Try these meaty treats to warm up cold winter days

There are many reasons to love meat snacks – they are portable, protein-rich and minus the sugar or carbs found in snacks like chips and crackers.

There are many reasons to love meat snacks — they are portable, protein-rich and minus the sugar or carbs found in snacks like chips and crackers.

Meat, including offal, makes tasty snacks that are perfect for parties, movie nights or gaming marathons.

Pork and beef are especially popular in winter, as they not only build up energy, but are also easy to store in cooler temperatures.

Here’s a guide through some popular pork and beef snacks in China.

Pork snacks

Pork has a prominent role in Chinese cuisine, with iconic dishes such as hongshaorou (braised pork belly), sweet and sour spare ribs and huiguorou (stir-fried boiled pork slices).

So it’s no surprise that pork has a major place as a snack food.

Meat floss, or rousong, is one of the most popular pork snacks.

It is commonly added to dishes and pastries, especially as a side to plain congee.

Some versions of rousong are not so finely shredded and can be enjoyed on their own as a snack.

The super-thin shreds of dehydrated pork muscle melt in the mouth easily, so low salt meat floss is also a popular baby food.

Try these meaty treats to warm up cold winter days
Ti Gong

Bread topped with meat floss is a popular Chinese bakery item.

The people love meat floss so much that Shanghainese will line up for hours for some of the blockbuster treats that include it.

The trend started with Xing Hua Lou’s special qingtuan (sweet green glutinous rice ball) in 2016.

This had a filling of salted egg yolk and dried meat floss instead of the traditional red bean paste recipe.

That creation attracted many people who were willing to stand in line for a minimum of six hours.

This spring, Beijing-based bakery brand Bao Shi Fu (Master Bao) opened its first branch at People’s Square and locals from all over the city flocked there to buy the signature xiaobei, a soft sponge cake with mayonnaise filling, coated with mayonnaise and lots of meat floss.

The wait was as long as four hours when the store first opened.

Although xiaobei can satisfy a craving to the full, it’s almost a calorie bomb with all that mayonnaise.

Try these meaty treats to warm up cold winter days
Ti Gong

Xiaobei is a sweet cake with mayonaise filling and coated with a generous amount of pork meat floss.

Zhuroufu, or dried pork slices, is another highly popular pork snack that people cannot get enough of.

It’s similar to jerky but softer, as it’s not entirely dehydrated, and also combines sweet and salty tastes.

The slices of pork are marinated and barbecued to reduce the moisture and infuse the meat with rich flavors.

The snack is preferably made with the lean meat of the pork hind leg, which is ground, seasoned and reshaped into thin slices.

This pork jerky was introduced to Singapore and Malaysia by immigrants and is a must-have for the Chinese New Year there.

Singapore’s Bee Cheng Hiang is a notable brand that specializes in pork snacks such as barbecued dried pork (bakkwa) and meat floss, which have a sweeter taste.

The company’s bakkwa is made by smoking the meat to seal in the flavors of a sweet and savory marinade.

It is then barbecued until the surface caramelizes, but the meat remains tender on the inside.

Another tempting treat is mini-sausage, made from both lean and fatty meat.

It’s generally sweeter in taste and sometimes called rouzao, or meat jujube because of its petite shape.

Try these meaty treats to warm up cold winter days
Ti Gong

Bee Cheng Hiang bakkwa is sweet in taste.

Beef snacks

Beef jerky is a delicious, high-protein snack made of marinated lean meat.

The recipes vary greatly depending on the local culinary culture and in China beef jerky packs really intense flavors.

Sichuan-style beef jerky is distinctly spicy.

The renowned tongue-numbing Sichuan peppercorns and lip-burning chillies are used to flavor the dehydrated beef.

A signature Sichuan beef jerky snack is dengying jerky — which originated in the Da County area about 100 years ago.

Traditionally it’s made of buffalo meat, yellow cattle meat or yak meat, which is seasoned with lots of Sichuan peppercorns and mixed spices.

The major difference between the quite glossy dengying beef jerky and regular jerky is its crispy texture.

The jerky is so thin that the light of a lamp can shine through a slice.

Hence the name dengying, which translates into “the shadow of a lamp.”

Try these meaty treats to warm up cold winter days

Dengying beef jerky is a very thin meat snack originated from Sichuan Province.

The hand-pulled beef jerky from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is a chewier, drier snack that’s more like Jack Link’s beef sticks.

Made with fresh beef from the Mongolian grasslands, the hand-pulled jerky originated as a food for Genghis Khan’s cavalry.

Fresh beef from the local grasslands is frozen naturally before being hung in a ventilated environment for four to five months, a process that not only gets rid of the moisture and fat, but also breaks down the strong muscle fiber.

The meat is then marinated to gain rich flavors and baked dry.

On average, 1.5 kilograms of fresh beef produces only 500 grams of jerky.

It’s high in protein, low in fat and not overpowered by the flavors of the spices.

Try these meaty treats to warm up cold winter days
Ti Gong

Hand-pulled jerky is high in protein and low in fat.

In the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau region, yak jerky is a specialty that’s nutritious and low in calories. The muscle is marinated in brine before being air-dried to make the snack, so it can also be preserved for a long time.

In supermarkets, five-spice beef cubes are a common jerky snack that’s packaged like candies. These small cubes of beef are seasoned with a generous amount of Chinese five-spice.

The texture is softer than regular dehydrated meat snacks.

The spicy beef backstrap is a real challenge for the jaws, because this flavor-rich snack is made of the much chewier part of the animal.

This snack is easy to make at home because it doesn’t require an extensive cooking and drying process. Simply stew the raw beef back strap with ginger, Sichuan peppercorn and salt, then mix them with a rich, spicy dressing before stewing for a second time.

Try these meaty treats to warm up cold winter days
Ti Gong

Eating spicy beef backstrap is a real workout for the jaws.

Home-made meat floss

If you are not satisfied with meat floss from the stores, it’s easy to make it at home using very lean pork tenderloin.

Home-made meat floss can last three to five days in sealed jars in the fridge.


1 kilogram pork tenderloin

3 tsp salt

1 tbsp cooking wine

2 tbsp light soy sauce

50 grams sugar

1/2 tbsp cooking oil

5 slices ginger


  1. Cut the tenderloin into big chunks and scald in boiling water to remove blood residue.
  2. Stew the meat in a pressure cooker with the ginger, cooking wine, salt and sugar.
  3. Take the meat out and drain. Put the pieces in a Ziploc bag and break down the meat with a rolling pin.
  4. Next, rub the meat hard with clean hands, a crucial step if you wish to make very fluffy meat floss.
  5. Add some cooking oil to non-sticky pan on low heat.
  6. Combine the meat, light soy sauce and sugar. Stir-fry until the meat becomes dry, but is still slightly moist.
  7. Blend the meat shreds in a food processor to achieve the desired texture.
  8. Stir-fry the meat floss until all the moisture evaporates.
  9. If you have a bread-maker, put the pork in the machine after step two. Gradually add seasoning to taste.

Try these meaty treats to warm up cold winter days
Ti Gong

Meat floss can be made in home kitchen with simple ingredients.

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