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Char Siu (BBQ Pork Belly)

Chinese roasted pork belly - BEST pork belly or char siu ever. Marinated with honey, hoisin sauce, a zillion times better than Chinatown |

Char Siu (BBQ Pork Belly)

Chinese roasted pork belly – BEST pork belly or char siu ever. Marinated with honey, hoisin sauce, a zillion times better than Chinatown |

Prep time:

Cook time:

Total Time:


1 lb (450 g) skinless pork belly, cut into 2 long strips
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

Char Siu Sauce:

2 pieces Chinese fermented red bean curd 1 tablespoon maltose
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 (100 g) sugar, or 8 1/2 tablespoons

1. Get a big bowl, mix all the Char Siu Sauce ingredients, add the garlic and pork belly and marinate overnight in the fridge.
2. The next day, heat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
3. Place the pork belly on a wire rack and bake for 15 minutes.
4. Removed from oven and turn the pork belly over, brush the remaining char siu sauce over and place the pork belly back in the oven for another 15 minutes or until cooked. The char siu will look dark in color, it’s normal.
5. Slice the char siu into thin and bite-size pieces, serve immediately with steamed white rice.
Char Siu (BBQ Pork Belly)
Char Siu (BBQ Pork Belly) pictures (1 of 5)

Char Siu, or Chinese BBQ pork is one of the most popular pork dishes in Chinese/Cantonese cuisine. If you have been to Chinatown, I am sure you have seen BBQ meats (roasted pork belly, duck, chicken, etc.) hanging in front of the Chinese BBQ restaurants. To many Chinese, the mere mention of char siu would conjure up a mental picture of juicy, tender, savory, fatty BBQ pork belly dripping in a savory, sticky, and uber delicious sauce, sliced into thin pieces and served with steaming white rice. Char siu is the epitome of the Cantonese BBQ dishes, if roast pork belly (Siu Yuk) is the king, then char siu would be the queen. A good char siu, when done and executed to perfection, is one of the best things to savor in the world, really!

Char Siu (BBQ Pork Belly) Today, I am sharing a new recipe I found on Facebook, which rivals, if not better than the other char siu recipe I learn from my friend S. The taste reminds every bit of the best char siu found in Malaysia. Even though char siu is probably originated from Hong Kong, but I will have to say that when it comes to the best char siu, especially pork belly char siu, they are found in Malaysia. I think many people would agree with me if you have tasted the quality of char siu in the best chicken rice/BBQ meat stalls in Malaysia. Char Siu (BBQ Pork Belly) I have a picky eater son, but the last trip I took him back to Penang a few months ago, he fell in love with char siu rice in Penang. We always went to one of the best ones in Penang, and he was instantly hooked. He called it “Chinese honey bacon,” which is quite aptly so. After we came back to California, I scouted for the best char siu in Irvine, but at the first bite of the pink-color, dry, tasteless, thick pieces of char siu, he told me that he didn’t like the taste, and that the ones back in Penang is better. Yes, he is absolutely right. I just don’t understand why the Cantonese chefs here can’t make a decent char siu comparable to the ones in Malaysia. Oh well, I had to make my own to satiate my son’s craving. Char Siu (BBQ Pork Belly) This char siu recipe is totally legit, and super easy to make. Try it and you’ll have the best char siu you can possibly have, and definitely much better than the ones you get at Chinatown. Guaranteed!

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39 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Vick

    love char sui had in Los Angeles now living in Indiana can you give me some comparables as finding ingredients in small rural area> thanks :)

    • Hi! My family is from the bay area and moved to Indiana too! My mom goes to the Asian market in Indy and brings a cooler with her to buy pork belly etc. They will have all of the ingredients that you need. If you don’t feel like making a big trip out of it, my mom has made it before with pork belly (she made friends with the butcher so he ordered it especially for her) and biscuit mix (added more flour to it). It’s not nearly as good as the original, but it’s still pretty good. If you have a Meijer nearby, they’ll have hoisin and other unexpected ingredients.

  2. Agnes Ma

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet. I want to see if anything else needs my special attention before going to cook this dish. I googled under Pool Sam’s Facebook find nothing. Would you please show me the complete address to get onto his facebook. I will be grateful.

  3. Mary Michael

    Can I use this recipe with chicken,beef and/or fish? what kind of tweeks would I need to do to the above recipe to make it compatible with the proteins I have listed.

  4. Winston Wong

    One of the main reasons why char siu/siu yoke (even now in Malaysia it’s not easy to get the pork belly type)is because many people are too overly health conscious that they demand lean meat (pork belly – byebye) hence the coarse tough papery taste. I’ve asked many who sells roast pork/char siu from all over and I get the same answer.
    All I can say is that do not compromise if we want to eat authentic food after all we don’t eat these everyday.

  5. Peter

    This came out really fatty—it looked nothing like the pictures. Something is missing here….maybe you need to trim or parboil first.

  6. The only pork belly I get where I live has been sliced, similar to bacon but thicker. Is there a way for me to adapt the cooking (there is only 1 grocery store here)

  7. Janet

    I get you notifications on Facebook. My local Chinese restaurant that I go to a lot (buffet) serves a dish and the only name they have for it is Crab and Mayonnaise. The mayonnaise is not a heavy sauce and its buttery. I know there is celery and possibly green onions in it and big chunk crab. It is a hot dish. None of the recipes I finds in no way match up to it. Do you know of any dish like this that the Chinese prepare? I would appreciate any help you can give. I would also like the recipe for salt and pepper shrimp if possible.

  8. Theresa

    How do you mix the maltose with the ingredients? Out of the jar it is very hard and comes out as a big lump…

  9. Hi – where does one buy maltose? I checked on Amazon – and they sell something that is used to make beer, called barley malt syrup. Can I substitute something for the maltose?

    Thanks, Eileen

  10. Chui Yee

    We don’t have fermented red bean curd here. Is there possibly a substitute or can I just skip that ingredient? any chance?

  11. Jane

    there are so many brands for shaoxin wine, is there a difference in the taste? which brand is the best?

  12. Hi Bee,
    I have been searching for Char Siu recipe for a while and thanks for your posts.
    Just a quick check with you, the link in the recipe to fermented red bean curd was not working for me. Do you mean 南乳 or 红曲?

    Thanks a lot!

    KP Kwan

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