What is rou jia mo?

Author: Tony Tan
Photography: Photo by @berlinfoodstories

While it's not as ubiquitous as Cantonese sweet and sour pork or Hainanese chicken rice, China's pork burger, rou jia mo, is having its moment in the sun. Rou jia mo (also written roujiamo) is a xiao chi - China's version of a "small eat" or snack. Rou means meat and jia means to place the filling into the mo, or bread.

Originally from Shaanxi province in north-western China, the street food is mostly made with long-simmered pork, fragrant from a mix of cardamom, cloves and star anise. There are also lamb and beef versions that are given extra kick with the addition of chillies and cumin. But whatever the protein, you can expect the meat to be topped with coriander and green peppers for freshness. The meat is served on round, slightly chewy, crusty flatbread. Historically, the bread would be baked in clay ovens, but now it's most commonly cooked on a skillet.

This burger has yet to grace the hip restaurants around town, but it's popping up in Asian food courts and eateries such as Shaanxi-Style Restaurant in Melbourne's Box Hill, and Xi'an Cuisine in Sydney's Haymarket.

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