2 cup coarse sweet potato starch.
  • Shallow fry for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.


Taiwanese Braised Cabbage

  • Reconstitute 2 dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup water, then reserve the stock. Reconstitute 1 tbsp dried shrimp, then drain. Coarsely chop half head Taiwanese cabbage (white, flat, ~2 lbs), discarding the stem.
  • In a large wok on med-high heat, in 1 tbsp oil, saute the mushrooms, shrimp, 2 cloves garlic sliced, and optionally 1 small red chili chopped.
  • Add the cabbage, 1/2-inch carrot grated, 1/8 tsp white pepper, and pinch salt. Toss until incorporated.
  • Pour in mushroom stock and simmer covered for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until leaves are wilted and translucent.