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Mu Xu Rou (Sautéed Pork, Eggs and Black Fungus 木须肉)

What is it?
Mu xu rou is a pork dish of northern Chinese origin. In the northern provinces meat and vegetable dishes are commonly served with steamed bread or pancakes instead of rice. Mu xu rou is also typically served rolled in mandarin pancakes (almost like a taco) with a smattering of hoisin sauce.

The recipe varies. Usually the dish is made with sliced or shredded pork and scrambled eggs, thinly sliced wood ear mushrooms (black fungus), Chinese cabbage and sliced bamboo shoot. The ingredients are stir-fried in soy sauce, sugar, cooking wine and sesame oil.

Why is it famous?
It is believed that the name mu xu rou (木须肉) used to be called mu xi rou (木樨肉), which means “sweet osmanthus pork”. Sweet osmanthus is a small ornamental tree that produces bunches of small and fragrant yellow and white blossoms. It is believed that the blossoms of the tree resemble the scrambled eggs in the dish, which explains the name.

Expats in China may recognise mu xu rou as “wood moustache meat,” which is the literal translation that has oftened appeared on Chinese menus in the past.

In fact, wood moustache meat is one of a number of dishes now getting a makeover. The English Translation of Chinese Gourmet Dishes was published several years ago to provide updated English names for more than 2,000 Chinese dishes. Off the menu went ‘chicken without sex’ (now called spring chicken), while ‘four glad meat balls’ became braised pork balls in gravy.

Where to eat it?
Dongsiminfang Restaurant is a famous eatery that serves mu xu pork and other Beijing cuisine favourites. Address: No. 79-2 Chaoyangmennei Avenue, Dongcheng, Beijing; Tel: 86-10-6406-8858.


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