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Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)


Char Siu, a beloved dish in Chinese cuisine, is known for its succulent and flavorful pork marinated in a special blend of sauces and spices. Originating from Cantonese cuisine, Char Siu has gained popularity worldwide for its sweet, savory, and slightly smoky taste. Let’s delve into the delicious world of Char Siu and learn how to make this delectable dish right in your kitchen!

The History of Char Siu

Char Siu, which translates to “fork roasted,” has a rich history dating back to ancient China. Initially, it was prepared by skewering seasoned pork with long forks and roasting it over an open fire. Over time, the recipe evolved, and various regions in China developed their unique versions of Char Siu. Today, it is commonly found in Cantonese, Hakka, and other Chinese cuisines, as well as in Chinese communities around the world.

Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)


To make Char Siu at home, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 500g pork shoulder or loin, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional, for traditional color)
Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)


  1. Marinating the Pork: In a bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, Chinese five-spice powder, sesame oil, minced garlic, rice vinegar, and Shaoxing wine (if using). Mix well to form a smooth marinade.
  2. Marinating the Pork: Place the thinly sliced pork in a resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the pork, ensuring that each slice is well coated. If desired, add the red food coloring to achieve the traditional vibrant color of Char Siu. Seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Preparing the Pork: Remove the marinated pork from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  3. Roasting the Pork: Place the marinated pork slices on a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. This allows the excess marinade to drip off while the pork cooks. Reserve the remaining marinade for basting.
  4. Basting and Roasting: Roast the pork in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, basting with the reserved marinade every 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the pork to prevent burning, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  5. Final Touch: After the pork is cooked through and caramelized on the outside, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Slice the Char Siu into thin strips and serve hot with steamed rice or noodles.


Char Siu, with its irresistible combination of sweet and savory flavors, is a timeless classic in Chinese cuisine. Whether enjoyed as a main dish, served alongside other dim sum delights, or used as a filling in buns and pastries, Char Siu never fails to satisfy. With this simple recipe, you can bring the authentic taste of Chinese BBQ pork into your kitchen and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills. So why not give it a try and experience the joy of making Char Siu at home?

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