World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Char siu

Char siu
A rack of char siu pork
Alternative names chasu, cha siu, chashao, and char siew, barbecued meat, xa xiu
Place of origin China
Region or state Chinese-speaking areas, Japan, Southeast Asia
Main ingredients Pork, mixture of honey, five-spice powder, fermented tofu (red), dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sherry or rice wine
Char siuCookbook:  

Char siu (Chinese: 叉燒 cha1 shao1, literally "fork-roast"; also Romanised chasu, cha siu, caa siu, char siew) is a popular way to flavor and prepare barbecued pork in Cantonese cuisine.[1] It is classified as a type of siu mei (燒味), Cantonese roasted meat.


  • Meat cuts 1
  • Chinese cuisine 2
  • Hong Kong cuisine 3
  • Southeast Asian cuisine 4
  • Japanese cuisine 5
  • Pacific Rim cuisine 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8

Meat cuts

Pork cuts used for char siu can vary, but a few main cuts are common:[2]

Chinese cuisine

A plate of char siu rice

Char siu literally means "fork burn/roast" (siu being burn/roast and char being fork, both noun and verb) after the traditional cooking method for the dish: long strips of seasoned boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire.

In ancient times, wild boar and other available meats were used to make char siu. However, in modern times, the meat is typically a shoulder cut of domestic pork, seasoned with a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, hóngfǔrǔ (red fermented bean curd), lao chou (dark soy sauce, 老抽), hoisin sauce (海鮮醬), red food colouring (not a traditional ingredient but very common in today's preparations and is optional), and sherry or rice wine (optional). These seasonings turn the exterior layer of the meat dark red, similar to the "smoke ring" of American barbecues. Maltose may be used to give char siu its characteristic shiny glaze.

Char siu is typically consumed with starch, whether inside a bun (cha siu baau, 叉燒包), with noodles (cha siu mein, 叉燒麵), or with rice (cha siu fan, 叉燒飯) in fast food establishments, or served alone as a centerpiece or main dish in traditional family dining establishments. If it is purchased outside of a restaurant, it is usually taken home and used as one ingredient in various complex entrees consumed at family meals.

Hong Kong cuisine

In Hong Kong, char siu is usually purchased from a siu mei establishment, which specializes in meat dishes—char siu pork, soy sauce chicken, white cut chicken, roasted goose, roasted pork, etc. These shops usually display the merchandise by hanging them in the window. As a result, char siu is often consumed alongside one of these other meat dishes when eaten as an independent lunch item on a per-person basis in a "rice box" meal. More commonly it is purchased whole or sliced and wrapped and taken home to be used in family meals either by itself or cooked into one of many vegetable or meat dishes which use char siu pork as an ingredient.

Southeast Asian cuisine

Char siu is often served in a noodle soup as here in Chiang Mai, Thailand

In Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand, char siew rice is found in many Chinese shāolà (烧腊) stalls along with roast duck and roast pork. It is served with slices of char siu, cucumbers, white rice and drenched in sweet gravy or drizzled with dark soy sauce. Char siu rice also popular food within Chinese community in Medan, Indonesia, it is more called as cha sio. Char siew rice can also be found in Hainanese chicken rice stalls, where customers have a choice of having their char siew rice served with plain white rice or chicken-flavoured rice, and the same choice of garlic chilli and soy sauces. Char siew is called mu daeng (Thai: หมูแดง, pronounced , "red pork") in Thailand.

In the Philippines, it is known as Chinese Asado and usually eaten with cold cuts or served stuffed in siopao.

Vegetarian char siu also exists. It can be found in vegetarian restaurants and stalls in South East Asian Chinese communities.

Japanese cuisine

Chāshū ramen

Japanese culture has adapted 叉燒 as chāshū. Unlike its Chinese variant, it is prepared by rolling the meat into a log and then braising it at a low temperature. The Japanese adaptation is typically seasoned with honey and soy sauce, without the red food colouring, sugar, or five-spice powder. It is a typical ingredient in rāmen.

Pacific Rim cuisine

As a means of exceptional flavor and preparation, char siu applications extend far beyond pork. In Hawaii, various meats are cooked char siu style. The term char siu refers to meats which have been marinated in char siu seasoning prepared either from scratch or from store-bought char siu seasoning packages, then roasted in an oven or over a fire. Ingredients in marinades for char siu are similar to those found in China (honey, five-spice, wine, soy, hoisin, etc.), except that red food coloring is often used in place of the red bean curd for convenience. Char siu is used to marinate and prepare a variety of meats which can either be cooked in a conventional or convection oven (often not requiring the use of a fork or cha(zi) as traditional Chinese ovens do), on a standard barbecue, or even in an underground Hawaiian imu. In Hawaii, char siu chicken is as common as char siu pork, and various wild birds, mountain goat, and wild boar are also often cooked char siu style, as are many sausages and skewers.

As char siu grows in popularity, innovative chefs from around the world, especially chefs from around the Pacific Rim, from Australia to California, are using various meats prepared char siu style in their cuisines and culinary creations.

Char siu
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 叉燒
Simplified Chinese 叉烧
Cantonese Jyutping caa1 siu1
Hanyu Pinyin chāshāo
Literal meaning fork roasted
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese xá xíu
Thai name
Thai หมูแดง
RTGS mu daeng
Japanese name
Kanji 叉焼
Kana チャーシュー
Indonesian name
Indonesian babi panggang merah

See also


  1. ^ "Siu Mei Kung Fu".  
  2. ^ "Chinese BBQ pork (char siu) 蜜汁叉燒". Graceful Cuisine. 7 January 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.