Vietnamese/Chinese Barbeque Pork (Xa Xiu/Char Siu)

Vietnamese/Chinese Barbeque Pork (Xa Xiu in Vietnamese, Char Siu in Chinese) has always been one of my absolute favorite comfort dishes to eat, ever since I was a little kid. Seeing the iconic red, eye-popping color of the pork would literally make my heart beat in pure excitement. It was always my go-to protein to get with fried rice or chow mien at traditional Chinese take-out spots.

Xa Xiu/Char Siu is a very unique dish packed with tons of unbelievable flavor. While red food coloring is added to give the pork it’s famous red color, the secret is the five-spice powder, which gives it the distinctive umami flavors and fragrances that is so inherently special to this dish (in this recipe, we will take advantage of a seasoning mix that contains the essential spices, making this a breeze!). Meanwhile, a brushed layer of honey gives this pork dish an irresistible sweet note. This harmonious marriage of honey and five-spice comes together so well to further amplify the amazing natural flavor that come from the pork meat itself. It is no wonder that this dish is such a popular and important cornerstone of Vietnamese and Cantonese cuisine.

Althouhg Xa Xiu/Char Siu can very well be eaten on it’s own, it serves as an amazing addition to other dishes such as fried rice, noodle soups, and in dumplings/baos. For those who have never tried this beautiful dish, I implore you to give this one a shot!

Ingredients
-4 lbs of pork butt, pork shoulder, or pork belly
-2 packs of “NOH Chinese Barbeque Char Siu Seasoning Mix”
-1 cup water
-1 Tbsp garlic powder
-Honey, to brush on

Useful Tools
-Baking or roasting tray
-Aluminum foil or parchment paper
-Bakeable cooling rack
-Brush

Procedure
1) Dissolve the two packs of Char Siu mix and garlic powder into 1 cup of water to make the marinade.
2) Cut the pork meat along the grain to approx 2 inch strips.
3) Place the pork strips into the char siu marinade and allow to marinate refrigerated for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
4) On day of cooking, pre-heat oven to 400°F roasting.
5) Place an oven safe cooling rack on top of a parchment paper or foil-lined baking tray.
6) Remove the pork strips from marinade and place on top of the cooling rack.
7) Roast the pork strips for 50 minutes, flipping the meat halfway in between, and brushing both sides with honey.
8) Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
9) Slice thinly against the grain and serve with rice, bread, soups, or on its own!

Observations/Tips
-Using pork belly will give you a much more tender and flavorful bite! If you don’t like the extra fat content, you can opt for the more leaner pork butt or shoulder
-The seasoning mix is a mixture of spices, including powdered red food coloring, five-spice powder, sugar, and soy sauce powder. This makes it extremely easy and convenient to make and tastes amazing! You can get some at your local Asian market or here at the NOH website!

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