Char siu
Overview
 
Char siu otherwise known as barbecued meat (usually pork) in China or Chinese-flavored barbecued meat outside China, is a popular way to flavor and prepare pork
Pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

 in Cantonese cuisine
Cantonese cuisine
Cantonese cuisine comes from Guangdong Province in southern China and is one of 8 superdivisions of Chinese cuisine. Its prominence outside China is due to the great numbers of early emigrants from Guangdong. Cantonese chefs are highly sought after throughout the country...

. It is classified as a type of siu mei
Siu mei
Siu mei is the generic name, in Cantonese cuisine, given to meats roasted on spits over an open fire or a huge wood burning rotisserie oven. It creates a unique, deep barbecue flavor that is usually enhanced by a flavorful sauce . Shops selling these meats are commonly found in Chinese-speaking...

, Cantonese roasted meat. It is listed at number 28 on World's 50 most delicious foods readers' poll complied by CNN Go in 2011.
Pork cut used for Char siu can vary, but it uses a few main cuts:
  • Pork loin
    Pork loin
    Pork loin is a cut of meat from a pig, created from the tissue along the top of the rib cage. It is very popular in the United States, where it is usually grilled or baked. Pork loins are also sold soaking in marinade. Pork Loin can be used to make many different foods; such as bacon...

  • Pork belly
    Pork belly
    Pork belly is a boneless cut of fatty meat derived from the belly of a pig. Pork belly is popular in Asian cuisine, and forms a part of many traditional European dishes such as the Alsatian Choucroute garnie, the Swiss Berner Platte, and the German Schlachtplatte...

     - produces juicy and fatter Char siu
  • Pork butt - produces leaner Char siu

"Char siu" literally means "fork burn/roast" (Char being fork (both noun and verb) and siu being burn/roast) 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.
The meat, typically a shoulder cut of domestic pork (although in ancient times wild boar and other available meats were also used), is seasoned with a mixture of honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, five-spice powder
Five-spice powder
Five-spice powder is a mixture of five spices endemic to Chinese cuisine, but also used in other Asian cookery as well.-Formulae:The formulae are based on the Chinese philosophy of balancing the yin and yang in food. There are many variants. The most common is bajiao , cloves, cinnamon, huajiao ...

, fermented tofu
Pickled tofu
Fermented bean curd also called sufu, fermented tofu, tofu cheese, or preserved tofu is a form of processed, preserved tofu used in East Asian cuisine as a condiment made from soybeans...

 (red), dark soy sauce
Soy sauce
Soy sauce is a condiment produced by fermenting soybeans with Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds, along with water and salt...

, hoisin sauce
Hoisin sauce
Hoisin sauce, or haixian sauce, is a Chinese dipping sauce. The word hoisin is a romanization of the Chinese word for seafood "" as pronounced in Cantonese.-Ingredients:...

, red food colouring (not a traditional ingredient but very common in today's preparations) and sherry
Sherry
Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez , Spain. In Spanish, it is called vino de Jerez....

 or rice wine
Huangjiu
Huangjiu is a type of Chinese beverage brewed directly from grains such as rice, millet, or wheat. Unlike baijiu, such liquors are not distilled, and contain less than 20% alcohol, due to the inhibition of fermentation by ethanol at that concentration...

 (optional).
Encyclopedia
Char siu otherwise known as barbecued meat (usually pork) in China or Chinese-flavored barbecued meat outside China, is a popular way to flavor and prepare pork
Pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

 in Cantonese cuisine
Cantonese cuisine
Cantonese cuisine comes from Guangdong Province in southern China and is one of 8 superdivisions of Chinese cuisine. Its prominence outside China is due to the great numbers of early emigrants from Guangdong. Cantonese chefs are highly sought after throughout the country...

. It is classified as a type of siu mei
Siu mei
Siu mei is the generic name, in Cantonese cuisine, given to meats roasted on spits over an open fire or a huge wood burning rotisserie oven. It creates a unique, deep barbecue flavor that is usually enhanced by a flavorful sauce . Shops selling these meats are commonly found in Chinese-speaking...

, Cantonese roasted meat. It is listed at number 28 on World's 50 most delicious foods readers' poll complied by CNN Go in 2011.

Meat Cut for Char Siu

Pork cut used for Char siu can vary, but it uses a few main cuts:
  • Pork loin
    Pork loin
    Pork loin is a cut of meat from a pig, created from the tissue along the top of the rib cage. It is very popular in the United States, where it is usually grilled or baked. Pork loins are also sold soaking in marinade. Pork Loin can be used to make many different foods; such as bacon...

  • Pork belly
    Pork belly
    Pork belly is a boneless cut of fatty meat derived from the belly of a pig. Pork belly is popular in Asian cuisine, and forms a part of many traditional European dishes such as the Alsatian Choucroute garnie, the Swiss Berner Platte, and the German Schlachtplatte...

     - produces juicy and fatter Char siu
  • Pork butt - produces leaner Char siu

Chinese cuisine

"Char siu" literally means "fork burn/roast" (Char being fork (both noun and verb) and siu being burn/roast) 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.
The meat, typically a shoulder cut of domestic pork (although in ancient times wild boar and other available meats were also used), is seasoned with a mixture of honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, five-spice powder
Five-spice powder
Five-spice powder is a mixture of five spices endemic to Chinese cuisine, but also used in other Asian cookery as well.-Formulae:The formulae are based on the Chinese philosophy of balancing the yin and yang in food. There are many variants. The most common is bajiao , cloves, cinnamon, huajiao ...

, fermented tofu
Pickled tofu
Fermented bean curd also called sufu, fermented tofu, tofu cheese, or preserved tofu is a form of processed, preserved tofu used in East Asian cuisine as a condiment made from soybeans...

 (red), dark soy sauce
Soy sauce
Soy sauce is a condiment produced by fermenting soybeans with Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds, along with water and salt...

, hoisin sauce
Hoisin sauce
Hoisin sauce, or haixian sauce, is a Chinese dipping sauce. The word hoisin is a romanization of the Chinese word for seafood "" as pronounced in Cantonese.-Ingredients:...

, red food colouring (not a traditional ingredient but very common in today's preparations) and sherry
Sherry
Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez , Spain. In Spanish, it is called vino de Jerez....

 or rice wine
Huangjiu
Huangjiu is a type of Chinese beverage brewed directly from grains such as rice, millet, or wheat. Unlike baijiu, such liquors are not distilled, and contain less than 20% alcohol, due to the inhibition of fermentation by ethanol at that concentration...

 (optional). These seasonings turn the exterior layer of the meat dark red, similar to the "smoke ring" of American barbecues. Maltose
Maltose
Maltose , or malt sugar, is a disaccharide formed from two units of glucose joined with an αbond, formed from a condensation reaction. The isomer "isomaltose" has two glucose molecules linked through an α bond. Maltose is the second member of an important biochemical series of glucose chains....

 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
Cha siu baau
Cha siu bao or char siu bao is a Cantonese barbecue-pork-filled bun . The buns are filled with barbecue-flavored cha siu pork. They are served as a type of dim sum during yum cha and are sometimes sold in Chinese bakeries.-Variety:...

), with noodles (cha siu mein), or with rice (cha siu fan) 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

In Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, char siu is usually purchased from a siu mei
Siu mei
Siu mei is the generic name, in Cantonese cuisine, given to meats roasted on spits over an open fire or a huge wood burning rotisserie oven. It creates a unique, deep barbecue flavor that is usually enhanced by a flavorful sauce . Shops selling these meats are commonly found in Chinese-speaking...

 establishment, which specializes in meat dishes—char siu pork, soy sauce chicken
Soy sauce chicken
Soy sauce chicken is a northern Chinese dish. It is made of chicken that is cooked with soy sauce.However, there is also a Cantonese-style soy sauce chicken that is not cooked with soy sauce but marinated after cooking.-External links:* *...

, white cut chicken
White cut chicken
White cut chicken or white sliced chicken is a variety of siu mei, or roasted meat dishes, within Cantonese cuisine. Unlike most other meats in the siu mei category, this particular dish is not roasted.-Preparation:...

, 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

In Malaysia, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, and Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, char siew rice is found in many Chinese shāolà (烧腊) stalls along with roasted duck and roasted pork. It is served with slices of char siu, cucumbers, white rice and drenched in sweet gravy or drizzled with dark soy sauce
Soy sauce
Soy sauce is a condiment produced by fermenting soybeans with Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds, along with water and salt...

. Char siew rice can also be found in Hainanese chicken rice
Hainanese chicken rice
Hainanese chicken rice is a dish of Chinese origin most commonly associated with Hainanese and Singaporean cuisine, although it is also commonly sold in neighbouring Thailand and Malaysia...

 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 in Thailand.

In the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 it is know by the name Chinese Asado
Asado
Asado is a term used both for a range of barbecue techniques and the social event of having or attending a barbecue in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and southern Brazil. In the former countries asado is also the standard word for barbecue. An asado usually consists of beef alongside various...

 and usually eaten with cold cuts or served stuffed in siopao
Siopao
Siopao is a Hokkien term for bāozi , literally meaning "steamed buns". It has also been incorporated in to Thai cuisine where it is called salapao ....

.

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

Japanese cuisine

In Japan, Chāshū, despite its literal meaning of "roasted on a fork", is prepared by rolling the meat into a log and then braising it at a low temperature. The cut used is pork belly rather than shoulder. This results in a softer, moister texture that better complements typical accompaniments such as ramen
Ramen
is a Japanese noodle dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as , , kamaboko, green onions, and occasionally corn...

 than roasting would. Chāshū is typically seasoned with honey and soy sauce like its Chinese counterpart, but without the red food colouring, sugar and five-spice powder
Five-spice powder
Five-spice powder is a mixture of five spices endemic to Chinese cuisine, but also used in other Asian cookery as well.-Formulae:The formulae are based on the Chinese philosophy of balancing the yin and yang in food. There are many variants. The most common is bajiao , cloves, cinnamon, huajiao ...

.

Pacific Rim cuisine

As a means of exceptional flavor and preparation, charsiu's applications extend far beyond pork. In Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, a variety of meats are cooked charsiu style. The term "charsiu" refers to meats which have been marinated in charsiu seasoning prepared either from scratch or from store-bought charsiu seasoning packages, then roasted in an oven or over a fire. Ingredients in marinades for charsiu 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. Charsiu 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
IMU
IMU may refer to:*Inertial measurement unit*Initial markup*Interactive Member Universal*Interactive Marketing Unit*International Mathematical Union*International Medical University*Interurban Multiple Units used by Citytrain...

. In Hawaii, Charsiu chicken is as common as charsiu pork, and a variety of wild birds, mountain goat, and wild boar are also often cooked charsiu style, as are many sausages and skewers.

As charsiu 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 "charsiu" style in their cuisines and culinary creations.

External links

  • Wiki Cookbook recipe on how to make Cha Shao
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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