Social Media

Sticky Chinese Char Shiu Recipe

Sticky Chinese Char Siu is a delicious and flavorful dish, originating from Cantonese cuisine. Its unique taste comes from the blend of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, and other seasonings. The pork belly is marinated in this rich sauce and then grilled to perfection, resulting in a sticky, sweet, and smoky dish that is sure to impress your guests.

Sticky Chinese Char Shiu Recipe

Photos of Sticky Chinese Char Shiu Recipe

The ingredients for this recipe are quite common in Chinese cuisine but may not be a regular in everyone's pantry. Hoisin sauce is a thick, fragrant sauce made from sweet potato, soybeans, and spices, often used in Chinese dishes for marinades or as a glaze. Chinese Shaoxing wine is a type of rice wine used for cooking, known for its sherry-like flavor. Chinese five-spice powder is a blend of star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan (Chinese) peppercorns, and fennel seeds. These ingredients are often available in Asian supermarkets or online stores.

Ingredients for Sticky Chinese Char Siu

Hoisin sauce: This is a key ingredient in Chinese cooking. It gives the dish its signature sweet and salty taste.

Soy Sauce: Adds a rich, umami flavor.

Chinese shaoxing wine: This wine adds a subtle sweetness and depth to the dish.

Honey: Gives the char siu its iconic sticky coating.

Brown sugar: Adds sweetness and aids in caramelization.

Garlic: Gives the dish its strong, spicy flavor.

Red food colouring: This is optional, but it gives the dish its distinctive red color.

Chinese five spice powder: This is a blend of five spices, giving the dish a complex and aromatic flavor.

Pork belly: This is the main ingredient of the dish, which becomes tender and flavorful after cooking.

Shallot: Used for additional flavor.

One reader, Gil Fisk says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This sticky Chinese char siu recipe is a game-changer! The marinade creates an explosion of flavors, and the pork belly turns out tender and succulent. The extra glaze takes it to the next level. It's a must-try for anyone who loves authentic Chinese cuisine. I highly recommend it!

Gil Fisk

Techniques Required for Making Sticky Chinese Char Siu

Marinating the pork: The pork should be marinated in a mixture of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, wine, honey, sugar, garlic, food coloring, and Chinese five spice powder for at least 1 to 3 hours, or preferably overnight for the best results.

Grilling or broiling the pork: After marinating, the pork should be grilled or broiled for 30 minutes, rotating and basting with the reserved marinade a few times during the cooking process.

Making the additional glaze (optional): Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, wine, honey, sugar, garlic, Chinese five spice powder, and food coloring in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 to 8 minutes until the sauce thickens.

How To Make Sticky Chinese Char Siu

This simple char siu recipe is a popular way of preparing and making BBQ in Cantonese cuisine. It has a distinct strong savory flavor made the Asian way.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes



  • cup hoisin sauce
  • cupsoy sauce
  • 2tbspChinese Shaoxing winerice vinegar or a dry sherry can
  • 2tbsphoney
  • 2tbspbrown sugar
  • 1tbspgarlicminced
  • ¾tspred food colouringoptional for that beautiful red colour
  • ½: 5px”>6pork bellyor spare ribs
  • 1shallotto garnish

For Additional Glazed (Optional)

  • ¼cuphoisin sauce
  • ¼cupsoy sauce
  • 1tbspChinese wineShaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1tbsphoney
  • 2tbspbrown sugar
  • 1tbspgarlicminced
  • ¼: 5px”>¼tspred food colouring


  1. Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, wine, honey, sugar, garlic, colouring (if using) and spice powder in a shallow bowl. Whisk well to combine.

  2. Pour half of the sauce into a jug and reserve for later. Add the pork into the bowl with the remaining sauce. Rotate to cover completely and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours, or cover and refrigerate overnight for best results.

  3. After marinading, preheat oven to grill or broil settings on medium heat or 350 degrees F. Drain pork and discard the marinade.

  4. Line a baking pan with baking/parchment paper or aluminium foil. Place pork onto pan and grill/broil for 30 minutes on one side, basting two or three times with the reserved marinade. Rotate with tongs and baste again with the marinade twice again while grilling or broiling.

  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

  6. If you like additional glaze, combine all of the (extra) glaze ingredients into a small saucepan.

  7. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

  8. Cut pork into thick slices to serve. Serve over steamed rice and/or vegetables with the extra glaze.


  • Calories: 1710.67kcal
  • Fat: 35.34g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.48g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 11.97g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 11.70g
  • Carbohydrates: 270.94g
  • Fiber: 19.63g
  • Sugar: 156.96g
  • Protein: 82.26g
  • Cholesterol: 89.07mg
  • Sodium: 36349.06mg
  • Calcium: 393.62mg
  • Potassium: 3349.04mg
  • Iron: 14.04mg
  • Vitamin A: 3.37µg
  • Vitamin C: 5.96mg

Essential Technique Tip for Achieving Perfect Char Siu

When marinating the pork, it's important to ensure that the meat is fully submerged in the marinade for optimal flavor absorption. If the marinade doesn't fully cover the meat, you can turn the pork occasionally to ensure all sides get evenly marinated. Additionally, marinating the pork overnight will allow the flavors to penetrate more deeply into the meat, resulting in a more flavorful dish. However, if you're short on time, even a few hours of marinating can make a significant difference.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Char Siu

Prepare the marinade: Combine all the marinade ingredients in a resealable plastic bag the night before and marinate the pork overnight for maximum flavor infusion.

Use a pressure cooker: Cook the pork belly in a pressure cooker for a quicker cooking time, ensuring the meat is tender and flavorful in less time.

Broil instead of grill: Instead of grilling, broil the pork in the oven for a faster cooking process while still achieving that sticky char siu glaze.

Slice ahead of time: Slice the pork ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for quick and easy meal prep throughout the week.

Double the recipe: Make a larger batch and freeze the extra portions for future quick and convenient meals.

Substitute Ingredients For Sticky Chinese Char Shiu Recipe

  • hoisin sauce - Substitute with plum sauce: Plum sauce has a similar sweet and tangy flavor that can be used as a substitute for hoisin sauce.

  • soy sauce - Substitute with tamari: Tamari is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce with a rich and savory flavor.

  • chinese shaoxing wine - Substitute with dry sherry: Dry sherry can be used as a substitute for Chinese Shaoxing wine to add depth of flavor to the dish.

  • honey - Substitute with maple syrup: Maple syrup can provide a similar sweetness and depth of flavor as honey in the recipe.

  • brown sugar - Substitute with coconut sugar: Coconut sugar can be used as a healthier alternative to brown sugar with a similar caramel-like flavor.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, providing a convenient option with a milder flavor.

  • red food colouring - Substitute with beet juice: Beet juice can be used as a natural alternative to red food coloring, providing a vibrant color to the dish.

  • chinese five spice powder - Substitute with ground cinnamon, cloves, and star anise: A combination of ground cinnamon, cloves, and star anise can replicate the flavors of Chinese five spice powder.

  • pork belly - Substitute with boneless pork shoulder: Boneless pork shoulder can be used as a substitute for pork belly, providing a similar texture and flavor when cooked.

  • shallot - Substitute with onion: Chopped onion can be used as a substitute for shallots, providing a similar flavor profile to the dish.

Best Way to Present Sticky Chinese Char Siu

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the Sticky Chinese Char Siu, focus on creating an elegant and visually appealing presentation. Use clean lines and minimalistic plating to showcase the succulent pork belly.

  2. Incorporate vibrant colors: Introduce pops of color to the plate with vibrant garnishes such as thinly sliced scallions, bright red chili slices, or a sprinkle of sesame seeds to add visual interest and contrast to the dish.

  3. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate to allow the Sticky Chinese Char Siu to take center stage. This will create a sense of balance and sophistication in the presentation.

  4. Employ symmetry: Arrange the pork belly slices and accompanying garnishes in a symmetrical manner to create a visually harmonious and aesthetically pleasing presentation that reflects precision and attention to detail.

  5. Incorporate texture: Introduce elements of texture to the plate, such as a delicate drizzle of the extra glaze or a sprinkle of crispy fried shallots, to add depth and complexity to the overall presentation.

Essential Tools for Making Char Siu at Home

  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance that can be used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing ingredients. It's great for making marinades and sauces for the char siu recipe.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is essential for combining the marinade ingredients and marinating the pork belly.
  • Shallow bowl: A shallow bowl is used for marinating the pork belly in the char siu sauce.
  • Jug: A jug is needed to reserve half of the marinade for basting the pork belly later.
  • Baking pan: A baking pan is used to cook the pork belly in the oven.
  • Baking/parchment paper or aluminium foil: These are used to line the baking pan to prevent the pork belly from sticking.
  • Small saucepan: A small saucepan is used to make the additional glaze for the char siu.

How to Store and Freeze Homemade Char Siu

  • Allow the char siu to cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • For short-term storage, place the cooled char siu in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
  • To freeze the char siu:
    • Slice the cooled char siu into desired portions.
    • Wrap each portion tightly with plastic wrap, ensuring no air pockets remain.
    • Place the wrapped portions into a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing.
    • Label the container or bag with the date and contents for easy identification.
    • Freeze the char siu for up to 2-3 months for optimal quality and flavor.
  • To reheat frozen char siu:
    • Remove the desired portion from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Place the thawed char siu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
    • Brush the char siu with a little bit of the reserved marinade or a mixture of hoisin sauce and soy sauce to add moisture and flavor.
    • Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil to prevent the char siu from drying out.
    • Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the char siu is heated through and the glaze is caramelized.
    • Alternatively, you can reheat the char siu in the microwave, but be careful not to overheat it, as it may become tough or dry.

How to Reheat Leftover Char Siu

  • To reheat leftover sticky chinese char siu, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the char siu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cover the meat loosely with foil to prevent it from drying out. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. This method helps to preserve the texture and moisture of the pork.

  • Another option is to use a steamer. Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Place the char siu in a heatproof dish and set it inside the steamer basket. Cover the steamer and let the pork steam for about 5-7 minutes, or until heated through. This method is particularly effective for maintaining the tenderness of the meat.

  • If you're short on time, you can also use a microwave to reheat your char siu. Place the pork on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. This will help to keep the meat moist. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Be careful not to overheat the pork, as it can quickly become tough and dry in the microwave.

  • For a quick and easy meal, you can also slice the leftover char siu and stir-fry it with some vegetables and rice or noodles. The pork will heat through as you stir-fry, and the added ingredients will create a delicious and satisfying dish.

  • If you have a lot of leftover char siu, consider freezing it for later use. Wrap the pork tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in a freezer-safe container. When you're ready to eat it, thaw the char siu in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it using one of the methods mentioned above.

Random Fact About Char Siu

Char siu is a popular Chinese dish that is traditionally made with pork, but it can also be made with other meats such as chicken or beef.

Is Making Char Siu at Home Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this sticky Chinese char siu recipe is quite high. The ingredients, such as pork belly, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce, are relatively affordable and can be found in most grocery stores. The dish is flavorful and satisfying, making it a great option for a family meal. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this recipe an 8 for its balance of cost and taste. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $20-$25, making it a budget-friendly choice for a delicious homemade meal.

Is Char Siu Healthy or Unhealthy?

The sticky Chinese char siu recipe, while delicious, is not particularly healthy due to several factors:

  • High sugar content: The recipe includes honey, brown sugar, and hoisin sauce, which are all high in sugar. Excessive sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and other health issues.
  • High sodium content: Soy sauce is a significant source of sodium, and the recipe calls for a considerable amount. High sodium intake can contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
  • Red food coloring: The use of artificial food coloring is controversial, as some studies suggest they may have negative health effects.
  • Pork belly: This cut of meat is high in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of sugar by cutting back on the honey, brown sugar, and hoisin sauce. You can also opt for low-sugar alternatives or natural sweeteners like stevia.
  • Use low-sodium soy sauce to decrease the overall sodium content of the dish.
  • Omit the red food coloring altogether, as it does not contribute to the flavor of the dish.
  • Choose a leaner cut of pork, such as pork loin or tenderloin, to reduce the amount of saturated fat.
  • Serve the char siu with a generous portion of steamed vegetables and brown rice to increase the fiber content and overall nutrient density of the meal.
  • Experiment with adding more aromatic spices, such as ginger and star anise, to enhance the flavor without relying on excessive sugar or salt.

Editor's Thoughts on This Delicious Chinese BBQ Pork Recipe

The recipe for sticky Chinese char siu looks delicious and authentic. The combination of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and Chinese wine creates a rich and flavorful marinade for the pork belly. The addition of honey and brown sugar adds a delightful sweetness, while the Chinese five spice powder and garlic provide depth of flavor. The grilling and basting process will result in a beautifully caramelized and sticky exterior, while the optional additional glaze adds an extra layer of flavor. This recipe is sure to impress with its balance of sweet, savory, and aromatic elements.

Enhance Your Sticky Chinese Char Shiu Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Steamed Broccoli: Create a zesty garlic and lemon steamed broccoli to complement the sticky Chinese char siu.
Fried Rice: Whip up a flavorful and colorful vegetable fried rice to serve alongside the sticky Chinese char siu.
Mango Salsa: Prepare a refreshing and tangy mango salsa to add a tropical twist to the sticky Chinese char siu.
Coconut Rice: Cook up a creamy and aromatic coconut rice to pair with the sticky Chinese char siu.

Alternative Chinese BBQ Pork Recipes to Try

Crispy Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken: This recipe combines the zesty flavor of lemon with the savory taste of garlic to create a delicious and crispy roasted chicken dish that is perfect for any occasion.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto: Indulge in the rich and creamy flavors of this classic Italian dish. The earthy taste of mushrooms combined with the creamy texture of risotto makes for a comforting and satisfying meal.
Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing: Enjoy a refreshing and healthy fruit salad that is bursting with the natural sweetness of fresh fruits. The tangy honey-lime dressing adds a delightful twist to this simple yet delicious dish.
Hearty Beef Stew with Red Wine: Warm up with a hearty and comforting beef stew that is slow-cooked to perfection. The addition of red wine adds depth and richness to the flavor, making it a satisfying meal for any occasion.

Appetizers and Desserts to Serve with Sticky Chinese Char Siu

Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Creamy and indulgent, this dip is perfect for sharing with friends and family. The combination of spinach, artichokes, and cheese creates a rich and flavorful appetizer that will leave everyone wanting more.
Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are a delicious and elegant appetizer option. Filled with a mixture of breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs, they are sure to impress your guests at any gathering.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder for an elegant and decadent dessert experience.
Apple Pie: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a classic apple pie, with a flaky golden crust and a hint of cinnamon. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Why trust this Sticky Chinese Char Shiu Recipe:

This recipe for sticky Chinese char siu is a tried and tested classic, featuring authentic hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and Chinese five spice powder. The marinade infuses the pork belly with rich flavors, while the optional glaze adds an extra layer of sweetness and depth. With a perfect balance of savory and sweet, this recipe promises to deliver tender, succulent pork that's bursting with traditional Chinese flavors. Trust in the combination of these high-quality ingredients to create an unforgettable culinary experience.

Share your thoughts on the Sticky Chinese Char Shiu Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know how it turned out for you!
Can I substitute pork belly with another cut of meat?
Yes, you can substitute pork belly with pork shoulder or pork tenderloin. Keep in mind that different cuts of meat may require adjustments in cooking time and temperature.
Can I skip the red food coloring in the marinade?
Absolutely! The red food coloring is mainly for aesthetic purposes, so feel free to omit it if you prefer not to use artificial coloring.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Certainly! You can marinate the pork ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator overnight for even better flavor. You can also grill the pork in advance and reheat it before serving.
Can I use the extra glaze as a dipping sauce?
Definitely! The extra glaze can be used as a dipping sauce for the char siu or as a drizzle over the rice and vegetables for added flavor.
Can I use this char siu in other dishes?
Absolutely! This char siu can be used in fried rice, noodle dishes, or even as a filling for steamed buns. Its sweet and savory flavor makes it a versatile ingredient in various recipes.

Was this page helpful?

Chat Bubble Icon Share your own special recipe
Submit Your Own Recipe

Have your own special recipe to share? Submit Your Recipe Today!