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Best-ever Char Siu (Cantonese BBQ Pork Belly)

Char siu

Char siu

OMG!!! Look at that glaze – salivating yet? Somebody can’t wait to get his hands on them …

Char siu

Char siu

Char siu

Char siu

One dish … This one dish is the reason why I ❤️pork so much.  It represents all the best quality of how a pork should taste:


Traditionally paired with chicken rice (get the recipe here), wan tan mee or just plain steamed rice, char siu IS one of the most yummy pork dish ever.  Hands down!  And you know what?  If you’ve been going to Chinatown to get those char siu take away – well, forget that. It is unbelievably easy to make char siu at home and you’ll be shocked and pleased as to how easy that is.

There are many good char siu recipes and I’ve attempted a few – starting with the quick & lazy way of using bottled char siu sauce then to making the sauce from scratch and then trying out different variations of pork cuts up to cooking them in the oven or wok – experimenting them all just for the sake of getting the best ever char siu.  But still, there’s something lacking …

And … after searching and searching … I am finally contented with blogger The Food Canon‘s Aunt Ruby’s char siu recipe.  I was extremely satisfied with the outcome. The pork tasted damn good (really!) … super duper delicious.  The only problem was there wasn’t enough for the 3 of us!

“I closed my eyes and savour the succulent, juicy, sweet char siu pork belly.  So good! So good! I was transported back to Malaysia, for real.”

Char Siu (BBQ Pork Belly) (adapted from The Food Canon)  

Serves 2

500 g fatty pork belly strips, boneless & skin off
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp bi-carb soda
1 tbsp chinese wine
2 tbsp honey, plus extra for glazing
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups water

1. Heat a wok on medium heat.  When the wok is hot enough, pour 2 tbsp vegetable oil into the wok.

2. Place the pork belly strips into the wok and gently brown both sides for about 3-4 minutes.  Add the rest of the sauce ingredients into the wok.  Stir and ensure the pork belly strips are coated well with the sauce.

3. Turn the heat to low and gently simmer for 40 minutes or until pork belly is tender.  Turn the pork belly every 10 minutes to ensure both sides are evenly cooked.

4. By 30 minutes, the sauce will be reduced by half and start turning sticky.  Once the pork belly is tender to touch, remove from the wok.  Then pour the sauce into a clean bowl and reserve that to dress your steamed rice. Leave a tbsp of sauce/oil in the wok.

5. Heat the wok on medium heat and return the pork belly back into the wok.  Sear the meat on both sides for about 2-3 minutes each side until they are charred to your liking.

6. Remove and glaze with honey.  Then, slice the pork belly.  Serve with warm steamed rice, noodles or bao.



  1. Pingback: Best-ever Char Siu (Cantonese BBQ Pork Belly) | City To Country Magazine

  2. Mmmm I’m a sucker for Cantonese char siu! It’s about time I make my own instead of always going for take outs, thanks for sharing this recipe, can’t wait to try it out!!

  3. Oh wow, thanks for this recipe. Can’t wait to to try!
    I agree, char siu is the height of pork dishes; it brings out all that is wonderful about pork!

  4. I love char siu – it’s definitely my comfort food. Plus the leftover syrup is great for adding to fried rice instead of soy sauce.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Glad to hear it works out for you, Candida. Do let me know how the other recipes work for you once you try them :)) happy to exchange notes.

  5. mmmm, just cooked this tonight and it was delicious! I have been on the look out for a good char Sui recipe since I fell in love with the dish in Malaysia 20 years ago, this was the best I’ve found so far! Thank you.

  6. Pingback: What I’ve been cooking, a recipe round-up | On My Kitchen Counter

  7. I was looking for a char siu recipe and came across your blog!!
    Love this recipe and the photos are absolutely stunning!!

  8. Hey Jo,

    I came across your blog while searching for a char siu recipe. I thank the heavens above for bringing me to you!

    What really attracted me was the fact that this recipe is made from start to finish on a stove top, no oven required. While I do enjoy lighting up the BBQ on sunny days, I don’t fancy broiling/baking indoors.

    I made the recipe last week and it turned out absolutely fantastic! Absolutely delicious, scrumptious & unctuous. This recipe is a keeper and I can’t wait to serve it to my sister-in-law, who is Shanghainese.

    Thanks for an amazing recipe!

    Ronnie B.

    • Hi there, I’m so glad you loved it. I had the same sentiment as you when I made this recipe – it’s all in the wok on the stove. Super easy. I’ve been making this recipe since then and my greater network of friends have commented the same too. I hope your sister-in-law likes it. Keep me posted 🙂

  9. Pingback: Best-ever Char Siu (Cantonese BBQ Pork Belly) | Joand Quintonil Marketing And Gastronomic Recruiting Agent

  10. Yan Han says

    hi! I’m just wondering – when u simmer for 40 minutes, is this with the cover on or off? for mine there’s still a lot of water after 40 minutes.

    • Hi Han, I normally cover but leave a small opening. If there’s still a lot of water after 40 mins and the pork is already tender, you can remove the pork and then on high heat boil the sauce until it’s thickened slightly.

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