[Taipei] For ex-students of National Taiwan University, having a Lan Jia Guobao 藍家割包 (sometimes spelt as “Lan Chia Guabao”) and a boba milk drink at Chen San Ding 陳三鼎青蛙鮮奶 together at Gongguan Night Market should bring back a whole lot of memories. (Unfortunately, Chen San Ding has closed recently.)
Lan Jia Guabao, located near the University of Taiwan, is an eatery in Zhongzheng District popular for serving one of the best Guabao in Taipei.
Guabao 刈包 aka the “Taiwanese hamburger”, is a white Chinese-style bread sandwiching braised pork belly, pickled greens, peanut, and coriander.
With a texture similar to mantou, the white bread is soft & fluffy, steamed, but shaped like pita bread.
And unlike the burgers of the West, the Guabao is more pocket-filled with the bread folded in half.
At the heart of this burger are shredded pieces of braised pork, which you can choose between the fatty or the lean, or a half-and-half mixture of both.
Joining the pork belly meat are some pickled greens (also braised in a dark, savoury sauce), crushed sweet peanut powder, and sprigs of fresh coriander.
This “Taiwanese hamburger” has gained fame in various parts of the world, from David Chang’s Momofuku, to BAO at Soho London. (And to be fair, after trying all three, Lan Jia is the version I would to have again, and again.)
The shop is located at Gongguan Night Market 公館夜市, which is a quick 5 minutes’ walk from the Gongguan Station. Due to the proximity to the university, this night market is popular with youths.
A piece of Gua Bao comes with five options of fatty meat, lean meat, half-and-half, moderately fatty, and moderately lean. Each is priced at NT$60 (SGD2.80).
When I took the first bite, I knew why it was so well-loved.
With hands holding the soft fluffy bun, take time to savour tender melt-in-the-mouth pork belly within, and the peanut powder added that tinge of surprise and sweetness.
The overall combination didn’t feel greasy, or there was neither too much or little sauce so that the bun didn’t go soggy.
The blend of rich savoury and sweetness, various textures all in that single bite. Like it was the perfect Gua Bao.
There are numerous steps in getting the bun right. The freshest pork is used, wok-fried with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, shallots, sugar and rice wine, then braised for two hours.
They get their pork fresh from the butcher. The meat is wok-fried (with garlic, shallot, sugar, soy sauce and rice wine) and braised for two hours.
The peanut powder is from a 100-year-old shop.
Lan Jia is also known for its “Si Shen Tang” 四神汤 (NT$70, SGD3.20) – pork intestine soup, and Pork Rib Sweet Corn Soup (NT$70).
I also ordered other sides such as the Meat Dumpling (NT$60) and Mee Sua with Intestines (NT$50) and both proved to be no second fiddle and worthy to be on the menu.
Lan Chia Guabao 藍家割包
Gongguan Night Market, No. 3, Alley 8, Lane 316, Section 3, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100
Tel: +886 2 2362 9538
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 12:00am (Tue – Sun), Closed Mon
Google Maps – Lan Jia Traditional Taiwanese Snack
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