What the locals eat daily in Taiwan- Bento
The best way to explore food culture of a country is to know what the locals eat daily. In Taipei, people tend to eat out more often than cooking, because it is convenient and cheap. The most common dish the locals eat is called “Bento”. Bento its not a name of food, it is a kind of meal. It is a boxed meal consist several components to be eaten on the go. You can consider it as a lunch box, instead of bread, ham, cheese and salad; it is rice, vegetable, egg, tofu, or meat.
Bento boxes in Mandarin literally means “convenience packs”. Students and office workers often pack their own bento a night ahead and bring to school/work as lunch; for some people who doesn’t cook, or has no time to cook, there are plenty of Bento restaurant/shop over the city. One bento is about 3-4 euros, and mostly a bento will include at least three different vegetables/meat on top of rice, and a soup or drink.
There are various kinds of bento, typically, bento stores will always have drumstick, pork, or fried pork chop bento. To know more types of bentos read Taiwanese fast food.
Today I will be sharing a recipe of one of the most common bento dish, it is a kind of chicken rice called “Ji Rou Fan”; translated in English is Shredded chicken over rice. It is seasoned steamed chicken breast tear into shreds, served with a salty sauce on top of white rice. This is one of my favorite Taiwanese cuisine, its so simply but hearty.
Shredded Chicken over Rice
Makes 2 servings
- 300 grams of chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons of rice wine (or white wine)
- 2 tablespoons of fried shallots
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 2 cups of steamed rice
- place chicken breast in a bowl, add rice wine (white wine) and water( enough to cover the chicken) to the bowl. Prepare a steamer with boiling water underneath; set the bowl of chicken inside the steamer and steam until cook. This will take about 20 minutes.
- Once the chicken is cooked, set the chicken and the juices in the bowl aside to let cool.
- Take a saucepan, put the juices from step 2 in the saucepan. Add soy sauce, white pepper, shallots, and sugar; bring to boil.
- Meanwhile, use a fork to help, shred the chicken into think slices.
- Ready cooked rice in a bowl, top the rice with shredded chicken, ladle the sauce (step3) over the chicken to serve.
- Chicken can be replaced by turkey, choose whichever is more convenient in your area.
- Add some other fried vegetables, eggs or any other sides you like, and make your own “Bento”.
Here is an example of a shredded chicken over rice bento you can get in Taiwan. It has tofu, fried vegetable, bamboo and an egg alone with chicken rice!
Why not try this easy recipe of Shredded chicken over rice and make yourself a nice lunch box for school or work tomorrow?
To read more about food culture of Taiwan and recipes, please read: