Char Siu Pork
Char Siu, or Chinese BBQ pork, is one of the most popular pork recipes in Cantonese cooking.
If you have been to Chinatown, I am sure you have seen glistening and perfectly roasted meats such as Chinese roast pork (siu yuk), chicken and duck hanging in front of the Chinese BBQ restaurants.
BBQ pork belly char siu is the epitome of Cantonese BBQ. They are always sliced into thin pieces and served with steamed white rice, with vegetable on the side.
Sometimes spelled as char siew or char sui, the pork is always perfectly charred, juicy, tender, dripping in a sticky, sweet and savory sauce.
When cooked right, this is one of the best pork recipes to savor in the whole world!
In this recipe, you will learn how to make the best char siu, 100% homemade, with the taste that rivals the best Cantonese restaurants in Chinatown!
Char Siu Recipe
How to make char siu? There are two parts of the recipe.
The first part is picking the best cut of pork. The second part is tmaking he char siu sauce which is the marinade.
It’s best to marinate the pork belly overnight. To BBQ, roast in the oven at 400F for 15 minutes.
Set the oven to broil and broil all sides of the pork belly until they char nicely. Slice into thin pieces before serving.
What is Char Siu Sauce Made of?
Before you marinate the pork belly, you will need to make the Char Siu Sauce.
Here are the list of ingredients:
- “Nam yue” or fermented red bean curd. This ingredient is optional if you don’t have it, but it adds the iconic nuance and aromas to the pork.
- Maltose (preferred) or honey.
- Soy sauce.
- Oyster sauce.
- Five spice powder.
- Ground white pepper.
These ingredients mingle together to produce the most amazing, sweet, savory, sticky sauce that marinates the pork belly before roasting in the oven. You can make a few servings and keep them in the fridge.
Cook’s Tips for the Best Char Siu Pork Belly
I have another Chinese BBQ Pork recipe, but this is the best and most authentic recipe ever!
The taste of this recipe reminds me of the best of the best in Malaysia, found at the many chicken rice stalls there.
Here are my cook’s tips:
- Use pork belly. Try to choose fatty pork belly with equal layer of meat and fat. The ratio of fat and meat should be 50:50.
- If you can’t find pork belly, you may choose fatty pork shoulder or pork butt.
- Remove the skin before marinating the pork.
- Marinate overnight for the deeper flavors.
- Roast and BBQ the pork in an oven. Then grill over direct fire (using an outdoor BBQ grill or over the stove top). You can also use broil it using your oven. The key is to char all sides of the pork belly with a nice char.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Pork Tenderloin?
Yes, you can use pork tenderloin for char siu.
Pork tenderloin is less fatty but it will make a leaner and healthier version of this recipe.
Can I Freeze the Leftover?
You can keep the leftover in the refrigerator for a few days but I don’t recommend freezing.
How Many Calories Per Serving?
This recipe is only 361 calories per serving.
What to Serve with this Recipe?
Serve this recipe with plain rice or chicken rice. For a Cantonese BBQ dinner at home, I recommend the following recipes.
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- 1 lb skinless pork belly, cut into 2 long strips (450 g)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
Char Siu Sauce:
- 2 pieces Chinese fermented red bean curd (see Notes)
- 1 tablespoon maltose or honey
- 1 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark and thick soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper powder
- 3 1/2 oz sugar (100 g or 8 1/2 tablespoons)
- Get a big bowl, mix all the Char Siu Sauce ingredients, add the garlic and pork belly and marinate overnight in the fridge.
- The next day, heat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Place the pork belly on a wire rack or in a pan lined with aluminum foil. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Removed from oven and turn the pork belly over, brush the remaining Char Siu Sauce on the pork. Continue to roast for another 15 minutes.
- Set the oven to Broil and broil each side of the pork belly for about 1 min, until each side become nicely charred. The char siu will look dark in color, it's normal.
- You may heat up the remaining Char Siu Sauce and bring to a simmer. Set aside.
- Slice the char siu into thin and bite-size pieces, serve immediately with steamed white rice and the remaining Char Siu Sauce.
If you don't have fermented bean curd, you may substitute with 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce.
If you have Chinese rose wine, use it instead of Shaoxing wine.
For the dark and thick soy sauce, you can use either kecap (kicap) manis, or regular dark or black soy sauce. If you are in Malaysia, just use the regular dark soy sauce.
You can heat up the the remaining Char Siu Sauce until it bubbles and thickens. Drizzle it on the char siu before serving.
Serving Size3 people
Amount Per Serving Calories 361Total Fat 80gSaturated Fat 29gCholesterol 109mgSodium 661mgCarbohydrates 43gFiber 1gSugar 39gProtein 16g