|Alternative names||Meat wool, meat floss, pork floss, flossy pork or pork sung|
|Place of origin||China|
|Region or state||East Asia and Southeast Asia|
|Associated national cuisine||China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia|
|Main ingredients||Pork, beef, or chicken|
|Literal meaning||meat fluff|
|Southern Min name|
|Literal meaning||meat flakes|
|Eastern Min name|
|Literal meaning||meat fabric|
|Literal meaning||meat powder; meat fabric|
|Vietnamese||ruốc (Northern Vietnamese) or chà bông (Southern Vietnamese)|
|Tagalog||mahu or masang|
|Khmer||សាច់ជ្រូកផាត់ sach chruok phat|
Rousong or yuk sung or bak hu (pronounced [ɻôʊsʊ́ŋ]; Chinese: 肉鬆; Cantonese Yale: yuk6 sung1), also known as meat floss, is a dried meat product with a light and fluffy texture similar to coarse cotton, originating from China. Rousong is used as a topping for many foods, such as congee, tofu, rice, and savory soy milk. It is also used as filling for various savory buns and pastries as well as a topping for baked goods filled with bean paste, for example, and as a snack food on its own. Rousong is a very popular food item in Chinese, Vietnamese (called ruốc in the North and chà bông in the South) and Indonesian dining.
Production and styles
Rousong is made by stewing finely cut pork, chicken, or beef (though other meats may be used) in a sweetened mixture of soy sauce and various spices until individual muscle fibres can be easily torn apart with a fork. This happens when the water-insoluble collagen that holds the muscle fibres of the meat together has been converted into water-soluble gelatine. The meat is teased apart, strained, and partially dried in the oven. It is then mashed and beaten while being cooked in a large wok until it is nearly completely dry. Additional flavourings are usually added while the mixture is being fried. The two main styles of rousong diverge on whether oil is added during the last process of production. The Jiangsu style rousong is dry-cooked and the product is slightly chewy, while the Fujian style rousong is fried with oil and the product is mildly crispy. Five kilograms (11 lb) of meat will usually yield about one kilogram (2 lb) of floss.
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Fish can also be made into floss (魚鬆; yú sōng), though initial stewing is not required due to the low collagen and elastin content of fish meat. Rabbit and duck floss can also be found in China.
In Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia, beef or chicken floss is the most popular variant and is commonly called abon in Indonesian and serunding in Malay. In Malaysia, serunding is a popular delicacy during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.
In the Muslim-majority Hausa cuisine of Northern Nigeria, dambu nama is a dry, shredded beef snack, similar to rousong. It is fried and heavily spiced in its preparation.
Beef floss for sale in Sulawesi, Indonesia
A study has demonstrated a positive correlation between increased processing temperatures of rousong and increased formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) within the meat. Up to seven different HAAs were found when rousong was processed at 150 °C. HAAs are believed to promote the development of some cancers.
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