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Taiwanese Five-Spice Pork with Rice (Lu Rou Fan)

6 Servings

40 minutes

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This Taiwanese dish, called lu rou fan, is a one-bowl meal consisting of richly flavored, soy-simmered pork served over steamed rice. Pork belly is traditional, but we found ground pork faster and just as delicious. Hard-cooked eggs are common, but we preferred soft-cooked eggs for their runny yolks. To make soft-cooked eggs, bring 2 cups of water to a simmer in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add eggs, cover and steam over medium for 7 minutes. Transfer the eggs to ice water to stop the cooking, then shell and halve the eggs before serving. We liked serving steamed or stir-fried bok choy or broccoli alongside, a nice balance to the richness of the pork.




Don’t use regular soy sauce; when reduced during cooking in this recipe it will become too salty. And don't use cooking sherry, which contains added salt; use an inexpensive dry sherry.

40 minutes


  • pounds ground pork

  • 1

    cup low-sodium soy sauce, divided, plus more, as needed


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Jenna S.
November 15, 2022
Relatively quick recipe that produces a delicious dinner. I added additional vegetables, like arugula to the pork and sautéed red bell peppers as a topping.
Carole C.
June 4, 2022
Delicious and Not Difficult
The dish has a sweet and savory blend of flavors, from the cinnamon in the five spice powder contrasting with the smoky flavors of browned onions and garlic. It has become one of my regular recipes, it is that good!! It was fabulous! I'd love to upload a photo, but do not see that as an option.
Layne S.

What about using dark soy sauce instead of low sodium soy sauce? I know dark is less salty than regular light soy sauce but not sure how it compares to lower sodium soy sauces. I’d guess it’s fine mixed in the ground pork and I’ve seen it used for braising in other recipes but I don’t want to end up with a salty mess.

Janelle C.

This is a great question. Would you post it in our Q&A Forum for Milk Street Insiders and Digital subscribers? It's currently free for all to use and we're sure others would love to hear the answer to this one.

The Milk Street Team

Layne S.

It worked! I posted in the Q&A forum as well. Thanks so much for this recipe! It's very similar to a dish I had in Shanghai a few years ago and I was so happy to find and prepare it at home!

Geoff F.

Is mirin too sweet to sub in for the sherry?

Janelle C.

Hi Geoff,

In a pickle, mirin is a fine sub for dry sherry.

The Milk Street Team

Nona M.

I would think mirin would be too sweet. Perhaps shaoxing Chinese rice wine or sake would be better substitutes. Mirin is really more of finishing sauce to add gloss and sweetness towards the end of cooking. I would even use drier white wine if no shaoxing or sake.

Nona M.

I would think mirin would be too sweet. Perhaps shaoxing Chinese rice wine or sake would be better substitutes. Mirin is really more of finishing sauce to add gloss and sweetness towards the end of cooking. I would even use drier white wine if no shaoxing or sake.

Elyse W.

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Wesley F.

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Tim S.

I found this too sweet. What would be a good way to ramp up the savory flavour and dial back on the sweetness?

Crystal H.

If this had stars, I would give this a zero star review. It was too sweet and there was too much five spice. The only way to make it taste better was to put in three times the amount of the pork in rice. It didn't have much flavor, all I could taste was five spice, the soy flavor didn't come through. I would put in half full sodium soy sauce next time. This was pretty disappointing, since I was getting pretty worked up about and because Milkstreet in usually pretty reliable.

Jen C.

Agree with comments that it was too sweet and the five spice was the overwhelming flavor. Likely won't make again.

Jason C.

My husband and I really enjoyed this dish. We did not find it too sweet or think the 5-spice was too strong. It reminds me a lot of a Taiwanese noodle dish I had in Chelsea Market several years ago. We added sauteed baby broccoli with sesame seeds and used a poached egg instead of a soft boiled egg and it was really enjoyable. We will definitely make this again.

Matthew Z.

Collected foods sell a very good, well balanced version of five spice powder. It’s sold on Amazon

kathleen h.

agreeing with many: Too sweet and too much 5 spice. I read all comments and decreased both dramatically and still found it sweet and overpowering. Won't make it again, agree with Crystal I usually find Milk Street so reliable. My first real bust.

Jennifer B.

Not sure about sweetness of five-spice, but overall it was just too heavy. Some vegetables would have been welcome. Sorry, milk street, not one of your winners.

Diana L.

I made this last night. Instead of the rice, I used ramen noodles. After reading reviews, I have decided to mix the soy sauce and sherry together in the small bowl. I have added 1/4 tsp of 5 spice powder and 1 tablespoon of sugar then I have added another 1/4 tsp of spice and 1 more tablespoon of sugar. I was testing after each addition. You can always add more spices and sugar later. It came out great. My family loved it. Because I did not add all the sugar, it did not caramelized in 5 min. I had extra liquid in the pan but it worked out great because it soaked into noodles. After the meat was cooked, I turned off the heat and added thin sliced carrots and bok choy. It sat for a few min then I have served it over ramen noodles and scallions.

Marilyn B.

I started making this last Spring and my husband and both loved it. I have made it several time since. It also freezes extremely well, which is a bonus. This was my first introduction to 5 spice powder and now it is a pantry staple. I tend to lean more toward savory than sweet and generally cut the sugar in most recipes .... but cooked this recipe as written. Loved it and it is part of my rotation. Last thing, I serve this with a salad and can stretch the servings to 6 instead of 4.

Jackie B.

I did not find it too sweet nor did it have too much five spice for me. I made it at my mom's home and she didn't have low sodium soy so I used a mix of regular soy and tamari. I could taste the five spice more in that version than when I brought it home. When I brought it home it was neither too sweet nor too five spicey. In fact I could have used MORE five spice--I suspect mine is old and losing its mojo. At home it was definitely too salty and I'm going to try dark soy and less of it for the sauce, thinned with water. I do have concerns about the amount of sugar but not because its too sweet. So maybe I will cut back on that. I guess I don't see why people can't tweak this to their taste. I definitely would add a green like chinese broccoli to the serving. Despite it being salty we had zero left over so I couldn't do at home what I did at my mom's which was make eggrolls with this plus chopped water chestnuts and scallions as a filling. Now THAT was a great use of leftovers.