Moo shu pork (also “moo shoo pork” or “moo shi pork") is cited in English from at least 1962; by the late 1960s, moo shu pork became a popular New York City Chinese dish. The shredded pork dish traditionally contains scallions, tiger lily buds, wood ears, which are scrambled with eggs and wrapped in thin moo shu pancakes.
The nickname “Chinese burrito” was used in California in 1979 and is still frequently used. The nickname “Chinese taco” was used by at least 1982, also cited from California.
Wikipedia: Moo shu pork
Moo shu pork (also spelled moo shi pork or mu xu pork) is a dish of northern Chinese origin, possibly originally from Shandong. It is believed to have first appeared on the menus of Chinese restaurants in the United States in the late 1960s, and is also a staple of American Chinese cuisine.
In its traditional Chinese version, moo shu pork consists of sliced or shredded pork chop meat and scrambled eggs, stir fried in sesame and/or peanut oil together with thinly sliced wood ear mushrooms (black fungus) and day lily buds. Thinly sliced bamboo shoots may also be used. The dish is seasoned with minced ginger and garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and rice cooking wine (usually huangjiu).
In the United States, the dish seems to have appeared in Chinese restaurants in New York City and Washington, D.C. in approximately 1966, receiving mention in a New York Times guide to Washington, D.C. restaurants published in that year. One of the first restaurants in Manhattan to serve the dish was Pearl’s, one of the best known New York City restaurants to serve non-Cantonese food in the 1960s. A 1967 article in the The New York Times states that another of the first restaurateurs to serve the dish in Manhattan was Emily Kwoh, the owner of the Mandarin House, Mandarin East, and Great Shanghai restaurants. At that time, the dish was at first prepared in a traditional manner, but, as wood ears and day lily buds were scarce, a modified recipe was developed. In this modified recipe, which gradually came to predominate in North America, green cabbage is usually the predominant ingredient, along with scrambled eggs, carrots, day lily buds, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, and bean sprouts. Shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, snow pea pods, bell peppers, onions, and celery are sometimes also used, and dry sherry is often substituted for the huangjiu. The vegetables (except the day lily buds and bean sprouts) are generally sliced into long, thin strips before cooking.
While these are the typical ingredients, there is some variation in the recipe from chef to chef or restaurant to restaurant. In both the Chinese and Americanized versions, monosodium glutamate, salt, sugar, corn starch, and ground white pepper are also often added. In less authentic North American restaurants, the wood ears and day lily buds (ingredients less familiar to most American customers) are often omitted entirely. Because finely sliced cabbage and carrots make up a large portion of the American-style recipe’s ingredients, pre-bagged coleslaw mix is often used to save the time of slicing these vegetables.
Although most commonly made with pork, the same basic dish can be prepared by substituting another meat or seafood; generally only a single meat is used. If made with chicken instead of pork, the dish is called moo shu chicken, and the name is similarly altered if prepared with beef or shrimp. If prepared without any meat, it is called moo shu vegetables or moo shu tofu.
Moo shu pork is served with a small dish of hoisin sauce and several (generally four) warm, steamed, thin, white tortilla-like wrappers made of flour, called “moo shu pancakes” (Chinese: 木须饼, pinyin: mù xū bǐng), “Mandarin pancakes”, or báo bǐng (薄饼, literally “thin pancakes"); these are similar to those served with Peking Duck. In the late 20th century, some inauthentic North American Chinese restaurants began serving Mexican-style flour tortillas in place of the traditional moo shu wrappers, which are thinner and more brittle in texture. If additional pancakes are desired, they must generally be purchased (again, usually in a group of four).
The moo shu pork is then wrapped in the moo shu pancakes, which are eaten by hand in the manner of a soft taco. The diner typically wraps his or her own pancakes, although waiters in Chinese restaurants are often willing to perform this function as a courtesy to diners who are unable to do so. First, a small amount of hoisin sauce is spread onto the pancake, then a spoonful or two of moo shu pork is placed in the center of the pancake. The bottom of the pancake is folded up slightly (to prevent the contents from falling out), and the pancake is either folded or wrapped from left to right, in the manner of a soft taco. Unlike the practice in wrapping a burrito, the top is usually not folded over, as the pancake is generally eaten immediately and thus there is no danger of the food falling out of the top, which is the part which is eaten first. Because the dish often contains a great deal of liquid, care must be taken that the pancake does not become soaked through and break during rolling or eating.
Like noodle dishes, moo shu pork is not typically served with steamed white rice.
Food Network - Encyclopedia
moo shu; moo shoo
Definition: [MOO shoo] A stir-fried Chinese dish containing shredded pork, scallions, tiger lily buds, wood ears and various seasonings. This mixture is scrambled with eggs, rolled in small thin pancakes (called moo shu pancakes or Peking doilies) and served hot.
--Copyright (c) 1995 by Barron’s Educational Series, from The New Food Lover’s Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst
(Oxford English Dictionary)
moo shu, n.
Forms: 19- moo shi, 19- moo shoo, 19- moo shu, 19- mo shu, 19- mu shu. [< Chinese mùxu (also as mùxi) dish containing scrambled egg.
The second vowel in both Chinese forms has the neutral tone. Chinese mùxu and mùxi normally have the sense ‘cassia’, but in culinary use in Beijing the term is applied to scrambled-egg dishes so as to avoid using dàn egg (which in colloquial Beijing Mandarin has a number of offensive slang uses).]
A Chinese dish consisting of strips of meat (usually pork) stir-fried with assorted vegetables and folded or rolled in thin pancakes.
Often with postmodifying noun indicating the type of meat used, as moo shu duck, moo shu pork, etc.
[1935 C. LAMB Chinese Festive Board x. 125 Mu Hsü Jou...Lightly scrambled eggs to which have been added small bits of fried pork.]
1962 J. CHEN Cook Bk. 203 The Mandarin thin pancake is..served with..meat, egg and vegetable dishes such as Moo Shi Pork.
1977 Washington Post (Nexis) 3 Mar. Md. 10 Moo shi pork, next, is a sort of arts-and-crafts experience that the kids loved. The..waiter places a light crepe pancake on each plate and then it’s your job to wrap in the pork-strip filling.
1977 Bon Appétit May 56/3 Moo shoo (also moo shi or moo shu roo). Chinese. Popular dish of shredded pork with Chinese vegetables and seasonings, rolled in thin pancakes.
26 July 1966, New York (NY) Times, “Washington Is Not, As Some Restaurant Critics Say, a Total Disaster Area” by Craig Claiborne, pg. 39:
Peking Restaurants (...) Or try the moo shi pork, an incredibly well-seasoned melange of chopped pork, eggs and crisp Chinese vegetables.
30 September 1966, New York (NY) Times, “A Directory to Dining Out in the City Is Offered” by Craig Claiborne, pg. 80:
Mandarin House East, 1085 Second Avenue (at 57th Street), PL5-9631.
The food is prepared with particular excellence; to name a few of the delicacies, there are the sliced chicken in fish-flavored sauce, the river shrimp in hot spiced sauce, a delectable North China egg dish made with shredded pork and wrapped in thin pancakes, and the various chicken dishes with nuts.
2 November 1967, New York (NY) Times, “No Matter How You Spell It, It’s Still Mo-Shu-Ro” by Craig Claiborne, pg. 56:
The dish of which she spoke is enjoying a phenomenal and justified popularity in Manhattan Chinese restaurants these days. The name is spelled and pronounced in different ways. Some menus list it as mo-shu-ro, others as moo-shu-ro, still others as moo-shi pork.
It is essentially a dish of shredded pork, tiger lily flowers, tree ears, scrambled egg and such seasonings as soy sauce, scallion and sherry. This is wrapped and served in a hot, steamed, thin Chinese pancake.
One of the first to serve the dish in Manhattan was Mrs. Emily Kwoh, who owns the Mandarin House, the Mandarin East and Great Shanghai restaurants. It is listed on those menus as a North China egg dish.
“It is a Northern dish,” she said this week, “best known in Peking. When I was a student at Yenching University there, we practically lived on it because it was the most inexpensive thing to eat.”
10 November 1968, Hayward (CA) Daily Review, tv listings, pg. 13, col. 2:
Joyce Chen Cooks “Moo-shi Pork” How to prepare this northern Chinese dish as it is cooked in China.
7 October 1969, Van Nuys (CA) Valley News, tv listings, pg. 4B, col. 3
Joyce Chen Cooks “Moo-Shi Pork.” Combining meat and eggs with imported wood ears and tiger lily buds, Mrs. Chen creates a popular and authentic Northern China dish.
15 February 1974, New York (NY) Times, “Three Old East Side Favorites—And Why They Are Still There” by John Canaday, pg. 38:
I should mention also the “North China Egg Dish,” a misleading name for a delicate hash of lotus flowers, minced meat, and other ingredients, wrapped in a diaphonous pancake. Excellent for a starter. Mandarin House East gets three stars on the basis of its best performance, and if you go there, I hope it comes through for you.
16 September 1979, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “fabulous fold-ups,” pg. P64:
Among the great, wholesome and hearty dishes of the Northern Chinese cuisine, Mu-Shu Pork stands out like a gem. This Chinese “burrito” has captured the taste buds of Americans who dine at Northern Chinese restaurants. Now, MuShu Pork, a mixture of pork, fungi and scrambled eggs served wrapped in Man-...
11 September 1980, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Wok’s Cooking? Well, Chinese Burritos and More” by David Nelson, pg. SD A6:
California’s cuisine was permanently enriched by the thousands of Chinese workers who began arriving here during the Gold Rush days. ...
Published by California Business News, inc., 1982
Item notes: v.17:1-6 1982
Soon everyone was eating Kung Pao chicken and shrimp, savoring Hunan noodles and learning that Mu Shui pork could be eaten “like a Chinese taco.”
18 October 1986, Kerrville (TX) Mountain Sun, “Medina Menus,” pg. 5, col. 3:
Chinese Burrito, Salad, Carrots, Fruit, and Milk.
New York (NY) Times
Joyce Chen, 76, U.S. Popularizer Of Mandarin Cuisine
Published: August 26, 1994
LEXINGTON, Mass., Aug. 25— Joyce Chen, who popularized Mandarin cuisine in America with her restaurants, cookbooks and television programs, died on Tuesday in the Fairlawn Nursing Home in Lexington. She was 76.
She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
Mrs. Chen opened New England’s first Mandarin Chinese restaurant in 1958 in Cambridge, Mass., introducing dishes like Peking duck, moo shu pork and hot-and-sour soup. Her regular patrons included John Kenneth Galbraith, James Beard, Julia Child and Henry A. Kissinger.
She later wrote “The Joyce Chen Cookbook” and was host of the nationally broadcast PBS program “Joyce Chen Cooks.”
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Subject: Re: Sea Empress
Yes, it is cute! I like the fact that they call Moo Shu Pork “Chinese Burritos”....
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From: (Miriam Eldridge)
Subject: Re: “excuse me sir they are wraps”
More than once I’ve heard a Chinese-restaurant waiter explain to a non-Chinese customer that moo-shu pork was “a Chinese burrito.”
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From: ¹L ¦¿ Às <"¹L ¦¿ Às "@²` ¤s ¦Ñ À.COM>
Subject: Re: 8/21/96: We rejected the underground apology letter from NBC on Tuesday, Aug.20
Go do some thing, make yourself a Chinese burrito (Moshu pork), how dare anyone say there are no human right abuse in China?
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From: Steve Tyler
Subject: Mulan Trivia [OT]
Roy Disney dreamed up the character of Mushu (ET)
MU SHU CHICKEN is a “Chinese burrito” made with tangy plum sauce. (but I always break it open and eat it with chopsticks like chow mein)
New York City • Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, April 20, 2008 • Permalink