Cha shao pork, also commonly called char siu, cha siu, and cha sio, is a traditional Chinese barbeque pork dish. It is usually identifiable by the dark red color glazed on the outside of the meat. Cha shao pork is very succulent and flavorful and can be seen hanging in the windows of Chinese delicatessens. The tasty meat is often used as a filling in steamed buns and in fried rice, or served along with noodles or steamed rice, or eaten inside of a soft bun (bao).
To make cha shao pork the meat is first marinated in a mixture that contains, among other ingredients, honey, dark soy sauce, five spice powder, hoisin sauce, sherry or rice wine, and sometimes red food coloring. Traditionally the meat was skewered onto long forks and either roasted or cooked over an open fire. The ingredients in the marinade give it the characteristic shiny, sticky glaze. In China, where most homes don’t have ovens or outdoor grills, people usually buy cha shao from delis and other shops that specialize in the preparation of meats.
You can enjoy this traditional Chinese dish at Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro. We made it from scratch in our kitchens and serve it in a make-your-own slider preparation along with sliced cucumber, hoisin sauce and bao. We also make a spicy version, called Devil Cha Shao, which is unique to our restaurant.