Rousong (pronounced [ɻôusʊ́ŋ]; Chinese: 肉鬆; Cantonese Yale: yuk6 sung1), also known as meat wool, meat floss, pork floss, beef floss, abon, pork sung or yuk sung, 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, 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 ruoc) and Indonesian dining.
|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 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"|
|Vietnamese||ruốc (Northern Vietnamese) or chà bông (Southern Vietnamese)|
Rousong is made by stewing cuts of pork or beef in a sweetened soy sauce mixture 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 dry-cooked in a large wok until it is nearly completely dry. Additional flavourings are usually added while the mixture is being dry-fried. Five kilograms of meat will usually yield about 1 kg of floss.
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 (Indonesian) or serunding (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.
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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