Do you guys love night markets? Man, let me tell you, night markets are a big thing in Asia, particularly Taiwan.

They sell practically everything – from clothing, makeup, kids’ toys, home decorations, funky fishes, old music records, and pet products, to sugary sweets and plated dinner. You name it.

If you’ve followed Anthony Bourdain’s Taiwan episode on CNN, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Growing up in Taiwan, I can proudly tell you that Taiwanese night markets are the soul of the country. If you only have a 24-hr. layover in Taiwan, I strongly recommend that you visit night markets. They sum up a perfect mixture of the country – vibrant food culture, friendly people, and fast paced urban life.

Anyway, let’s talk about the main star here – Taiwanese meat sauce.   As you may have put together if you’re reading carefully, it was born in the culture of street markets and by now every single family in Taiwan has a version of its own.

I remembered having a mini bowl of meat sauce with noodles and roasted tea eggs as snack at my grandma’s house after school. The image of us sitting at a small table over a few bamboo chairs still lives vividly in my mind.

p.s. Does my snack sound very different from yours?

Years later, I adopted a version of my grandma’s and made a version of my own. These days, this is still one of the dishes that I get asked about most often.

The sauce is meant to be on a saltier side so to go along perfectly with bland rice or noodle. I replace the rice with cauliflower rice and it works perfectly yum!

Like any other stewed dish, you know the drill, it tastes even better the next day so need I say more?

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Taiwanese Meat Sauce with Crispy Shallots
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Chinese, Taiwanese
Servings: 4 servings
Author: ChihYu
  • [To fragrant the oil]
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp shallots
  • 2 tsp chili peppers
  • 1 tsp salt to bring out the fragrance of ginger, shallots, and chili
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or EVOO
  • ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • [To make the meat sauce]
  • 1 lbs ground chicken/veal/pork I use pork today
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • ¼ tbsp 5 spice powder
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • [Condiments & other optional extras]
  • Fried shallots - 1 clove of shallots & 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 2 soft boiled eggs
  • 2 small pieces of bamboo shoots Alt. canned bamboo shoots
  • Chopped scallions as much as you like
  1. Heat a medium-sized pot over medium to medium-high heat with 1 tbsp of oil.
  2. Add in garlic, ginger, shallots, and chili peppers and saute with 1 tsp of salt to bring out the fragrance.
  3. Add in ground meat and use a wooden spoon to further break down the meat into finer pieces.
  4. Add salt, white pepper, white wine vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, and 5 spice powder and keep sauteing for another 3-4 minutes (or until the meat is browned).
  5. Add 1 cup of chicken stock.
  6. [Optional] add sliced fresh bamboo shoots (or canned bamboo shoots).
  7. p.s. you can also select vegetables that aren’t too watery such as sliced carrots or bean sprouts (if you are not following paleo).
  8. Cook over medium to medium-low heat for another 20 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle with fried shallots (see method below), scallions, soft boiled eggs (see below) and serve over cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, or just rice.
  10. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  11. [To prepare fried shallots]
  12. Heat a pan over medium-high heat with 2 tbsp of coconut oil.
  13. Slice shallots into long/thin strips.
  14. Add ½ tsp of salt and sautee the shallots until golden brown.
  15. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  16. [To prepare soft boiled eggs]
  17. Bring a pot of water to boil (make sure the water can cover the eggs).
  18. Lower the heat (to almost a bit higher than simmering) and add in the eggs.
  19. Cook for 6 to 6 ½ minutes (running egg yolks); or an additional minute for a bit solid egg yolks.
  20. Place eggs in a cold water bath until cooled.
  21. Gently peel the eggs and cut in half (be careful of the running egg yolks!).

Make these for dinner !