Moo shu pork (also spelled moo shi pork,
mu shu or mu xu
pork) is a dish of northern Chinese origin, possibly originally from Shandong.
It is believed to have first appeared on the menus of Chinese restaurants in the
United States in the late 1960s, and is also a staple of American Chinese
Left: Moo shu pork.
In its traditional Chinese version, moo shu pork consists of
sliced or shredded pork chop meat and scrambled eggs, stir fried in sesame
and/or peanut oil together with thinly sliced wood ear mushrooms (black fungus)
and day lily buds. Thinly sliced bamboo shoots may also be used. The dish is
seasoned with minced ginger and garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and rice cooking
wine (usually huangjiu).
In the United States, the dish seems to have appeared in Chinese restaurants in
New York City and Washington, D.C. in approximately 1966.
At that time, the dish was at first prepared in a traditional
manner, but, as wood ears and day lily buds were scarce, a modified recipe was
developed. In this modified recipe, which gradually came to predominate in North
America, green cabbage is usually the predominant ingredient, along with
scrambled eggs, carrots, day lily buds, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, and bean
sprouts. Shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, snow pea pods, bell peppers, onions, and
celery are sometimes also used, and dry sherry is often substituted for the
huangjiu. The vegetables (except the day lily buds and bean sprouts) are
generally sliced into long, thin strips before cooking.
Although most commonly made with pork, the same basic dish can be prepared by
substituting another meat or seafood; generally only a single meat is used. If
made with chicken instead of pork, the dish is called moo shu chicken, and the
name is similarly altered if prepared with beef or shrimp. If prepared without
any meat, it is called moo shu vegetables or moo shu tofu.
Moo shu pork is served with a small dish of hoisin sauce and
several (generally four) warm, steamed, thin, white tortilla-like wrappers made
of flour, called
báo bing (literally
"thin pancakes"); these are similar to those served with Peking Duck.
First, a small
amount of hoisin sauce is spread onto the pancake, then a spoonful or two of moo
shu pork is placed in the center of the pancake. The bottom of the pancake is
folded up slightly (to prevent the contents from falling out), and the pancake
is either folded or wrapped from left to right, in the manner of a soft
Unlike the practice in wrapping a
the top is usually not folded over, as the pancake is generally eaten
immediately and thus there is no danger of the food falling out of the top,
which is the part that is eaten first.