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China bites: Rou jia mo

By Owen Fishwick | | Updated: 2017-08-02 09:11

China bites: Rou jia mo

Diced pork is tossed with green peppers and coriander before being stuffed to fill crispy oven-baked buns. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Whatever epithet you choose to use to describe rou jia mo, also known as a Chinese hamburger, few do the delicacy a more deserved description than the "world's oldest hamburger". While most modern day hamburgers are made from beef, rou jia mo is filled with pork.

Dating back as far as the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) or even earlier, the meaty street snack still hits the spot for most Chinese diners today. You might pick up a rou jia mo from a street vendor on your way home from a boozy night out, just the same as a Shaanxi province official may have done on his way home from a calligraphy lesson more than 2,000 years ago.

To make traditional rou jia mo, meat is stewed for hours to the point where the flesh falls apart, similar to that of pulled pork. It's then mixed with roasted green peppers to give it a bit of heat, and coriander is then added. The mixture is whacked between a clay-baked bun, providing a crisp outer layer of safety for the juicy meat within.

Costing less than 10 yuan ($1.48) from street vendors, who are also open all hours, across of the country, the delicious 1,000-year-old hamburger is ready and waiting to satiate your appetite.

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