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Pork Sung is Pork Floss

by Jacqueline M. Newman


Fall Volume: 2016 Issue: 23(3) page(s): 31

As a lover of cotton candy, spun sugar that melts in your mouth, I always bought some at the circus and loved it. The kid in me was thrilled to locate this shelf-stable Chinese yummy that resembles cotton candy in texture but not in taste.

That is why I bought this pork product when I learned about it. Yes, I did so on a first visit to a new Chinese coffee shop after I took a tray and put a pork bun with some on top of it on that tray. I then paid and located a table in a corner where a China Daily English newspaper was left from a previous customer. There I settled down to eat it with the cup of tea I had paid for, as well. Early to meet a friend for a food, feast, and shopping trip in Flushing, I was ready to bite into my bun. Ready for a ‘eureka’ moment or a huge disappointment, I was ready to see if what I had been told was true. Having never seen nor tasted this food before, I was looking to love or hate it.

The bun had no single piece of pork in or on it, but it did have some topping that did melt in my mouth as cotton candy had. It was not really sweet, but it had lots of that umami feeling. As a meat lover, after one bite, I knew this beautiful bun was similar to my childhood circus food. I quickly bit into the top and had that ‘eureka’ moment! As it was dissolving in my mouth I enjoyed that it was sort of salty and sort of meaty. This was meat cotton, if ever there was such a thing.

Intellectually, I had read about pork hocks, pork sung, soy sauce, brown sugar, and more, but at that moment, I could not picture it, nor did I know what the bag, box, or container it came in looked like. I had no idea it was dried in an oven then shredded looking like brown hair. I surely did not know it tasted so great.

Later that day, when a clerk helped me find it in a jar on a supermarket shelf, I bought it. Before paying, I was already snacking some from the round plastic container as I walked to pay for it.

When I got home and made dinner, I used it in a dish, a waste as it is better alone or topped on a dish, not in it. A few months later, I found beef floss. When bragging of this find by e-mail to a Muslim-Chinese friend, she told me her family uses this ‘beef wool,’ as she called it, and has for years.

Weeks later, when looking in several breakfast bakery places, I never saw any made with beef but did find a pastry made with fish wool. It was awful and fishy.

Now I do go early for a pre-breakfast snack before shopping or meeting a friend in Flushing. I do wonder what the caloric count may be, but not enough to check it out on the web; I just eat lots of it and enjoy every bite. I am sure it is less than cotton candy, and when stuffing my face with pork floss, I just tell myself that I love it!
Mushrooms and Pork Floss
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, unwrapped and defrosted in the refrigerator
2 shallots, peeled and minced
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
5 Chinese mushrooms soaked until soft, stems discarded, their caps minced
3 oyster mushrooms, minced
1 egg beaten mixed with one tablespoon cool water
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1/3 cup pork floss
1. Open one sheet of puff pastry and cut it into six rectangles (each about two by four inches)
2. Stir-fry the minced shallots, garlic, and ginger for one minute thenthen add both minced mushrooms and the salt and pepper, and stir fry two minutes more. Put this mixture in a strainer over a bowl, and allow to cool.
3. Put a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture on each cut piece of the pastry, brush the edges with the beaten egg, fold in half and seal by crimping the edges with a fork.
4. Thinly brush the tops of each pastry with a little of the egg mixture and sprinkle some pork floss on its top.
5. Bake in a 350 degree F pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, brush a little more egg mixture on top of each one and sprinkle some more pork floss on it then bake another five minutes, and cool slightly. Repeat with the other sheet of the pastry, then serve.

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