Recipe: Char Siew 叉烧 (Chinese BBQ Pork)

Dear Offspring,

You had not one, not two, but three helpings of char siu tonight! The toddler vegetarian stage is well and truly over. Who wouldn’t love the honeyed sweet and saltiness of char siu tinged with a smidge of burnt pork fat? I am filing this away for your siblings.

Love from Mom

Char Siew

By Yan Kit So


2 strips of pork belly (without rind)*

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

2 tbsp yellow bean paste

4 tbsp light soy

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or Vermouth

4 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt


2 tbsp honey


A. Cut the strips of pork belly in half to fit into a watertight container. Mix the ingredients for the marinade and pour it over the pork belly. Cover tightly and turn the container until all the pork belly is coated with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours, turning occasionally.

B. Preheat the oven at 375F (190C). Place the marinated pork belly strips (A) on a wired rack with a tray of water underneath to catch the drippings (the water prevents the drippings from burning – hard to clean – and ensures that the meat does not dry out in the oven). Roast for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, take the tray out, dip the pork belly in the marinade again, turn and roast on the other side for a further 25 minutes at 350F (176C). I use a pair of tongs to do this.

When the pork belly is cooked, take out of the oven and brush the honey all around, making sure you do not neglect the crevices. Slice into thick slices.

Served here with egg noodles and bak choy, finished with a dab of chilli.

*The pork belly sold in regular grocery stores in America is sliced too thin, like thick bacon. For chunky strips, you need a butcher or an Asian grocery store. In Houston TX, I buy mine at HMart.

1st August 2018


… where we have been posted on expat assignment for the last 7.5 months and counting.

I tried this tonight with a slab of kurobata pork collar from Huber’s Butchery, butterflied then sliced lengthwise into thick strips. There is another cut – the armpit – that can be found in local wet markets which is reputedly the best cut to use for char siew.

I also used ieatshootpost’s method of steaming then roasting then broiling here. Slightly over cooked but still delish.

I also mixed 2 tbsp of leftover marinade with the honey and boiled it into a glaze before painting the char siew. Will definitely do this going forward.


3 thoughts on “Recipe: Char Siew 叉烧 (Chinese BBQ Pork)

  1. Pingback: Recipe: A simple stir-fried green | My Third Culture Kitchen

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