What is pork paper (猪肉纸) and how do I get the delicious Taiwanese snacks?
April 6, 2017 - Food
A few years ago, I visited Taipei and came across a delicious Taiwanese snack at the famous Shilin Night Market.
That snack is referred commonly in English as “pork paper” (crispy almond pork paper) or simply “meat paper”. It’s basically beef jerky but there’s no softness to these chips, they’re so-crispy that they’ll snap into pieces. They differ in their thickness; though not quite looseleaf paper thin, they’re comparable to two pieces of contruction paper. I guess the best way to explain it is imagine a ruffles potato chip that’s made entirely of sheets of real pork embedded with small pieces of dried apple and almonds.
The nearly paper-thin pork chips are just-sweet-enough, super crunchy and really addictive. Like potato chips, they’re not really filling yet so satisfying that you can mow through half-a-bag without even noticing. There’s multiple nights that I spent laying in bed with my eyes closed shoving pork paper chips into my mouth. Pork paper is really the perfect combination of flavor, texture and lightness.
What’s in Pork Paper?
The great thing about pork paper is there usually isn’t any artificial ingredients. For the most part, pork paper is a combination of pork, apple, almonds, soy sauce and sugar. And lots of crisp (酥) — a whole lot of delicious satiating crisp.
Depending on the vendor, the thickness and shape of the pork paper varies. I’ve had them in sheets, frito-shaped delights and apparently cones — more on that in a second. They also come in different flavors, but what seem to be the most common was regular (usually apple and almonds) and a spicy version. What’s consistent about pork paper is that unlike most Asian and U.S. brands of beef jerky, there’s no MSG added to pork paper.
How Do I Get Pork Paper
Obviously if you’re in Taiwan, the world is your pork paper oyster. I found several outlets of the Kuai Che (快车) brand throughout Taipei. Looks like as of this post, there’s approximately 10 locations in Taipei and Taipei City, including Zhongzheng, Xinyi, and Datong.
You can also get the pork paper from the Shilin Night Market, I can confirm that there’s at least one vendor there that goes by “two brothers”, serving three flavors of pork paper. The man at the stand was there in 2014 and again in 2017. This article mentions another Shilin vendor selling “cones” of pork paper that I never had the pleasure of completely destroying with my teeth. Looking online, you can also get it from the Raohe Street Night Market.
I’ve also found pork paper in a couple random stores, so if you’re craving pork paper and not near any of the Kuai Che and the Night Markets aren’t yet open, just go into a mom and pop grocery store and try your luck.
Can I Order Pork Paper Online
After eating through half my inventory, I decided that I couldn’t live without pork paper in my life, so I started to look for several pork paper vendors online such as King Long Foods, Two Brothers, Pork King and the popular Kuai Che (快车) brand, with the goal of having some shipped to the United States. After several attempts to contact, I started a conversation with a online store.
They we’re interested in how many I wanted to buy, and I was warned that pork crisp products are “fragile commodity, do not recommend delivery to foreign countries.” Still, I was persistent; I wanted pork paper. I needed pork paper. I was coming down from my pork paper sweats and getting headaches (I wasn’t getting headaches). I made it clear that I was willing to pay the shipping.
Ultimately, the conversation turned to U.S. Customs wouldn’t allow the regular shipment of “Taiwan meat” so I wasn’t successful trying to get pork paper to the United States.
Hello Sorry. Taiwan meat is not sent to the United States so we can not use the normal shipping methods to provide this service
I’d be interested to know if anyone has been successful in buying pork paper online and had it shipped to the United States. I promise I won’t ask you to share any of your pork paper. I know how it feels to give away even one small piece of delicious, sweet papery pork crisp.