Are You Gonna Eat That? Cha Bong Pork Floss
The Dish: Cha bong pork floss
Where to Get It: Song Que at Eden Center, 6769 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church; (703) 536-7900; songquedeli.com
What It Is: Shreds of pork dry-roasted with salt and sugar and used as a topping for many foods, including noodles, soups, and rice dishes.
What It Tastes Like: This pork “cotton candy” looks like what you’d pull out of the lint trap if you stuck a pig in the dryer. But pop a few “hairs” on your tongue, and it dissolves almost on contact, imparting a salty, gossamer pork flavor. I plan to put this stuff on everything.
The Story: Also called meat wool and meat floss, among other appetizing names, cha bong is common in a lot of Asian cooking. Invented by the Chinese, who call it rousong, it’s used as a topping, filling for buns and pastries, or eaten alone as a kind of meat jerky. To make it, pork, or other meats like chicken or even fish, is stewed until it falls apart. Then the fibers are teased apart and dry-roasted until it forms a fluffy, wool-like texture.
Photo by Mary Kong-DeVito