Meet Rou Jia Mo, the Chinese Hamburger

By Carey Jones |

It's not exactly the hamburger we're used to. But in China, the "rou jia mo"—translation, "meat sandwich"—dates back way beyond McDonald's and its ilk. Probably by a couple millennia. Originating as a street food sandwich in the Shaanxi Province, it's now a favorite all over China.

At José Andrés’ Mexican-Chinese melting pot China Poblano in Las Vegas, the Rou Jia Mo takes on a few unusual flavors.

"My team and I first tried the Rou Jia Mo for breakfast one day while traveling through Beijing," says acclaimed chef Andrés. "We got it from a popular street vendor called Ping Wa, where there was a man chopping the meat with an enormous cleaver, and he would slice open the bread and stuff the meat inside. I loved the performance behind it and knew it would be perfect for Vegas."

The bread: The team at China Poblano created bread that's loosely based on naan, but with the addition of yeast so it's no longer a flatbread, rather something lighter and airier. "The softer dough is perfect for soaking up the red-braised meat," according to Andrés.

The filling: Red-braised pork takes the starring role -- with pork skin, black bean soy, and Mexican cinnamon all in the braise. "We also add a touch of Mexico with Mexican crema," says Andrés. "It’s incredible!”

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