World Record: Braise away…

By Nancy Liu  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 - Page 12

One month after breaking the world’s record for making the largest serving of meatballs wrapped in sticky rice (肉圓), which weighted in at 685kg, the folks of Changhua County are back and ready to take on another challenge.

On Sunday, 2,000 people are expected to gather at the county’s sports stadium to witness a moment of glory when 300kg of kongroufan (焢肉飯), or pork belly and rice, is prepared and cooked on site. The feat, if successful, will earn the county another name in the Guinness World Records.

Kongroufan, which features slabs of pork belly braised in a soy-based sauce and laid on a bed of rice, is a classic dish in Changhua, a farming community where everyone likes bowls of piping hot comfort food.

“Changhua people have developed a big appetite for food because, as farmers, we get hungry from working in the fields,” said Tien Fei-peng (田飛鵬), director-general of Changhua County Government’s Department of City and Tourism, the event’s organizer.

The dish’s popularity has even prompted restaurants to receive customers 24-hours a day, generating a food culture nowhere else to be found in the country, he said.

Although the recipe is as easy as simmering pork for two to three hours in a sophisticated sauce, one experienced cook said that the secret to making the best tasting kongroufan lies in managing the heat so that the meat comes out tender and moist.

“It won’t be as easy as doing it in my own kitchen,” said Yen Chih-hua (顏志華).

Yen and 29 other cooks will be overlooking 30 mega-size clay pots custom-made for the event. The pots will be lined up in a square formation so that the audience can have a panoramic view of the cooking show.

“I have never cooked in such a big establishment before,” Yen told the Taipei Times, revealing a tinge of nervousness.

But Yen’s worries are probably excessive, as the public is more likely to pay attention to the live performances delivered by local artists than cooks whipping up a feast. To get the event rolling, kid’s show hosts are invited to interact with the audience and there will also be booths selling fresh produce grown in the county.

Admission to the event is free and participants will be served a portion of the 300kg pork belly and rice as a reward for those showing up.