The matrilineal Chinese culture that carries around cured pork for a decades

Originally published at:


Not. Silly.

Anyone with a long memory will say the same.

Especially if there is only themselves to rely on and not some sort of well-established external food supply chain / energy grid to keep deep freezer units running / etc.

So what to do when one is responsible for feeding family and friends? The people who will take care of you when you are sick? The people who will help you when you need help?

Keeping the pantry stocked means survival. Nothing less.

Shelf-stable cured meats are a proven way to feed one’s family.

Dehydrated foodstuffs (rice, parched corn, tea bricks, millet, etc.) can be another, if such things grow in the region one inhabits or, if not locally producible, at least obtainable.

Pickling foodstuffs provide a third way to feed one’s family.

Speaking as a half-Chinese first-generation American, though not a Mosuo of course, I argue for practicality and “luck favors the prepared” most of the time.

The U.S. has yet to experience a truly terrifying, nationwide famine.
Climate change may yet have a surprise or two for us here.
May the good people of our home planet never starve.
Sadly, this is all to common.

Starvation is a signal failure of the first order and one of the most often-used weapons of war, of genocide (ongoing), and of imprisonment.

It is the basis of some religions: feed the hungry.


I understand that we salt meat and sugar fruit (preserves) in order to suck the water out of nasty things that would otherwise grow on them, but is there really no culture that indulges sometimes in sugared meat? (I can’t find any evidence for one online.) If not, why not? “That’s gross” is not an answer, obviously, as there is no end to gross food traditions out there somewhere.

Sugared ginger is ubiquitous, but I was lucky enough to find salted ginger in NYC’s Chinatown. It is very, very difficult eating but some people I’ve inflicted it on have really enjoyed it!

(btw fix “a decades” in the article title @thomdunn )

That reminds me, take that pork loin out’a the refrigerator.



Thanks, but I don’t see much point in including links that don’t make any reference to sugared meat. Besides which, aren’t Jains vegetarian?

1 Like


Yes, there are cultures that do not eat meat in any fashion

Also: information and “evidence” about them can be found online.


Okay, this is an answer to the question “Is there a culture that doesn’t eat sugared meat?”, which is not what I was meaning to ask.
To rephrase my original question: “Is there a culture that does (sometimes) eat sugared meat?”


Possibly Indonesia?


Ack, poor word choice on my part.I didn’t mean that the pork itself was silly. I just meant that the idea of carrying around a giant salted pork back for years was something surprising that I had never heard or considered before, so I wanted to know more.

My apologies for that sloppy wording. As a descendent of the Great Hunger, I would never want to diminish any culture’s starvation.

1 Like

Salmon is delicious when prepared with sugar. “Indian Candy” is a semi-dried, sometimes smoked strip with intense flavour. This is obviously attributed to west coast First Nations culture, but I can’t easily find a source for that. Traditionally dried and smoked, yes, but not candied.

A brown sugar or honey glaze on a filet and cedar planked fresh, yum! Honey mustard glaze, yum. Maple syrup, urg, but some swear by this east/west mashup.


There are a couple I could think of, but they also have salt:

I’ve had a weird small fish that’s dehydrated and covered with some very sweet and not very salty thick syrupy mess. It was weird, but good. Pretty much like dried filefish, but with a really thick sweet glaze.


I think you have summed up a very common socially privileged inability to see other cultures without having a communal memory of famine and starvation

1 Like

There are obviously lots of recipes where sugar is/was used in meat dishes.

Far end examples would be the original mincemeat and currently all sorts of BBQ rubs, etc.

I don’t think any culture has a tradition of preserving meat with sugar.

Sugar is damn hard to obtain compared to salt.

The dendeng referred to by @AlexG55 doesn’t seem to use sugar as a preservative. All recipes I can find use about equal amounts salt and sugar as flavouring and any preservation is done by drying.

1 Like

As @L0ki says sugar is fairly hard to come by in preindustrial societies and by the time regular access to refined sugar was a thing for most cultures so were other modern ways of preserving food.

However, if we think about what kind of sugar is somewhat readily available: meat preserved in honey seems to have been, from a quick google, a thing at least in Sri Lanka and Kenya. Note that that seems to be a method of preserving roasted meat (similar in intention, maybe, to a French confit) rather than raw meat.


I just remembered having venison with black currant sauce many years ago. Delicious. And of course there is turkey with cranberry sauce. And Scandinavian lingonberry sauce for meat. Pork lends itself to sweetish sauces. Oh my. Having a bit of a meatgasm memory as I’m mostly plant based now.

1 Like

Bringin’ home the bacon.

1 Like

I hear you.
My dad spent years volunteering at a food bank, in the middle of the middle of the American Midwest, before his death. We take the issue of hunger seriously in our family of immigrants and others.

I am grateful for the survival of you and your family, of your being here now. Against all those odds (political, agricultural, financial, the whole deal).

Thank you for all you bring us, all the good you do us.

I owe you for drawing my attention to the Blindboy Podcast in particular.

Be well.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.