If you don’t have a Taiwanese family to crash and experience a typical Taiwanese meal, then the place I’m about to introduce, tipped by my Kaohsiung Taiwanese food guide 雄好呷, may just be your second best option. Heck, each time I’ve eaten there, I’ve seen busy moms with family-size inox box containers stocking up on sides dishes and soup, so if it gets their approval, this can only be a good sign.
Literally translated, the name of this eatery means Dongpo Fresh Meat Rice, but to better capture the spirit of the place, I prefer to call it Old-Style Dongpo Pork 東坡鮮肉飯.
“Old-Style” because as soon as you see this small restaurant, you feel transported a few years back in time. In existence for over 30 years now, the place definitely shows its age but everything has been kept clean, and the atmosphere from back then has been preserved, or so I imagine.
Despite being called Dongpo, the place does not actually serve the famous refined dongpo pork, but “Pork” meat is the star of the show. The owner buys the meat fresh from the market every morning and works each different part of the beast into different dishes. The place is proud of its meat dishes, and although they also cater to vegetarians with a variety of meatless choices, they do have some words of wisdom for the latter crowd, 「不可食無肉， 不可居無竹」which means “no meal without meat, no shelter without bamboo”. I’ll let you ponder on it, but for now, let’s get to the food!
How to order?
The only menu available is hanged on the walls, and only list (going from right to left):
– rice dishes: braised ground pork rice 魯肉飯, braised small chunks of meat rice 條肉飯, braised minced pork rice 肉燥飯, plain rice 白飯
– a few small items: steamed flour-breaded pork belly 粉蒸肉, fish belly 魚肚, braised duck egg 魯鴨蛋, braised tofu 油豆腐, pork meatball 貢丸
– soups: four spirits soup 四神湯,
vegetable daikon soup 菜頭湯, miso soup 味噌湯, fish soup 海魚湯
Additional side items are available, but not listed, they are simply spread on the counter.
If you’re eating on the premises, even before ordering, locate a table and leave someone or something on it to mark your territory. During lunch or dinner, the place gets pretty busy.
Head to the counter, figure out what you want from the menu I described above, glance at the available side items and see what entices you, make up your mind.
Once you’re ready to order, make eye contact with one of the employee to let them know you want to order, tell them what you want from the menu, and then simply point at the items on the counter. They’ll put everything in small plates, load everything on a cute little old wood tray, ask where you’re sitting, and will promptly head over to unload all the goodies.
How to pay?
Once you’ve cleaned off all of your plates, raise your hand or do whatever else to get one of the employee’s attention, someone will come over, mentally calculate your tab, you pay, and off you go. Mission accomplished! You can move on to the dessert destination.
Pricewise, I find this place to be a real bargain, and even when ordering a little too much, the bill always stayed under 100 NT per person.
What to order?
Once thing I love about this place is their small plates which automatically portion controls what you eat. It prevents huge amounts of food waste/leftovers, and allows you to taste different dishes. Just pick a balanced mix of vegetables and meat/fish dishes, and don’t forget a soup to make it a real Taiwanese meal.
Of all the rice dishes, the braised small chunks of meat rice 條肉飯 is my favorite because the meat is cooked to perfect tenderness that even the muscle/tendon will melt in your mouth, but the other rice dishes should not leave you disappointed either.
As for the small items, I’ve had the braised duck egg 魯鴨蛋, which I wasn’t especially fond of due to its firm texture. I don’t know if this is a characteristic of duck eggs, but since I’m a fan of soft-boiled eggs, so my taste buds disagreed. The steamed flour-breaded pork belly 粉蒸肉 sounds totally strange, but I totally recommend it! And if you do order it, I recommend simply getting a bowl of plain rice to go along, otherwise, you may experience an overdose of of pork, especially from its fat.
For the soups, you can play it safe with the vegetable soup 菜頭湯 or miso soup 味噌湯, but I encourage you to try the four spirits soup 四神湯. It’s a Traditional Medicine food, and yes it has small intestines, but don’t let your imagination deter you from trying it. I’ll admit that I was myself a bit apprehensive, but I’ve learned to enjoy this soup full of flavors.
As far as the other side dishes go, there’s just too many to go through them all, but they usually have everyone’s tastes covered. There are a few fish dishes, all kinds of vegetables, bamboo shoots, meatballs, tofu cooked in different ways, etc…
In case the soup is not enough to quench your thirst, there’s also some complimentary barley tea which you can help yourself to.
If I lived next to Old-Style Dongpo Pork, I certainly would cook a lot less at home. They just make it so easy to have a fulfilling balanced meal without breaking the bank, and I simply love the atmosphere there.
Name: Old-Style Dongpo Pork 東坡鮮肉飯
Additional Reviews+Photos: yam/mousehui920, pixnet/kid0406, pixnet/sandy202823
Address: No. 110-2, Sìwéi 2nd Rd, Lingya District Kaohsiung City (高雄市苓雅區四維二路110之2號）
Menu: Chinese only, so if the pointers in the post are not enough, give Pleco some thought
Business hours: 9:00-20:00, closed once per month, on a Sunday, but which is one is not specified…
(last updated: 2014/11/30 )