Char Siu – Chinese Roast Pork


I remember my dad making huge batches of char siu, (Chinese roast pork) for the family business. Naturally, we’d have to sample some…

I’ve never tried making my own char siu until I wanted to make some char siu bao (roast pork buns, also known as barbecue pork buns).

I’ve attempted my own char siu 2-3 times, and the trick (to my disappointment) is to use a fatty cut of pork. For this recipe, I used a big lump of pork butt/shoulder. It had A LOT of excess fat around the joint, that I HAD to remove.

You can either make your own marinade (as below) or cheat and use Lee Kum Kee’s char siu sauce. But I warn you in advance, the ready-made sauce has modified corn starch AND high fructose corn syrup in it. My home made marinade is pretty good, but doesn’t turn the pork the typical red color. You could always add coloring, if you’re that way inclined. But for me, it’s perfect the way it is.

The resulting char siu was pretty good. The meat was tender and well infused with the fragrant marinade.





  • 680 g (1 ½ lb) pork butt/shoulder, excess fat removed, cut into 4 cm (1 ½ inch) strips
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ t finely chopped ginger
  • 4 T dark muscuvado (brown) sugar
  • 1 T dark soy sauce
  • 1 T shaoxing wine
  • 2 t fermented red bean curd (nam yui in Cantonese)
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 3 petals of star anise



1. Make the marinade by mixing together the garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, fermented red bean curd, sesame oil and star anise.

2. Place the pork into a large flat dish and pour over the marinade. Gently massage the meat with the marinade for about 1 minute, cover with cling-film (plastic wrap) and chill for overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 120°C/250°F.

4. Place a wire rack on top of a baking tray (pan) and lay the marinated pork on top. Roast for 30 minutes, turning half way. Turn up the temperature to 200°C/400°F and continue to cook for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the pork is cooked all the way through and juices run clear or the internal temperature is 70°C/160°F.

5. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Serve over a bowl of steaming rice with the juices poured over the top. Enjoy!


3 thoughts on “Char Siu – Chinese Roast Pork

  1. Pingback: Baked Char Siu Bao (Chinese Roast Pork Buns) « Honey and Spice

  2. Pingback: Baked Char Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns) « Honey and Spice

  3. Pingback: Baked Char Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns) – Tangzhong (Water-Roux) Method « Honey and Spice

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