Mu Shu Pork

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When my husband and I lived in bigger cities, like Dallas and Houston, we enjoyed dining at a variety of ethnic, hole-in-the-wall-type restaurants, including Indian, Ethiopian, Japanese, and Chinese. The food was fabulous, and wasn’t expensive for us young working folks.

My favorite item to order at Chinese restaurants was Mu Shu Pork, sometimes also spelled Moo Shu. I loved the pancakes with the hoisin sauce, the tasty pork, and the vegetables. And, mu Shu pork was fun to eat, because you rolled your own pancakes.

Plus, you get to eat fun ingredients like lily buds and wood ears.

They must be hydrated in hot water before using, then patted dry.

Mu Shu pork supposedly originated in Northern China, perhaps Shandong. To use an authentic recipe, I reached for my Shun Lee Cookbook written by Michael Tong, published in 2007. Shun Lee translates to “smooth sailing.” The recipes in the book are “from a Chinese restaurant dynasty.”

Mr. Tong moved to the United States over 50 years ago as an engineering student, but after moving to New York City, where he settled, He joined the restaurant business with his uncle.

He claims that Chinese food in the U.S. long ago was only Cantonese, and it was his mission to introduce Americans to the foods of Hunan, Sichuan, and Shanghai regions of China. His restaurant, Shun Lee Dynasty, eventually earned four stars from the New York Times Restaurant Guide. Craig Claiborne was a frequent diner.

Today in New York City, Shun Lee West still exists, as does Shun Lee Palace.


Mu Shu Pork
printable recipe below

4 ounces boneless pork butt, cut into thin strips 2” long, 1/4” wide, and 1/4” thick
2 large eggs plus 1/2 large egg white (beat a whole egg white until foamy and measure out half)
!4 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Vegetable oil, for passing through
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
10 ounces, or about 12 leaves Napa cabbage, stem part only, cut into pieces 2” long, 1/4” wide, and 1/4” thick
1/4 cup dried tree ears, soaked in hot water until softened, drained, patted dry, and torn by hand into 1” pieces
2 ounces dried lily buds, soaked in hot water until softened
1/4 cup thinly sliced bamboo shoots, cut about 2” long
3 scallions, green part only, trimmed and minced
8 small Mu Shu (also called Mandarin) pancakes, about 4” in diameter
Hoisin sauce, for serving

Mix the pork with the egg white, pinch of salt, cornstarch, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of water in a medium bowl until blended. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Fill the bottom of an Asian-style steamer with an inch or two of water, and bring it to a boil over high heat.

Heat a large wok over high heat. Add enough oil to come 1” up the sides of the wok, and heat it to 325 degrees F. Add the pork and stir gently until it turns light brown, about 30 seconds. Using a wide wire-mesh strainer, transfer the pork to a colander to drain.

Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok, and return the wok to high heat. Beat the whole eggs in a bowl until frothy, and add them to the wok. Scramble the eggs until they are quite firm and not runny, about 15 seconds. Transfer the eggs to the colander, separate from the pork, to drain.


Mix the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl, and set aside.

Place the pancakes in the steamer and cover it. Heat until they are hot, about 2 minutes. (Or, gently use a microwave for this purpose.)

While the pancakes are warming, return the wok to high heat. Add the cabbage and stir-fry until softened, about 1 minute.


Add the tree ears, lily buds, and bamboo shoots, and stir-fry for 20 seconds. If the cabbage discards liquid, tilt the wok over a colander and pour off the liquid.


Return the pork to the wok, and add the scallions and the soy sauce mixture. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.


At the last second, return the scrambled eggs to the wok and scatter them gently, so they remain yellow, among the pork mixture.

Place the pork mixture on a serving platter, surrounded by the pancakes. Serve immediately, with hoisin sauce on the side.


This is the hoisin sauce I prefer, but there are many brands from which to choose. Just don’t bother with an American brand.


Let each guest spread hoisin on a pancake, add some pork mixture, roll up and eat!

For perfect Mandarin pancakes, use the recipe from my Peking Duck post.