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Chinese BBQ Pork

BBQ Pork (Char Siu/Char Siew)
BBQ Pork (Char Siu/Char Siew) pictures (1 of 9)

BBQ pork or “char siu” (also spelled as “char siew”) is a famous Chinese dish that everyone loves.

Char siu (char siew) is of Cantonese origin where skewers of pork meat is marinated in a honey hoisin sauce, and then roast in oven to charred, savory, and sticky sweet perfection. If there is a pork recipe that defines Chinese cooking, I think char siu (char siew) would be it.

The secret ingredients to the best-ever char siu (char siew) are.

  1. Choice of meat – if you love your char siu (char siew) tender, juicy, moist, and a little fatty, use pork belly. If you prefer a meaty char siu (char siew), then go for pork loin. If you like it somewhere in between, then pork butt will be a great choice.
  2. Maltose – called ” 麦芽糖” in Chinese, maltose is the secret ingredient that gives char siu (char siew) that sticky sweet taste and texture. Honey is just the icing on the cake.
  3. Chinese rose wine – this wine is very fragrant and lends a very nice flavor to this BBQ pork or char siu (char siew) recipe.
  4. Five-spice powder (五香粉) – mixture of 5 spices used in Chinese recipes.

Without further ado, here is the Chinese BBQ pork (char siu/char siew) recipe, which I learned from my friend S. This recipe makes KILLER char siu (char siew) that is better than any Chinese restaurants–juicy, moist, tender, delicious, and sublime.

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255 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. NYMY

    OMG, this bbq pork looks so good. I have seen too many char siu or Chinese BBQ pork that is too dry or too red in color. Your char siu looks very juicy and delicious!

  2. hm, after coming out from the oven, it still needs to be grilled over open fire?
    Thats alot of work hahahaha.

    What about those Char Siew sauce that comes in a bottle? Have you used that before?
    I use that to fry mince meat, and they are quite tasty.

    Nice pics. Very tempting.

  3. Christine

    Oh thanks for sharing this, I’ve been bugging my uncle (whom I thought made the best ever char siew) but he would never let me in on his recipe, I’m gonna try this and show him that he’s not the only char siew “king” around! :) hee hee, thanks again!

    • Christine – sounds like you got a Char Siu master in your uncle. The real sifu :) You can try my recipe and challenge him. Maybe then you get him to finally share his version with the whole world :O, or at least just me :)

  4. very very yummy!!! i never know we can prepre BBQ pork sauce from sctrach! i always buy the 李锦记Char Siew Sauce to marinate my BBQ pork. Since i dun hv the metal skewer and not able to transfer the BBQ pork to grill on stove top, would shd we do next after that 15 minutes in the oven? shall we continue to roast it?

    • Gigi – I used the 李锦记Char Siew Sauce a lot in the past, especially college days. After 15 minutes, the meat is basically done. I suggest you can serve it as is. Leaving it longer at high heat may charred the meat but may also make it chewy.

    • Tim – I sure hope I captured the essence of char siu. Picturing the traditional way char siu is sold. The meat hanging at the front of stores make most of us hungry.

  5. Valerie

    Oh this looks delicious!! I love char siew and so far, I have not found the perfect recipe or a store here in the US. The char siew meat here is usually tough. I like the meat juicy and the outer part crispy! haha. I guess that is why you grill it. hehe.

    I will try this, but where can I find Maltose??

    • Valerie – yes, that’s why I have to make it. The meat here being frozen and all, is really not the best way to interpret our delicious char siu. But it’s worth the try. You can find maltose in most Asian grocery stores.

  6. Kudos for making it at home. I would of never attempted it because it is readily available at Chinese deli counters. After reading your post, I think I will attempt to make it myself.

  7. JW


    I’ve been looking for this recipe for a long time but the recipes never came with pictures that showed how the char siew ended up!

    How long do you grill yours over the stove top for? I was always under the impression that you had to cook pork belly for a very long time on a low heat otherwise it would be too chewy?

    • JW – depending on the size and portion of the pork, you can cook in low heat for a much longer time. The pork is already cooked when you take them out of oven. Grilling over the stove top is to give the meat the final BBQ appearance. So, not too long, just till it is charred nicely.

  8. Look at that sheen on that pork. Yumm.. Roasting them over open flame and all must make a huge difference in flavor, I would imagine. Last time I made mine, I use a friggin’ oven on very high and almost smoked the whole house out!

  9. Miss Tish

    This looks delicious and beautiful! My thai mom loves char siu and and I can’t wait to try this recipe for her – I think our mommies deserve us to go the extra mile, not just buy it at the store already made (good….but can’t be as good as this!) Thanks for sharing the ‘secret ingredient’!

  10. You are so right…this is definitely a much-loved Chinese pork dish! I do love it! And I had no idea it was easy to make at home…I will have to hunt down maltose and Chinese rose wine first…

  11. veron

    Ahhhh! this has been on my to do list for the longest time. I did not use to like this as my Dad made it too red (one of the few things he made that I did not like). And then I had it at a local restaurant over here known for their authentic chinese food and I loved it. Now I can’t wait to try this recipe. I think I have seen maltose in the Asian market.

  12. oh gosh your char siew/siu looks really good, probably able to fight those i reviewed as best in KL :) i do wonder though when i would have this culinary skill and patience to try this at home

  13. Pinenuts

    Nowadays, char siew is easily available in Melbourne. However, to find one with the correct right texture, fragrance, taste and appearance can be a challenge. To date, I have yet to find one that come close to those that I had in Petaling Street when I was growing up in Kuala Lumpur.

    I am intrigued by your recipe with maltose and chinese rose wine and shall give it a try. One thing though, I am a still doubtful on the need to roast and then barbeque the meat.

    All in all, you are doing a great job with your blog. Keep up the good work!

    • Pinenuts – Oven will never ever do a great job when it comes to the grilled/BBQ/charred taste and texture, so I roasted the char siu first (to cook the meat) and then grilled them over the stove top (it would have been impossible to cook the meat just over the stove top). I would have just BBQ it if I had set up my outdoor grill. You need not follow my exact steps; it’s the char siu sauce and marinate that make the char siu great.

  14. I don’t know where to get maltose in S’pore and in USA….hmmmm…I want to try them soon and in future. Coincidentally, there was home-made char siew in my parents’ home recently and my father told me the butcher in the market recommended him to get this part of the pig to make char siew – “不见天” ….I don’t know the technical name in English…hahaha…but I think it is the “chest” area of the pig which is always facing downwards. This part is really lean. I think I would prefer my char siew lean with fatty bits :) …yours look perfect!

  15. S

    Your Char Siu is one lean, mean, hunky machine!:) Could lolli them up in a jiff. Can’t remember the last time I had them:( Anyway, if there’s any leftovers, they make a flavorful porridge too, with a tad BBQ-sweet taste, yums! Now, where’s that 1-800-RM-BBQ-Pork one can place an order?

  16. Sandy

    That looks delicious! My dad used to make it, but I never actually got to learn it until it was too late. I’ll have to try this recipe and let my mom try it out~! :)

  17. Oh me, oh my……. my drool is dripping all over my keyboard. I’m a big big fan of char siew!!! Makes me want to rush out to the nearest Kai Fan stall for some char siew. but it will be mediocre )): Thanks for the recipe, your char siew looks waayyyy better. I’ll have to try making it.

    Btw, this is your silent fan, piping up on rare occasions :P

    • Rose wine is cooking wine and you can find it in Asian grocery stores. You can definitely find it in Ranch 99, with many locations in Southern California. Check out cooking wine aisle.

  18. luke

    well, i have few cook books that recommends diff ways of cooking char siew and it all turned out anything but char siew.your recipe and picture looks more convincing and *slurpy*. i must try it when i get those ingredients on hand :D

    and i like the way of char*ing the meat on top of the stove that you recommended. it works pretty well on my chicken wings :D

  19. deming chau

    i tried this recipe and it works. The taste came out almost close to store bought, if not better. I improvised on two things. 1) instead of using a grill or stove top to char the meat, I simply broiled the meat in the oven for the last 5 minutes of cooking. 2) since i couldn’t find maltose, i used rock sugar instead.

    thanks for sharing this recipe, will definitely try it again….

  20. matt

    i know ive already posted once but this is so good i have to post again i’m making this for the third time in a month but i’m also combining the chicken kabob recipe,skewering red bell pepper,pearl onion and pineapple with the pork don’t pass this recipe up it’s truly great!

  21. kaitlin

    Wow that looks great! But if I want to use pork belly, how much do i need and how should it be prepared? The same way as pork butt?

  22. kc

    This recepie is great! this is the third recpie from you web site and every dish has gotten an A+from my dh who is a picky eater. next time i think i will make extra marinate/sauce to put on some rice. kc

    • Simon

      Well, I tried this tonight for dinner after I saw a piece of pork at the supermarket for sale. I didn’t have maltose, hoisin sauce, 5 spices nor rose wine. Regardless, I did a sauce approximating it with raw sugar for maltose, oyster sauce for hoisin sauce and nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon powder for the 5 spices and port for rose wine. I didn’t have time to marinade it overnight either. I put it in the oven on the top rack, and put it on grill with a tray of water underneath it to catch the dripping and to keep it moist.

      Guess, what is still came out super tasty. My wife approves. Thanks for the recipe! Never thought I’d be able to do this at home!

  23. Lissa

    Tried those bottled sauce before but didn’t like it. I tried your recipe today (well, yesterday since I marinated the pork overnight) and it was as my daughter said, “Yummy!”. It tasted almost like the ones sold at the kopi tiam in Penang. Love it!! Will try it again and this time double the ingredients.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  24. lyn

    I wonder if i could use chicken instead of pork and for the rose wine what do u suggest i replace it with bcoz i’m muslim.It’s look sooo yummy !!! :p

  25. Hi Rasa

    Pleasure to meet you. Yeah, I liked your picture. Tell your hubby he is one very lucky man to have someone like you. On the recipe for char siew where you use maltose? I’m here in San Diego, CA. and since i’ve never bought it before nor heard of it when i go to buy maltose, what kind of packaging should i be looking for and where may i find this stuff? Is it in a cardboard box or bag? Asian stores like Seafood city?

    • DavidDerby

      Maltose is known by several different names. It depends on where you are using it. Growing up in the US Malt (maltose) was used in making malted milk or malted shakes (1950’s & 1960’s). After a quick search on the internet, I also found it listed as malt flour, malt sugar. The product I remember was Malt-O-Meal (product brand), they made malt for shakes, malted cereals & other similar products. After my search of the internet, I found several companies on Amazon the will ship their malt products almost anywhere. This includes the US military addresses (FPO, APO) which a lot of buisinesses will not ship to, even though they use USPS.

  26. Patrick

    Hi Rasa, I’ve tried a few of your recipes so far and they all came out great! I can’t wait for your book. Char siu is going to be my next recipe. I just wanted ask one thing, are pork butt and shoulder the same thing? I’ve heard from somewhere that they are the same cut, i was hoping you could tell me, thank you!

  27. Grace

    Thank you so much for posting such yummy recipe. I am definitely going to try it. I lived far far away from Chinatown and sometimes are so home sick. Thank you so much!!!

  28. Jeff

    Thanks for the recipe, I am marinading now. One concern I have is the cooking time you listed. 15 minutes in the oven just doesn’t seem long enough for pork butt. From my experience, to get pork butt tender, it needs to be cooked longer at a lower temperature, or maybe seared at a very high temperature (if a very thin cut). 15 minutes looks more like pork tenderloin time. Can you confirm your times are for pork butt? I realize there is the 2nd step of charring over flame, which I of course plan to do, but you’ve said above that “The pork is already cooked when you take them out of oven.” I’m thinking pork butt would prefer 1-2 hours at 300* though, before the charring step – to allow the fat to render somewhat. Thoughts?

    Mahalo from Hawaii – no stranger to good, authentic char siu here!


    • Hi Jeff – 15 is just nice. Noted I cut my pork butt in very small pieces. You don’t want to overcook it by leaving them in the oven too long because they will turn dry and not juicy. My char siu is very juicy and just cooked, and the chars are great.

  29. momo518

    I couldn’t find maltose in my local grocery store. Where can I find it? or Is there a substitute? thanks again for the wonderful recipe

  30. Hi! Thanks for your great recipe! I made it a few days ago and made some changes to it and it turned out great! We loved eating it! If you’re interested, i posted pictures on my blog! Thanks!

  31. lilian

    Hi, i’ve been a follower of your blog for quite sometime and I’ve tried a lot of your recipes and I mist say they have all been really good especially the honey walnut prawn, chinese bbq pork ribs and soy sauce chicken. Since I’ve made the bbq pork ribs before which is something similar to this recipe I thought i might give this recipe a shot.

    Just a question, when i grill the pork over the stove top, do i place the pork directly on top of the stove and leave it there or sort of hover it near the fire? How long do i grill it for? Btw, won’t the sauce drip all over? Or can i use an alternative method and roast the pork in the oven and then grill it in the oven using the grill function of the oven? Hope you can reply asap as I intend to make this really soon. Keep the good work!

    • Yes, you can use the broil function of the oven and broil for 1-2 minutes, depending on your oven. I prefer my method because it “chars” better, hehe. Yes, if you use the stove top, the sauce will drip a little, but I always leave a sheet of aluminum foil covering my stove top. You have to hover it near the fire, keep turning, just like BBQ over fire. :)

  32. Lynn

    What do you mean when you cook it stove top afterwards? What exactly do you do? can you just broil it on high to sear it?


      • Peter Tan

        Part of my problem for me is the difference between American English and British English. I don’t use ‘broil’, but I understand this to be what is in the UK ‘grill’ – apply the heat source from above.

        So is it fine to use the grill (in the British sense), as well as to use a griddle pan and have the heat source below?

  33. Lynn

    Just made it tonite. so good!!!! taste just like what I remember from back in the days of chinatown. THANKS!

  34. lilian

    Thanks for the recipe…the char siew turned out really delicious. I ended up using the broil function of my oven for about 2 mins on high. I substituted rose wine for shaoxing wine since its kinda expensive to buy 1 bottle of it. But the sauce was really good…I made some extra and served it by poring some of the sticky, sweet and savoury sauce over the char siew. My family loved it =) and I’ll be making it again. Much better than Lee Kum Kee char siew sauce.

  35. Daisy_A

    This looks delicious!

    I am just becoming more confident in cooking Asian food and blogs like yours help so much. I just surprised myself by managing to make some delicious pork char siu bao with roasted pork to which I added seasonings. Now I would really like to go the extra step and make the pork from scratch from your recipe.

    I had a couple of question but see that you have answered one above. I know what you mean about a stove top char giving flavour. It made no end of difference to my baba ghanoush recipe to chargrill the aubergine but I had to put foil below the burners and see that you also advise this for this recipe.

    My second question is what would you serve this with? I have worked out that I can make plain bao as an accompaniment. I would also like to offer an additional vegetable dish or garnish but don’t know what is traditional? I would welcome your suggestions.

    Thanks for your help and great blog! Daisy_A

    • I always have a sheet of foil on my stove. I think it makes a lot of difference to char meat, vegetable is different, the texture of aubergine is already soft and tender to begin with.

      I would serve this with plain white rice, and you can make some extra sauce to go with it. Noodles will be nice, too, as this BBQ pork makes a great topping.

      • Daisy_A

        Many thanks for these suggestions! I’m sure this would be good with noodles or rice. You’re right about the aubergine – don’t think it makes it more tender, just smokier, which is lovely. I look forward to trying this chargrill technique with meat also. Thanks for your help. Daisy_A

  36. Nhia

    This recipe is really a keep! I can’t eat pork so I improvised a bit, I used boneless chicken breast with skin or beef (flank or chuck or sirloin), I rolled the meat into log. Instead roasting it, I braised it. The result was softer and moist. For muslim people, it’s okay to omit the rose wine.

    • Peter Tan

      I think chicken breast is too dry as a substitute. Why not try lamb? We’ve made lamb char siew before, and it was EXCELLENT! :)

    • JasonInMelbourne

      Use a few drops of rose water instead of rose wine. DO NOT use more than a few drops as it is VERY CONCENTRATED.

      • Lily


        I just want to inquire..what if i substitute the chicken breast with chicken thigh with skin? would it yield better result? and about the rose water? is the same as rose essence used in making Kuih? Tq

  37. Jennie

    Looking delicious, so should the oven be preheated for a certain time before putting in the meat in the oven?

  38. Bearmouse

    I tried this recipe yesterday.
    It was delicious.
    I finished it under the broiler to caramelized the pork (to cold to use the BBQ outside).
    Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  39. lilian

    Hi, if i were to do this for 1 1/2 to 2 kg pork belly how long should I roast it for? Making this for a large group of friends the day after tmr and I really hope it turns out well. Thanks if u can reply asap.

  40. lilian

    Sorry for bugging u but u have not replied me. Am making this tmr. I am roasting 1.1kg pork belly. Would 35-40 mins be enough?

  41. lilian

    Its alright. I made them today and roasted them for 40 mins in the oven then grill them under the broiler for 10 mins. They came out juicy, succulent and tender. Definitely not overcooked which I was afraid of. I complimented it with chicken rice. Cheers.

  42. Cheryl

    I was gonna make char sew noodles for the bf and i for dinner, didn’t realize I ran out of lee kum kee’s char sew sauce. i didn’t have maltose, so i doubled the honey. I also didn’t put rose wine and five spice powder, used a tad more white pepper instead. still turned out super awesome! thank you so much!

  43. bete

    Neste Natal fizemos char siu para nossa ceia. Mas usamos mistura pronta comprada em loja de produtos chineses. É a nossa comida favorita.

  44. I was gonna make char sew noodles for the bf and i for dinner, didn’t realize I ran out of lee kum kee’s char sew sauce. i didn’t have maltose, so i doubled the honey. I also didn’t put rose wine and five spice powder, used a tad more white pepper instead. still turned out super awesome! thank you so much!

  45. barbecues

    As long as it is a hardwood. Oak, Hickory, Pecan, Mesquite…etc. Softwoods burn too quickly and therefore produce a hotter fire for a shorter time. Use hardwoods and make sure they are well seasoned (dry), if it’s green it will impart a very bitter taste to what ever is being cooked.

  46. Helen Collier

    I made this today and it was delicious! Instead of rose wine I used sherry cooking wine and was unable to find maltose. I cooked it in the
    oven for about 60minutes at 375 and 15minutes at 350. I made about 3.75 lbs. Great recipe! Many thanks!

  47. TC

    Instead of cooking on the stove top, could you use a chef’s blowtorch to char the meat? I think I got one kicking around… Thanks.

  48. Dansen Wong

    Just made this to celebrate CNY with my American gf and some friends from Malaysia. It was wonderful! I used the Boston pork butt cut of meat, omitted the rose wine and maltose as I couldn’t find either of them here (small town of Spartanburg, SC). Just doubled up on honey. cooked them for much longer than 15 minutes as I was cooking about 3 lbs of pork and the size of the cut was much larger. Took it out after baking in the oven, coated it with additional char siew sauce, then put it back in the broiler for a couple of minutes. My gf and friends were impressed! Sipped some Teh Kun Yam, talked about Malaysian car import taxes, how much we missed Char Kuey Teow, and how hard it is to find good Malaysian food around here! Thanks Rasa!

  49. JDK

    Looking forward to making this (in the oven) but had a quick question hoping you could confirm.
    You mention cutting a 1 pound butt into 4 pieces. Would it follow suit that a 2 pound butt would be best cut in 8 pieces? Just curious as I don’t want to cut them too thin or too thick for the cooking times and temps you recommend. THANKS – I know this is going to taste great.
    Appreciate the tips. JDK

  50. Babylie

    I really want to make this recipe but don’t have any ovens, and it will cost me a lot to buy it.. so is there any other way to cook this tasty looked charsiew?? Boil it first maybe and then continue with the grill?? As i already had Lee Kum Kee Charsiew Sauce.. do i still need other ingredients? plz advice, yummy.. :D

  51. bernie

    hi there, what can I use to substitute for maltose? I live in Brasilia, and it’s difficult to find maltose. Thanks. This recipe looks really good and I can’t wait to try it..

  52. owie

    Hi.. I like to make my own char siu too, I usually add a bit of RED YEAST RICE to get the red color… I haven’t tried this recipe, it looks so mouth watering.. will try it soon

  53. Cynthia

    This recipe looks authentic and can be trusted. I just marinaded my pork this morning following your recipe exactly. I am a cook and I know it will work. It already smells nice when all the sauces are concocted. Will wait for tomorrow for the end results. Will keep you update. Tq for the recipe. God bless!

  54. I’ve made this twice for Chinese New Year celebration this year. Thumbs-up! We love it. I’ve posted the photos in my blog with a linkback to this site here.
    Thanks for a very good recipe!

  55. kellepelle

    OMG this Char Siu was absolutely the most tasteful juicy char siu we have every eaten! We used pork butt chops and just cut it into four equal pieces. WE marniated for 36 hours and followed the rest of the recipe word for word and it was great. The recipe and this website are fabulous. we cant wait to try more

  56. Chris

    Thanks for the great recipe. I made this for a BBQ and everyone loved it. One thing though, I marinated overnight but still felt like the flavor of the marinade was really subtle. Any suggestions for a stronger flavor?

  57. lilian

    I am going to make this again for some muslim friends. I’ve tried this recipe with pork belly many times and it has always been successful. This time i am going to do it with chicken thighs, boneless perhaps. If i don’t use chinese wine, what can i substitute it with or can i just omit it altogether? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  58. Hi Thanks for the recipe. I made it last week and everyone loved it, especially kids. They came out soooo delicious like what we (my family) had at Jalan Alor. Great recipe!!

  59. Gary in Sonoma

    I left a message b4 but don’t see it now. I live in Sonoma (wine country) and can’t find maltose or Chinese Rose Wine. I’ve been to several Asian markets and they just look at me like I’m crazy. I’m willing to go to San Francisco if I have to but need to know where to go. I’ve experimented with some dry packets of Char Siu from envelopes and it’s ok but really want to try your exact recipe. HELP!

  60. just_g

    Just found your website and browsed the other day. Bought all the ingredients I needed for a couple of dish I selected. Then marinated pork butt for 2 days and it turned out very delicious. Followed the recipe as it was written. However, the only things that I didn’t follow was the maltose. I can’t seem to find it, so I just doubled the honey. Used Chinese Rice Wine instead of the Chinese rose wine. My family loved it, and it was worth cooking it. Thanks Bee for sharing this …

  61. Daniel

    Hi, I’m very new to cooking and just tried this recipe. Tastewise it was very good , but on my own part I made a mistake in not removing the skin before roasting and marinating. As a result, the meat was covered with very tough skin. Is this a general rule when dealing with pork? thus far the meat i have cooked has always been skinned so something new to me.

  62. Rosanna

    This looks divine. I can’t wait to try it. I never new you could cook directly on the stove top before. I’ve never had a gas range before, but I will in a week. I can’t wait to try this out. Thanks for the recipe. The pictures are lovely.

  63. kelly


    <3 ur site… quick question… i don't like to use food coloring if I don't have to… if i don't use the red food coloring, would it still turned out red like those in hong kong joints?


  64. Thanks for an amazing website! I love your recipes and came across it while looking for one for Ayam Masak Merah. :) I was browsing and saw this and it looks ALMOST identical to the one posted on, even right down to the cooking method. But your post is older. :) Keep posting!

  65. Mike

    I don’t agree with food coloring. It’s an outdated practice and going back a 100 years, that would have been too hard to procure. You can get the red from natural sources if you do your homework. I never use rose wine. I use shao hsing wine since it has a natural red color. Again, do you homework and you will find you don’t have to use artificial colors.

  66. Shirley

    Just tried the recipe, and it turned out great. I will use your recipe for this year’s New Year celebration for 50 people (I am thinking 15 lbs of pork butt?). I sure hope you will see my comment because I have two questions: 1). how do you cut the pork butt into four pieces? (horizontal or vertical or doesn’t matter?) 2). I will make the char siu a day ahead. What’s your recommendation for reheating? Thank you so much for the recipe!!

  67. Lin

    Hi bee!

    I love your website and have tried many of the recipes and all turned out delicious especially your dong po pork recipe :) I was wondering about the soya sauce used in the recipe. Is it light soya sauce or dark soya sauce? Thanks in advance x

  68. Tamching

    Thank you for the recipe! Some of the ingredients are hard to get here in France but a piece of filet mignon did the trick (minus the fatty part).

  69. Tan Lilian

    Hi! I read your recipe for char siu recently. I stay in Singapore. Where
    can I buy the Chinese Rose Wine? I can’t find it in NTUC. If don’t have in Singapore, where can buy in Malaysia?
    Thanks a lot.

    • Alfred

      Hu Lilian,

      I am from Singapore too. You can find Rose Wine from those dry goods stalls around big wet markets. They have it at one of the aunty store in Ghim Moh market. The shop is facing the clinics.

    • Rob Dai Gor

      Malt sugar. It is usually sold in small plastic tubs in Chinese stores. It has a consistency similar to clear honey, but is less runny.

  70. bajerugger

    Hi Bee,

    I lived in KL for a year and a half back in the 80’s, so every now and again I hanker for some Malaysian dishes. I tried your char siu pork for the first time this weekend for a small lunch party. Gone in 15 minutes! It was fantastic! I will be trying more of your recipes in the future. With or without food colouring!

  71. Spinnerette

    What can be substituted for the maltose? Can I use sugar or more honey? I have Celiac disease and because maltose is derived from barley, it’s not gluten free. (Neither are soy sauce or hoisin sauce most of the time but I found one brand of gluten free hoisin and I use tamari instead of soy sauce. But of course that’s why I can’t have bbq pork unless I make it myself!)

  72. adele

    Hi! So excited to see this; must try. Am a little confused by the “cook’s notes” though:

    1. Which oven cooking times should we use – 15m (with stove grilling after), or just 30m in the oven? What’s the difference between the oven cooking directions in the recipe and in the notes?
    2. What are the steps for outdoor grilling? Sounds like this might be simpler since it doesn’t require the extra oven-transfer step. Do we also glaze/char at the end?


  73. janet

    Wow–I’ve used a packaged sauce for years and this was both more tasty and more economical. I did skip the food coloring, only because the pork was delicious and appetizing with natural color. Boo, Mike.

  74. Merv

    There are so many recipes for char siu, but I do like your one. Just to clarify: you can BBQ it directly over a grill in lieu of the initial oven roasting — that is, a one-step process?

  75. Dan

    This is absolutely the best recipe for char siew. I have made it many times and all my friends love it. I prefer to use pork belly for the fats.

  76. Darshini Nadarajan

    Another great recipe! U have the most amazing timing too! (U r also my best cover to show people I actually am malaysian! LOL) Char Siu Challenge Accepted!!

  77. Rick Lapin

    If there is a more heavenly char-siu recipe I have not yet run across it, and since I found this one I’ve stopped looking. Used the sauce to make ribs and chicken many times — tonight I am marinating a pork tenderloin with the firm intention of direct grilling it tomorrow evening … take that, Old Man Winter.

    Sincerest thanks for all you do on this site.

  78. Harry

    I tried making this and it didn’t come out as expected…although I was close. I had a hard time finding the maltose and could not find the rose wine.

    I maltose I bought it was very very thick and a bit difficult to work with b/c it was so thick. Is maltose suppose to be really thick or did I get a bad batch?

    As for locating the rose wine I just couldn’t find it at any Chinese local grocery store. I googled it and found an alternative to rose wine but I’m not sure if this threw off the recipe. I will give this a try again and hopefully I’ll come closer to nailing down this recipe.

  79. PJ

    I Love your site ! Any of your recipes that I have tried have been amazing !! Your photography makes me want to make everything ! Thank You !

  80. pisey

    Hi,, some ingredients are new for me. if possible, can post the photo of each ingredients along. Thanks

  81. Bob

    I’ve tried several recipes for char siu and this one is by far the best. Thanks for sharing.

    Anyone having trouble finding maltose or rose wine and has a 99 Ranch Market near by….

    Look for maltose right next to the honey. It’s in a small white tub with blue letters and a pink lid. I could not find anything labelled rose wine, but a little researched showed that it also goes by the name “Mei Kuei Lu Chiew” which is in the liquor aisle near the Sake. It has a rose embossed on the back of the bottle. It’s about $15 for a 750ml bottle.

  82. Catherine

    I have tried several of your recipes and they never fail to be big hits. I made this for my family and they loved it!!! I just had to say thank you so much and how much I appreciate your recipes.

  83. neereet

    Hi I leave in beijing and I miss Malaysian food.. Ther is nothing better thn msian food.. Do u have idea wat can replace the 5 resipi powder…

  84. I’ve been cooking BBQ every weekend for my family and I want to try it with Char Siu sauce. From the ingredients I can judge that it is really a delicious one. Thanks for sharing.

  85. Nancy Falkenberg

    I made this yesterday. I was so fabulous. Today I’m going to use the little bit of leftovers for making the Bao. I already have the dough made. All your recipes are excellent and easy to follow. I have made many. Thought it was time to let you know. Thanks Bee.

  86. John Ee Chee Hong

    I ran all over KL for two days and I haven’t find maltose sugar yet, any idea where to buy this in KL or even Selangor? Why such a simple item is not sold by supermarkets. Sighh……………. I google maltose sugar and came accross this article about maltose sugar and I want to cook a shandong chicken dish which uses maltose sugar.

  87. John Ee Chee Hong

    It’s ok I finally found a place in Malaysia that sells it and I have been to one of their branches before, it is a baking shop. First link is the maltose sugar and second link is the branches that they have, many branches and since many of your blog users are looking high and low for it and many are Malaysians, i hope you can make put this info somewhere on your blog. I am going to get my maltose sugar soon in less than 24 hours time :-)

  88. Nora

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I made it on the weekend and it was delicious !!! I live in a relatively small Canadian city and the only options for BBQ pork is whatever the small Asian grocery store brings in from the bigger cities (which is frozen). The meat is dry, a fake red color and does not have the aroma of real char siu.

    I have also tried the sweet and sour pork on your website and it has become our favourite recipe. Both of these recipes tasted fresh and authentic and better than the take out.

    I have so many recipes from you that I have pinned and I can’t wait to try them all.

    Thanks again.

  89. Joyce MT

    Helloo Bee,

    I’m a Malaysian living in Florida. I’ve been experimenting a with char siu lately since hubby caught the home char siu fever. I’ll be trying your recipe next and let you know how it turns out. On your note about it’s not possible to char the char siu on stovetop, I find that this is possible using the braising method. The downside to this though is that it takes a bit of work to clean the caramelized sugar off your wok. But it is possible. You can read more about it here – I tried this yesterday and CS turned out really great. Anyway, I’ll be trying out this recipe in a couple of week. I’ll bet this will turn out great! :) Thanks again.

  90. Hi Rasa, many thanks for posting your receipe. I have found an oriental shop, and have been told I can use Wangzhihe
    Chinese Cooking Wine (Peng Ren Huang Jiu) as a replacement. I have tried googling but cannot find exactly what this product is. Please could you help me and advise? Thank you.

  91. Alicia

    Dear Bee,
    Thank you for sharing your recipe. I live in Singapore and even though Char Siu is sold in every food court and hawker center, it is very difficult to find really good Char Siu. This evening I just made Char Siu using your recipe.

    I used Chinese rose wine, maltose, hoisin sauce and soy sauce, but skipped the 5 spice powder. For the meat I used pork armpit (不见天)which has some fat and is more tender compared to shoulder butt or pork tenderloin. I marinated for 8 hours, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes. There is no need to roast over open fire because the meat is already slightly charred and I don’t like char Siu that is too charred. I made extra sauce and added chopped ginger and onions. My husband and 2 kids finished all 1 kg of char Siu during dinner! Now I think that Char Siu sold outside is so tasteless in comparison and the artificial red coloring is so unhealthy. Home made Char Siu is the best!

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