The best thing I’ve eaten in China so far isn’t what you might think… it’s not some fancy dish at a famous restaurant, nor is it a ridiculously expensive Western plate…. it’s something that you can find only at night, about half a block away from our apartments, when the Street Food Police aren’t around and the street food vendors are cooking away.
It’s called 肉夹馍, or rou jia mo, and let me tell you: it is heavenly deliciousssss.
Originating from the Shaanxi province, rou jia mo is kinda like China’s version of a roast beef sandwich. But 328904523 times better. The bread on the outside is crisp and light, and quite honestly some of the best bread I’ve eaten in China. The meat on the inside is often made from pork or beef. It’s usually stewed for hours with more than 20 different kinds of spices and sauces. The meat is then chopped up with cilantro, green onions, cumin, pepper, and extra spice if desired. Crunchy yet soft on the outside, juicy and savory on the inside, it is very difficult NOT to eat this sandwich every night for dinner for weeks on end.
My roommate Kim and I love this guy. He takes rou jia mo- making to the next level. He is very serious and has a delicious and consistent product. At the little street food corner, his stand always has the longest line – and clearly for a good reason. He has perfected this 5 yuan (slightly less than $1) street food to an ART.
Grabbing a rou jia mo sandwich, a quick plate of fried rice from the next stand over (about 6-8 yuan, or $1.00-1.50), and a 2.5-yuan can of diet coke (that’s less than 50 cents!!!) makes for the best perfectly cheap $3 meal you will ever have in your life.
All I have to say is if you come to China, find this^^. And EAT IT.