As featured on Drive Time with Simon Mayo & Nigel Barden – Taiwanese Braised Pork rice bowl, or Lu rou fan, is one of the most popular dishes in Taipei and for good reason: it’s fatty, rich, comforting and packed with intense soy flavours.


  • 10g dried shitake mushrooms (optional)
  • 800g/1lb 1½oz skin-on pork belly, cut into 1.5cm/½in pieces
  • 25g/1oz white sugar
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 5cm/2in piece of ginger, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 spring onions, white part for cooking, green for garnish, sliced
  • 1½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • ½ tbsp peanut butter


If using shitake mushrooms, take 100ml/3½ fl oz of boiling water and pour it over the dried shitake mushrooms in a heatproof container.

Put the diced pork in a large wok or saucepan and cover with water. Simmer over a low heat for 30–40 minutes.

Remove the pork, strain through a colander and discard the water.

Wipe the wok clean and add the sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Heat once more to allow the sugar to become a golden brown caramel.

Add 50ml/1½ fl oz hot water, then pour the caramel sauce into a small container and put the wok back on the hob.

Wipe the wok clean, add the oil and the reserved pork belly. Caramelise in 2 batches for 6–7 minutes per batch until golden. Remove the pork and transfer to a plate.

Remove the shitake mushrooms from the water, keeping the water for later. Slice up the mushrooms.

Add the sliced shitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic and white part of the spring onions and fry for 3–4 minutes over a medium heat.

Add in both soy sauces and cook down for 2–3 minutes.

Add 400ml/14fl oz water, the mushroom water (from earlier), caramelised pork, five-spice and the caramel sauce that you made earlier. Allow to cook down, uncovered, over a medium heat for 30–40 minutes. You want the pork super tender and the sauce thick, just coating the pork.

Stir in the peanut butter and turn down the heat.

Taste and adjust the sauce to your palate.

Serve with the sliced green part of the spring onion, quick-pickled cucumber salad and steamed rice.

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