My Kind of Asian Junk Food

College is a time to eat lots of things you could never get away with eating several times a week when home. Whether it’s pizza, hot dogs, and grilled cheese sandwiches at the dining hall or a gigantic bowl of ice cream and hot chocolate to accompany some late night studying, it’s so easy to succumb to the innate desire to eat what tastes sinfully delicious and is ridiculously convenient. Leftover steamed rice with rousong (肉鬆) and a healthy sprinkle of furikake is the way to go for me.

I know it looks like weird brown moss and shiny green confetti have taken over my bowl of rice here, but the symphony of fluffy, moist rice, salty, cottony pork, oceanic, crispy seaweed, and subtle, nutty, sesame is incredible.

For those unfamiliar, Wikipedia describes rousong as…

Rousong, also called meat wool, meat floss, pork floss, pork sung, is a dried meat product that has a light and fluffy texture similar to coarse cotton. 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 buns and pastries, and as a snack food on its own. Rousong is a very popular food item in Chinese culture, and evident in its ubiquitous use in Chinese cuisine.

Rousong is made by stewing cuts of pork in a sweetened soy sauce mixture until individual muscle fibres can be easily teased apart with a fork. This usually happens when the collagen and elastin that normally hold the fibres have been cooked out of the meat. The teased-apart meat is then strained and dried in the oven. After a light drying, the meat is mashed and beaten while being dry cooked in a large wok until it is completely dry. Additional flavourings are usually added while the mixture is being dry fried.

It’s widely available in large, clear jars in your typical Asian grocery store. Ranch 99 would be a great resource.

Inexpensive, delicious, and as easy as Nutella, rousong reminds me of both home and the mouth-watering Chinese food my parents cook for me as well as the chilling wrath of my mother if she knew how much rousong I have actually consumed this quarter.

Now, what’s furikake?

Furikake is a dry Japanese condiment meant to be sprinkled on top of rice. It typically consists of a mixture of dried and ground fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, salt, and monosodium glutamate. Other flavorful ingredients such as katsuobushi (sometimes indicated on the package as bonito), or okaka (bonito flakes moistened with soy sauce and dried again), salmon, shiso, egg, powdered miso, vegetables, etc. are often added to the mix.

Soy sauce, fish, sesame seeds, and MSG? How can you go wrong? Like I said, junk food. But the good kind. Let me tell you that is probably better to eat a bit of MSG than to eat that chocolate chip cookie you got from a gas station. Yuck.

Anyways, furikake is also available in Asian grocery stores. On the bottle that I have here, it says that you can use it on top of salad and soup, so if you’re worried about not having much use for it, think of it as Asian Mrs. Dash.

Something about this comfort food just glows. Actually, that might just be my camera’s white balance freaking out.

But this stuff is pretty close to ambrosia, just so you know.

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About kraftedbykelly
I'm a California girl that just relocated to Oxford, England after graduating from college. I like to focus on baking from scratch, student-friendly cooking, and both high and low dining.

18 Responses to My Kind of Asian Junk Food

  1. Mmmm fish song was a childhood favorite of mine. I swear I could eat several bowls of rice with that alone.

  2. Margo says:

    I eat this all the time. Sometimes, I’ll wrap it up in a sheet of nori. It’s so yummy and comforting and easy.
    I also like to put the furikake on my veggies with some sesame oil. Hungry now.

  3. Danielle Sleeper says:

    no matter how long i stay in taiwan, i will never get used to the taste of rousong–and i like a lot of strange things :P furikake is the best though!

  4. Yum! We’d love for you to share your recipe at dishfolio.com!

  5. Good stuff! I love this in my sandwich!

  6. Anna says:

    I stumbled across your page through Tastespotting — your rice looks so yum! I haven’t had rousong in so long! Makes me miss my mum and my cousins back in Australia! We used to always have rousong with rice porrige for breakfast. Thanks for taking me back to good food memories!

  7. Pingback: Tweets that mention My Kind of Asian Junk Food « Krafted by Kelly -- Topsy.com

  8. Amy says:

    My mum puts this in taiwanese-style sushi rolls (vegetarian version made from TVP etc). It’s a yummy food and your photos are lovely.

  9. Katie says:

    Oh goodness…the campus meal plan is the reason I started cooking for myself. Waaay too many temptations!

  10. Helen says:

    I used to eat pork floss with rice all the time when I was young! I never mixed it with furikake though so I need to give that a try.

  11. rsmacaalay says:

    Wow that dish looks lovely, its not just a junk food its a comfort food as well

    Raymund
    http://angsarap.wordpress.com

  12. Orbiter says:

    It is called meat wool?! Ah, well, pork floss by another name will taste just as good :) I like eating it with hardboiled egg whites!

  13. Gblee says:

    Great blog! Reading this blog post got me hooked on this dish and I’m not Asian. I added pure sesame oil to my rice and even tried making my own furikake by looking for recipes online to avoid eating MSG. I’d prefer this kind of junk food over Cheetos any day : )

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