Char Siew 叉烧

17 Nov

Char Siew with rice and pan fried asparagus

One of my favorite childhood dishes is 叉烧 with rice.  The hawkers would hang the pieces of 叉烧 on hooks with a spotlight above it to make it look delicious and enticing.  The piece of meat would be colored bright red with bits of charred meat at the uneven edges, glistening in fat and oil.

I defrosted some pork neck instead of soft bone by mistake and decided to make 叉烧 for dinner.  Google brought up a number of recipes but they all needed the use of hoisin sauce which I didn’t have and wasn’t keen on buying.  So I decided to come up with my own.  It was delicious with soft fluffy rice and pan fried asparagus on the side.

Char Siew 叉烧


0.5kg pork shoulder

1 ½ tbs kecap manis

1 ½ tbs light soy sauce (low salt)

2 ½ tbs honey

1 ½ tbs oyster sauce (low salt)

2 tbs Shao Hsing wine

½ tsp five spice powder


  1. Place all other ingredients besides the pork in a bowl and mix completely to make a marinade
  2. Cut up pork into 1 inch strips.
  3. Place marinade and pork strips into a resealable bag.  Massage the pieces of meat to allow for the marinade to coat the meat well and penetrate the layers.
  4. Place the bag in the fridge overnight, massaging a few times.
  5. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees celsius.
  6. Line a roasting pan with parchment paper to catch the drippings.
  7. Place the pieces of pork on a roasting rack and place onto the roasting pan.
  8. Bake at 230 degrees celsius for 30 minutes.
  9. Baste the pork with the remaining marinade once or twice during the baking duration and turn the meat over to allow for even caramelisation.


  1. Slice against the grain of the meat for more tender pieces
  2. Pork with a significant amount of fat make for tastier pieces as the fat absorbs the marinade well and keeps the meat moist and tender.
  3. Parchment paper is not a must but it makes cleaning up a lot easier.
  4. A bit of charring is part of a good piece of char siew as it means that adequate caramelisation has occurred.
  5. You can add red food coloring for the authentic red look.  But I try to keep my food as healthy as possible as far as additives are concerned.  And you can see that the meat turned out a nice reddish brown anyway.

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