I've always been curious about ròusōng. I'd seen it on the top of buns at Chinese bakeries, occupying a wide swath of an aisle over at my local Chinese grocery store, and most intriguingly -- constantly stocked in a friend's cupboard.
After wondering for a while, I finally asked what it's used for -- and the answer I got was: pretty much everything. A cross between a snack, condiment and all-purpose flavoring, ròusōng, also called pork floss or meat floss, is a great topping for rice, bread, congee, tofu and, as I learned from Wikipeda, soy milk!
First off, a description for the uninitiated: the closest foodstuff I can think of is probably beef jerky meets cotton candy. Both beef jerky and rousong are dessicated, slightly sweet and made of meat. But that's where the similarities end -- the texture of pork floss is entirely different. Instead of tenuous, like beef jerky, it's crumbly, soft, a touch moist and slightly stringy. While I cover pork floss in this article, it also comes in beef, chicken and fish varieties.
I played it pretty safe but here are a few combos that worked well for me:
Meat Floss on Congee
Sick of plain old rice porridge? Top with rousong and a little green onion and you've got protein. I'd advise, though, to eat this fairly quickly before the floss has time to get too soggy.
Meat Floss Sandwich
There are a few things that will make your meat floss sandwich successful. DO: use soft, Wonder-like bread. DO: use some kind of lubrication -- my preferred condiment is mayonnaise (butter doesn't seem to work). DON'T: grill or make a panini. Trust me, it's just a bad idea.
Meat Floss Bao
This is just a no-brainer. I tried adding a few things into this, but found that a fresh, hot, steamed bao and pork floss made quite a tasty snack.
Meat Floss on Rice
Problem: the rice cooker has just beeped. You've got some fresh hot rice coming your way, but you're too lazy to do anything with it or make anything else. Solution: top with rousong, and maybe wrap with a little kim (roasted seaweed). Salty and sweet.
What do you do with rousong? Share your recipes on the site or comment below!