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Rou Yue Bing {Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake}

A Traditional Chinese Savory Flaky Pastry

by Shirley
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Rou Yue Bing {Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake}

Rou Yue Bing {肉月饼}, short for Xian Rou Yue Bing {鲜肉月饼}, translates as Delicious {Xian} Meat {Rou} Mooncake {Yue Bing}. They are traditional well-liked Huai Yang Style food, native to my hometown Suzhou. Authentic scratch Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake features savory flaky pastry buns that look like a mini hockey puck filled with juicy and tasty minced pork filling.

Born and growing up in Suzhou, this is undoubtedly on top of my all-time favorite hometown foods.

Rou Yue Bing {Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake}
Rou Yue Bing {鲜肉月饼}Authentic Suzhou Style

Authentic Suzhou-style Pork Mooncake is grilled in a deep cast iron pan using low heat.

This is the reason behind the lovely mini hockey puck look. Low heat and constant flipping are absolutely the keys here. Just let the heat slowly sears the outside of the flaky pastry dough and then gradually cook through the delicious pork filling. The cast-iron pan does a wonderful job retaining a consistent and evenly distributed low heat. You will notice a subtle and appetizing sizzling sound during the cooking process.

Grill Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake {Rou Yue Bing} in the cast iron pan
Grill Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake {Rou Yue Bing} in the cast iron pan

No doubt the fresh from the pan Pork Mooncake {Xian Rou Yue Bing 鲜肉月饼} is the best, something I always looked forward to. Shops in Shanghai and Suzhou would grill pork mooncakes in a huge deep cast iron pan in the storefront. People would line up and patiently wait for this savory treat to come out freshly out of the pan.

You might be asking, why can’t I bake them? You surely can, but the baked version of pork mooncake will get puffed up and look like a mini ball-shaped bun. In terms of the taste, I would say the flaky pastry wrapper tastes a bit dry and brittle, but overall pork mooncake is still pretty good. Although you simply can’t compete with the slow-grilled yumminess that features a soft flaky wrapper that also has the right amount of crispiness.

Baked Version of Suzhou Style Rou Yue Bing {肉月饼} Pork Mooncake
Baked Version of Suzhou Style Rou Yue Bing {肉月饼} Pork Mooncake

Nevertheless, the pros of using the oven to bake Rou Yue Bing are obvious, it is simple and easy. You do not have to stand for over an hour in the kitchen to tend and flip the pork mooncake.

Chinese flaky pastry is made from two types of dough

Suzhou-style flaky pastry wrappers use a water-based dough to wrap around an oil-based dough ball. This is the ultimate secret to a refreshing taste and natural yumminess. It is somewhat similar to British-style shortcrust, but not really. Shortcrust pastries, called Cui Pi {脆皮} in Chinese are more crumbly, while Chinese Suzhou flaky pastries, called Su Pi {酥皮} are more flaky.

Suzhou styley flaky pasty dough uses water-based dough to wrap around oil-based dough

How to Make Chinese Flaky Pastry from Scratch?

  1. Use a water-based dough wrapper to wrap around an oil-based dough ball
  2. Fold the water-based dough over to completely cover the oil-based dough ball and then seal it into a dough disk
  3. Put down the disk on a hard surface and roll it out into a long scroll
  4. Roll the scroll tightly into a spindle.
  5. Flatten the dough spindle into a stripe, and scroll it into a spindle again. The spindle is much narrower this time around.
  6. Use both hands to press to press the spindle top-down to flatten it. Then organize the edges into a round disk. Make sure the disk has a smooth edge. Use a rolling pin to roll into a round wrapper.
how to make Chinese Style Flaky Pastry Wrappers
How to make Chinese Style Flaky Pastry Wrappers

Read here for a detailed tutorial on how to make Chinese-style flaky Pastry Wrappers.

Regarding how to roll a dumpling wrapper, it is the same technique you would roll bun wrappers using a rolling pin. Read here for more details.

Use a rollilng pin to roll the bun wrappers
How to Roll Bun Wrappers Using a Rolling Pin

How to Wrap Pork Mooncake {Xian Rou Yue Bing 鲜肉月饼}?

In a nutshell, you can follow a similar method of wrapping Shanghai Soup Dumplings or wrapping Chinese Buns, to the point when you have pleated a full circle around the edge of the wrapper. This is step 5 in below “How to Wrap Chinese Buns?” illustration below.

how to wrap buns
How to Wrap Chinese Buns?

The flaky pastry wrappers are not as flexible or stretchy as the bun wrapper, therefore, the closing will be different. So how to wrap a Chinese Flaky Pastry Savory Pokr Mooncake?

  1. The first is to pleat a full circle around the edge of the wrapper
  2. The second is to use the curved area of your dominant hand, between your thumb and index finger, to continuously pinch in a circular motion. Be gentle but firm.
  3. Till you have sealed the dumpling completely and formed a pointy tip.
  4. Fold the pointy tip and lay it flat.
  5. Flip over the flaky pastry dumpling and gently toss it between your palms to make it round and tall.
  6. Place the flaky pastry dumpling onto the cast iron fry pan with the dome facing up.
How to Wrap Rou Yue Bing {Savory Pork Mooncake}?
How to Wrap Rou Yue Bing {Savory Pork Mooncake}?

How to make a delicious Pork Filling for Rou Yue Bing {Pork Mooncake}?

We marinate the ground pork, home ground preferred, with traditional Chinese condiments, along with tasty spices such as star anise, coriander seeds, and ginger powder.

Traditional Chinese condiments Shaoxing Wine, soy sauce, and a little Zhenjiang vinegar do the magic of tenderizing and flavoring the pork. I use both naturally aged soy sauce and light soy sauce to balance the desirable color and taste.

Egg and arrowroot flour are there to further enhance the juiciness.

Da Jiang {大酱} or soybean paste plays an essential role in coloring the pork filling and elevating the taste. For Pork Buns, Sheng Jian Mantou {Pan Fried Pork Buns}, Pork Sweet Rice Flour Dumplings {Rou Tang Yuan 肉汤圆}, all have relatively thicker wrappers, so we really need the pork filling flavor and color to pop. Da Jiang does just that.

Da Jiang is usually available in Chinese Grocery stores. I recommend getting the traditional original Da Jiang, nothing added version.

By the way, Korean cuisine also favors Soybean Paste, called Doenjang, which sounds similar to Chinese Da Jiang. The techniques of making each traditional food are slightly different, hence Korean soybean paste looks brown, vs. Chinese soybean paste looks black. Nevertheless, they are equally tasty. You can generally substitute for each other recipes.

We add a bit of sugar to give this pork filling a hint of the iconic sweetness. Read here for more details about how to make yummy pork filling for buns and dumplings.

Pork Filling for Pork Buns, Sheng Jian Mantou, Rou Yue Bing and more
Pork Filling for Pork Buns, Sheng Jian Mantou, Rou Yue Bing, and more

Xian Rou Yue Bing 鲜肉月饼 Savory Pork Mooncake Frequently Asked Questions

What cuisine does Savory Pork Mooncake belong to?

Rou Yue Bing {Pork Mooncake} is a classic Huai Yang Cuisine food. Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake is well-known for its soft flaky wrapper filled with juicy delicious pork. Read here for more about Huai Yang Style Cooking.

Huai Yang Cuisine Classic Dishes Collection 1
Huai Yang Cuisine Classic Dishes

How to cook Authentic Suzhou Style Savory Pork Mooncake

Authentic Suzhou Style Rou Yue Bing {肉月饼} is grilled on a deep cast iron fry pan via low heat.

Grill Suzhou Style Savory Pork Mooncake in the cast iron fry pan
Grill Suzhou Style Savory Pork Mooncake in the cast iron fry pan

Should I store Savory Pork Mooncake in the refrigerator?

Yes, because they are made of pork filling, you should store them in the refrigerator and use them in the next few days.

How to warm up left-over Rou Yue Bing {Pork Mooncake}?

While you can use a griddle to slowly and gradually warm up Pork Mooncake from the inside out. To expedite the process, but still get crispy outside layers, I usually use a combination of microwave and griddle.

First, cover the Pork Mooncake with a glass microwave cover and warm for 30 seconds. While you are waiting for the microwave, turn the heat to medium and heat the cast iron griddle. Then place the Pork Mooncake on the griddle and heat for about 4 minutes, 2 minutes on each side.

Rou Yue Bing {Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake}
Rou Yue Bing {Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake}
Rou Yue Bing {Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake}

Rou Yue Bing {Pork Mooncake} Authentic Shanghai-Style

Yield: 24 Pork Mooncakes
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Rou Yue Bing {肉月饼}, short for Xian Rou Yue Bing {鲜肉月饼}, or Pork Mooncake is traditional well-liked Huai Yang Style celebratory food during the mid-Autum festival. Authentic Shanghai & Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake features savory flaky pastry buns that look like a mini hockey puck filled with juicy and tasty minced pork filling.

Ingredients

For Water-Based Dough:

  • 300 g all-purpose flour, organic unbleached preferred
  • 1 egg
  • 30 g avocado oil
  • 30 g cane sugar, organic unrefined preferred
  • 1/4 tsp salt, Himalayan Pink Salt or sea salt
  • 105 g water, approximate, see notes

For Oil-Based Dough:

  • 240 g all-purpose flour, organic unbleached preferred
  • 105 g avocado oil

For Pork Filling:

  • 1 lb. ground pork, home ground preferred
  • 2 tbsp. Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp. natural soy sauce, or dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. Zhenjiang vinegar
  • 1 egg, organic or cage-free
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cane sugar, organic
  • 1 tbsp fermented bean paste {Da Jiang 大酱}
  • 1/4 tsp star anise powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds powder, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 stalks of green onions, finely chopped

Instructions

The First is to Make a Juicy and Tasty Pork Filling:

  • Add everything under "For Pork Filling" in a mixing bowl. Mix well and then turn the bamboo spatula in the same direction to blend the whole thing into a paste.
  • Read here for a step-by-step guide on making a yummy pork filling. When I make this, I usually double the recipe, hence you will see two eggs in the picture.
    Pork Filling for Pork Buns, Sheng Jian Mantou, Rou Yue Bing and more

The Second is to Prepare Flaky Pastry Wrappers:

  • Make the water-based dough and oil-based dough respectively, and divide each dough into 24 equal portions. Note the dough should be extremely soft. Since we will be working the dough so much, the dough gradually hardened during the process. It is important to cover the dough with a dump towel or food film during the folding process. It is about 21 g for each portion of water-based dough and about 14 g of oil-based dough. Use a kitchen scale to help evenly divide the dough.
    Soft water-based dough for flaky pastry
    Soft Oil-Based Dough for Chinese Flaky Pastry
  • For each portion, wrap the oil-based dough around with water-based dough into a dumpling. The easiest way is to fold the outer wrapper over the oil-based dough filling, overlapping each other, and then seal.
    Suzhou styley flaky pasty dough uses water-based dough to wrap around oil-based dough
  • Press to flatten the dumpling into a round disk, roll it in one direction into a scroll, and then roll it tight into a spindle.
    how to make Chinese Style Flaky Pastry Wrappers
    Flaky dough spindles
  • Roll the spindle along the long side to flatten it, and then roll it tight again into a spindle. This time, much shorter spindle. Use both hands to press and flatten the spindle, and organize the edges along the way to make it round. Now you should have a flat round dough disk. Use a rolling pin to roll into a dumpling wrapper.
    how to make Chinese Style Flaky Pastry Wrappers
    Homemade Chinese Style Flaky Pastry Wrappers
  • Read here for a detailed step-by-step tutorial on How to Make Chinese Style Flaky Pastry Wrappers.
    how to make Chinese Style Flaky Pastry Wrappers

The Third is to Wrap Rou Yue Bing Savory Pork Mooncake:

  • Follow a similar method of wrapping Shanghai Soup Dumplings or wrapping Chinese Buns until you have pleated a full circle around the edge of the wrapper.
    How to Wrap Rou Yue Bing
  • Use the curved area of your dominant hand, between your thumb and index finger, to continuously pinch in a circular motion. Use gentle but firm hands.
    how to wrap savory pork mooncake
  • Till you have formed a pointy tip. The flaky pastry dumpling should be sealed properly this way.
    how to wrap Rou Yue Bing?
  • Fold the pointy tip and lay it flat.
    how to wrap savory pork mooncake
  • Flip over the flaky pastry dumpling and gently toss it between your hands to make it round and tall.
    Freshly wrapped Rou Yue Bing {Savory Pork Mooncake}

The Fourth is to Cook Rou Yue Bing:

  • Traditional Suzhou-style Savory Pork Mooncake is grilled on a cast-iron pan via simmer.
  • Following the completion of wrapping one Rou Yue Bing, place it in the cast iron pan.
    Grill freshly wrapped Rou Yue Bing in the cast iron fry pan
  • Repeat till you've filled the cast iron pan. A 12-inch cast iron pan can hold about 16 mooncakes max. I use two cast iron pans to cook these.
  • Turn the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes. Toward the end of the 2 minutes, use a flexible spatula to press down each mooncake to flatten it a little, and then flip the mooncakes and cook for another 2 minutes. When there is little room for a spatula to maneuver, I usually use bamboo cooking chopsticks, which are longer than the regular chopsticks to flip the mooncakes. At the end of the 2 minutes, use the spatula to press down and flatten the mooncakes again and then flip.
    Grill Savory Pork Mooncake in the cast iron fry pan
  • Turn the heat to simmer, cover the cast iron pan with a lid, and let it cook for 20 minutes.
  • Following that, flip the mooncakes, cover the pan with the lid, and cook for another 20 minutes.
  • Lastly, remove the lid, flip the mooncakes again, and let them cook open air for about 10 minutes before flipping to repeat for the other side for 10 minutes. It takes a little lover one hour to cook the Rou Yue Bing.
  • Enjoy a satisfyingly delicious Rou Yue Bing {Savory Pork Mooncake" Authentic Suzhou Style.
    Rou Yue Bing {Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake}

For Baked Version:

  • As you wrap the Rou Yue Bing, place them onto a cookie baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, when you have about 5 mooncakes to wrap.
  • This set of baking pans including one large and one small cookie sheet is perfect for everyday use. You can comfortably place 24 savory pork moon cakes across the two pans and place them on the level in the oven.
  • Bake for 40 minutes in the middle rack.
  • Turn off the oven and let the Rou Yue Bing rest in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the Savory Pork Mooncake from the oven and cool it on a wire.
  • Enjoy a baked version of Suzhou Style Pork Mooncake.
    Baked Version of Suzhou Style Rou Yue Bing {肉月饼} Pork Mooncake

Notes

Sometimes it is easier to get an organic spice in a wholesome form. You can easily turn them into powder using a spice grinder.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 4 mooncakes
Amount Per Serving Calories 820Total Fat 41gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 29gCholesterol 133mgSodium 1002mgCarbohydrates 78gFiber 3gSugar 7gProtein 32g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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