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Char Siu: Cantonese BBQ Pork

Char Siu, a Cantonese-style barbecued pork, is a mouthwatering blend of sweet, savory, and smoky flavors that have made it a beloved staple in Chinese cuisine. The dish gets its signature flavor and color from a rich, sticky marinade, which also helps to tenderize the meat. The result is a succulent delicacy with a caramelized exterior and a tender, juicy interior, often served sliced into thin pieces. Let us guide you on a culinary adventure to recreate this Cantonese barbecue delight in your own kitchen.

Char Siu: Cantonese BBQ Pork


  • 500 grams of pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Chinese rice wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon of red food coloring (optional)

Cooking Steps:

  • Begin by cutting the pork shoulder into long strips, about 2 inches wide.
  • In a bowl, mix together the hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, minced garlic, five-spice powder, and food coloring if using. This will form your Char Siu marinade.
  • Place the pork strips in the marinade, ensuring they are fully coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place a rack on top.
  • Place the pork strips on the rack and reserve the remaining marinade. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the pork and baste with the reserved marinade. Roast for another 20 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and slightly charred.
  • Allow the pork to rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

In conclusion, Char Siu is a delicious and satisfying dish that showcases the unique flavors of Cantonese cuisine. The key to a delectable Char Siu lies in the quality of the ingredients and the marinade’s duration, which allows the flavors to penetrate the meat. Always choose fresh pork shoulder for the best results, and allow the meat to marinate overnight if possible. Not only is Char Siu a delightful treat for your taste buds, but it also offers nutritional benefits such as high-quality proteins and essential amino acids from the pork. So, don’t wait to whip up some homemade Char Siu and relish the flavors of Cantonese barbecue in the comfort of your home.

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