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The Culinary Gods Must Live Here! March 1, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Food, Taiwan, Travel.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Restaurant: Jing Fung
Cuisine: Local Taiwanese (specialty: Lu Ro Fan)
Price: Around TWD 50-100 per person
Location: Section 1, Roosevelt Road, Taipei (Corner of Lane 59, Section 1, NanChang Road)

And so we have come to the final entry in my Taiwanese Food Adventure, and I have saved the best for last.

Jing Fung is a no-frills, kinda dodgy-looking restaurant next to the Nanmen Markets (take Exit 2 of the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall MRT stop and walk straight for about 50m) in Taipei.  Although it is constantly full of people, even at 10pm at night, it’s not the type of place that non-locals would go to without a recommendation or a tour guide.

The tables look old and peeling, the floors might look dark ugly, and the walls may be discoloured – but none of that matters, because Jing Fung is a place that is blessed by the culinary gods.

Jing Fung has been around for 20+ years because of its Lu Ro Fan (stewed pork rice).  Perfectly cooked white rice topped with a mixture of lean and fatty pork, sliced shitake mushroom …and I don’t know what else.  Rumor has it, the stewed pork is a special recipe which involves a top secret blend of Chinese herbal spices and sauces and hours of stewing.  I believe that, because I’ve never tasted any other Lu Ro Fan that has managed to duplicate that flavour.

(To see the pics and read on, click on ‘more’)

Let me tell you something.  If I was on death row and had to pick my last meal before I get fried in the electric chair, I would pick the Lu Ro Fan from Jing Fung.  It is that freaking good.  And besides, when I get toasted, hopefully my flesh will smell like the Lu Ro Fan and make people happy (and hungry).

That was supposed to make the food sound enticing, by the way.

Anyway, there is more than just the Lu Ro Fan at Jing Fung.  The various soups and noodles are also fantastic.  The perfect complement for me is the Ro Geng (some sort of thick, fish paste soup) or the fried pork cutlet and radish soup, plus a plate of steamed vegetables.

Argh!  I’m hungry.

Since I have restricted myself to a top score of 10, I have no choice but to limit Jing Fung to a perfect 10 out of 10!

[Facts: Jing Fung has many stories.  Like how pop-sensation Jay Chou loves the food there.  You often see Mercs or BMWs or limos parked outside and a driver hurrying in to get some takeaway.  And there’s the story of the tax problems from a few years ago.  The place apparently makes over US$1 million in revenue a year (or something crazy like that).  Keep in mind one small bowl Lu Ro Fan costs TWD25 (that’s less than US$1), and that’s a lot of bowls.  Anyway,because it’s a cash-only business, Jing Fung used some creative accounting, and needless to say the numbers didn’t add up for the tax office.  They took a staggering fine on the chin, bought some cash registers with rolls of receipts, and kept making millions.]

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