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Anyone who loves char siu (aka char siew or Chinese BBQ pork) would know that the best char siu rice or char siew noodles we have in hawker centres serves the BBQ pork meat that’s oily and fatty. This homemade cha siu aka chinese BBQ pork is made out of slightly fatty meat (for health reasons obviously), although I love fatty char siew as the fats in the meat would have absorbed all the marinade sauce and it literally melts in the mouth.

pork belly

The most ideal meat to make this homemade cha siu is pork belly, or 五花肉 in Chinese. Pork belly is a fatty piece of meat that is also used in braised meat dishes and roasted pork crackling.

I marinated my Chinese BBQ pork for about 8 hours overnight so I can start cooking the next day. And I always set aside some marinade sauce after marinating the meat, to baste the meat during the bake. The restaurants and food stalls normally have large commercial grills or grilling rooms for grilling the char siew in extreme high heat, for me, cooking it in the oven does the job. You’ll notice stall-made char siu are sometimes red in colour, that’s because some vendors uses red food colouring to give it a vibrant delicious looking colour.

homemade char siew marinade sauce

The marinade sauce is made of:

  • 3 tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 2.5 tbsp Manuka Honey
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Chinese wine (Huatiao)
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper

Mix them well into a consistent mixture.

homemade char siew

The pork belly I used is a long strip of meat thus the total cooking time is about 32 min, I would think that if you use a bigger and wider slab of meat, then you’ll need to cook it longer in the oven. During the bake, the meat dries up a little absorbing the marinade, thus basting it at least once during the bake will help keep the meat moist. I’ve also had to flip the meat 2-3 times to make sure it’s not burnt on a particular side.

This homemade char siew is best served with white fragrant rice or thin noodles. You might see it served as one of the main dishes on any Chinese dining table, it normally goes well with any Chinese styled dishes. Some people dip it in chilli sauce or dark soy sauce but given its heavy marinade flavour, eating it on its own is just as satisfying. Do also check out this egg noodles with homemade char siew recipe I made the following day.

homemade char siew

Homemade Char Siu aka Char Siew aka Chinese BBQ Pork

This super easy recipe of Homemade Char Siu is best served with rice or thin noodles. Marinade overnight and pop into the oven and wala! The Char Siew is ready to serve.
4.41 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 persons
Calories 450 kcal


  • 1 kg pork belly

Marinade sauce

  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2.5 tbsp manuka honey
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Chinese wine Huatiao wine
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • ½ tsp white pepper


  • Prep the marinade sauce and mix well into a consistent sauce. Set aside a smaller portion of the sauce for basting the meat during cooking.
    homemade char siew marinade sauce
  • Marinate the meat with the marinade sauce evenly, cover up and place in fridge chiller for at least 8 hours.
    homemade char siew marinade
  • Take marinated meat out from fridge one hour before cooking.
  • Pre-heat oven to 200 degree celsius.
  • Place meat spaced out on a baking rack. I'd cover the baking tray with aluminium foil and fill it with about 1 cup of water as the marinade sauce with sip through and burn because of the sugar content.
    homemade char siew ready to bake
  • Bake for 20 mins in the oven. Flip the meat halfway through the bake.
    homemade char siew in oven
  • Baste the meat with the remaining portion of the marinade sauce evenly.
    homemade char siew baked
  • Bake for 10-12 min more. Once done, take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
    homemade char siew baked
  • Ready to serve!
    homemade char siew



Calories: 450kcal
Keyword bbq pork, char siew, chinese, meat dish
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