Fu Pa Wang means "rich king" in Chinese, but maybe it's more appropriate to call this restaurant the "rich king of pork." It specializes in stewed pork, particularly pig's knuckle and pig's feet. Walking in the vicinity, you can smell the pork cooking long before you reach the restaurant.
It is necessary to arrive at the restaurant at the right time in order to get the restaurant's most popular dish -- pork shank -- which sells rapidly after lunch or dinner service begins. Because of the small size of the restaurant, (just nine tables), it is always full and queuing is almost inevitable. More than 120kg of pork is consumed in this small restaurant every day.
At the front of the restaurant, almost extending into the street, there are two giant pots in which meat is constantly stewing, stimulating your appetite even before you enter.
PHOTO: YU SEN-LUN, TAIPEI TIMES
According to owner Hsieh Tiao-lung (謝調龍), the pork needs to be stewed for four hours. And when serving, the sliced meat or knuckle is placed on small plates, garnished with sauce and chopped garlic shoots. The shoots are less spicy than garlic cloves but give out a light spicy fragrance that compliments the juicy meat and smooth fat and tendon.
The stewed pork is divided into three categories. The most popular, and the quickest to sell out, is pork shank (NT$80), which contains mainly lean meat with a minimum of fat and bone. The second is the knuckle (NT$50). This part has a higher proportion of tendon, making it smoother and more gelatinous. The third kind of meat is a challenge for gluttons, because it's the pure pig feet (NT$50), largely made up of tendon and fat, but for pig's feet lovers, this is the best stuff.
The restaurant offers many side dishes including stewed bamboo shoots, bean curd, egg and bitter melon all stewed in a soy-based thick sauce. An order for one vegetable side dish with pork and a bowl of rice or soup will come to around NT$100.
"My original idea was to recreate the old-time Taiwanese taste I remember from when I was small," Hsieh said. The intention to preserve the old Taiwanese feeling is also reflected in the decor, with wooden tables, long benches, and pottery decorations on the wall. The down side is you can't really sit around and ruminate on the delicious food, for there will always be people waiting for your seat.
Address: 20, Lane 115, Nanking E. Rd., Sec. 2, Taipei (台北市南京東路2段115巷20號)
Telephone: (02) 2507-1918
Open: 11:30am to 8pm
Average meal: NT$120
Details: Chinese menu only. Credit cards not accepted
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