Meat floss

Meat floss, also known as rousong, yuk sung or bak hu (pronounced [ɻôʊsʊ́ŋ]; Chinese: 肉鬆; Jyutping: juk6 sung1), is a dried meat product with a light and fluffy texture similar to coarse cotton, originating from China.[1] Meat floss 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. Meat floss is a popular food item in Chinese, Vietnamese (called ruốc in the North and chà bông in the South) and Indonesian dining.

Meat floss
Meat floss made of beef
Alternative namesMeat wool, pork floss, flossy pork or pork sung
Place of originChina[1]
Region or stateEast Asia and Southeast Asia
Associated cuisineChina, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia
Main ingredientsPork, beef, or chicken
Meat floss
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese肉鬆
Simplified Chinese肉松
Literal meaningmeat fluff
Southern Min name
Literal meaningmeat flakes
Eastern Min name
Traditional Chinese肉絨
Simplified Chinese肉绒
Literal meaningmeat fabric
Hakka name
Literal meaningmeat powder; meat fabric
Vietnamese name
Vietnameseruốc (Northern Vietnamese) or chà bông (Southern Vietnamese)
Thai name
RTGSmu yong
Indonesian name
Filipino name
Tagalogmahu or masang
Khmer name
Khmerសាច់ជ្រូកផាត់ sach chruok phat

Production and styles

Meat floss 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.[2] 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. These two styles of meat floss 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 bak hu 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.[3]


Fish can also be made into floss (; 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.[4][5]

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.[6]

In the Muslim-majority Hausa cuisine of Northern Nigeria, dambu nama is a dry, shredded beef snack, similar to meat floss. It is fried and heavily spiced in its preparation.

A very similar product is pork fu (肉脯; pinyin: ròufǔ; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: bah-hú), which is less fried and less shredded than meat floss, and has a more fibrous texture.

In Japan, a variant made from fish is called dembu (Japanese: 田麩).

Health effects

A study has demonstrated a positive correlation between increased processing temperatures of meat floss and increased formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs) within the meat. Up to seven different HAAs were found when meat floss was processed at 150 °C.[7] HAAs are believed to promote the development of some cancers.[8]

See also


  1. Grigson, Jane (January 1985), World Atlas of Food, Bookthrift Company, ISBN 978-0-671-07211-7
  2. Vickie Vaclavik, Elizabeth W. Christian. Essentials of Food Science. Springer, 2003, p. 169.
  3. Melia, Ken (2017). Review of Meat Floss – Identifying opportunities for Australian Red Meat. North Sydney: Meat and Livestock Australia Limited
  4. Zhou, Zhen (2017). "Research of new duck floss with spicy flavor" Food and Fermentation Technology: 120–125 – via Food Science and Technology Abstracts.
  5. Leistner, Lothar (2002). Hurdle Technologies: Combination Treatments for Food Stability, Safety and Quality. New York: Kluwer / Plenum Publishers. pp. 132, 139. ISBN 978-1-4613-5220-4.
  6. "" Mum’s meat floss legacy. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
  7. Liao, Guozhou (April 2009). "Effects of Cooked Temperatures and Addition of Antioxidants on Formation of Heterocyclic Aromatic Amines in Pork Floss". Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. 33: 159–175. doi:10.1111/j.1745-4549.2008.00239.x – via Web of Science.
  8. Weisburger, John H. (2002-09-30). "Comments on the history and importance of aromatic and heterocyclic amines in public health". Mutation Research. 506–507: 9–20. doi:10.1016/s0027-5107(02)00147-1. ISSN 0027-5107. PMID 12351140.
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