What Is Pork Floss And How Should It Be Served?

Meat is a food that doesn't require much of the cook's help to be satisfying. Treat it right and you'll have a protein-rich and nutrient-dense meal that in many cases gets better with age. Steak aficionados know that dry aging is the key to unparalleled flavor. Additionally, dishes like tartare and carpaccio reveal that you don't even need to cook meat at all to enjoy it, and since humans evolved to pursue a more omnivorous diet, we've gone from simply roasting meat over an open fire to turning it into a wide variety of products and have learned to slice, dry, ground, jelly, packed, and otherwise process it into all shapes and forms.

In some instances, meat is used more like a seasoning. Think of Japanese katsuobushi (dried smoked and aged fish flakes) in dashi stock or atop rice, a dollop of anchovy paste in Mediterranean dishes, or sprinkling bacon bits on a salad. One unique ingredient that falls into this category, while remaining in a class of its own, is rousong – also known as pork floss. Unsurprisingly, TikTok is captivated by the stuff, and with good reason.

Meat you can sprinkle

So what is pork floss? It's a popular Chinese dry condiment that's shockingly fine, soft, and might be described as stringy fibers. The floss is airy and light and has a rich umami taste. It's texturally compared to cotton or cotton candy, and in some cases even resembles tobacco in appearance — so much so that one poor soul covered his food in tobacco thinking it was pork floss.

What's it like to eat? Pork floss is dry and crumbly, but packs a pleasant surprise. TikTok users are infatuated with the floss and claim that it's tasty and so light that it "melts in your mouth." Perhaps it's this special textural quality, along with its salty and savory flavor, that helps it merge so effortlessly into any dish it accompanies. As such, there are similar dried meats around the world, like beef machacha, Nigerian dambu nama, and duvan čvarci, and pork scratchings. Meat floss can also be made from chicken, beef, fish, or even vegetables because why should vegetarians miss out on this goodness?

How to eat pork floss

Enjoying pork floss is as easy as using it as a topping for meat, grain, and vegetable dishes. Enthusiastic TikTok commenters suggest adding it to sandwiches, porridge, and wonton soup or just snacking on it. You can pile it onto dishes made with eggs or mayonnaise or even make it into a sauce. In Asia, it's commonly added to baked goods and dessert dishes filling a niche that's typically taken up by sprinkles or powdered sugar in North America.

Pork floss can be found packaged in jars or boxes online, in large supermarkets, or in Asian grocery stores, and it comes in different forms and flavors. If you're really serious about making meat floss, you can even order a meat floss machine to produce it in vast, commercial amounts. To make it at home, you can simply pan-fry lean pork or even use the meat that's boiled off broth bones, or make a more health-conscious version in your bread maker. With a nearly-infinite shelf life, especially in the preserved versions, you've got tons of time to try pork floss in your next recipe.