Char siu

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Char siu
Charsiu.jpg
Charsiu Pork (Chinese-flavored Barbecued Pork)
Alternative name(s) chasu, cha siu, chashao, and char siew, barbecued meat, xa xiu
Place of origin China
Region or state Chinese-speaking areas, Japan, Southeast Asia
Main ingredient(s) Pork, mixture of honey, five-spice powder, fermented tofu (red), dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sherry or rice wine

Char siu (Chinese: 叉燒 caa1 siu1, literally "fork-roast"; also Romanised chasu, cha siu, cha shao, char siew) is a popular way to flavor and prepare barbecued pork in Cantonese cuisine.[1] It is classified as a type of siu mei (燒味), Cantonese roasted meat.

Meat cuts[edit]

Pork cut used for char siu can vary, but it uses a few main cuts:[2]

Chinese cuisine[edit]

"Char siu" literally means "fork burn/roast" (siu being burn/roast and char being fork (both noun and verb) ) 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[citation needed].

A plate of char siu rice.

In ancient times, wild boar and other available meats were used to make char siu. However, in modern times, the meat is typically a shoulder cut of domestic pork, seasoned with a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, hóngfǔrǔ (red fermented bean curd), lao chou (dark soy sauce, 老抽), hoisin sauce (海鮮醬), red food colouring (not a traditional ingredient but very common in today's preparations and is optional) and sherry or rice wine (optional). These seasonings turn the exterior layer of the meat dark red, similar to the "smoke ring" of American barbecues. Maltose 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, 叉燒包), with noodles (cha siu mein, 叉燒麵), or with rice (cha siu fan, 叉燒飯) 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 cuisine[edit]

In Hong Kong, char siu is usually purchased from a siu mei establishment, which specializes in meat dishes—char siu pork, soy sauce chicken, white cut chicken, 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[edit]

Char siu is often served in a noodle soup as here in Chiang Mai, Thailand

In Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, 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. Char siew rice can also be found in Hainanese chicken rice 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 (Thai: หมูแดง; "red pork") in Thailand.

In the Philippines, it is know by the name Chinese Asado and usually eaten with cold cuts or served stuffed in siopao.

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

Japanese cuisine[edit]

Chāshū Ramen

Japanese culture has adapted char siu and translated it as Chāshū. Unlike Chinese char siu, it is prepared by rolling the meat into a log and then braising it at a low temperature. The Japanese adaptation is typically seasoned with honey and soy sauce like its Chinese counterpart, but without the red food colouring, sugar and five-spice powder. It is a typical ingredient in rāmen.

Pacific Rim cuisine[edit]

As a means of exceptional flavor and preparation, char siu's applications extend far beyond pork. In Hawaii, a variety of meats are cooked char siu style. The term "char siu" refers to meats which have been marinated in charsiu seasoning prepared either from scratch or from store-bought char siu 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. Char siu 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. In Hawaii, Char siu chicken is as common as char siu pork, and a variety of wild birds, mountain goat, and wild boar are also often cooked char siu style, as are many sausages and skewers.

As char siu 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 "char siu" style in their cuisines and culinary creations.

Char siu
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 叉烧
Traditional Chinese 叉燒
Cantonese Jyutping caa1 siu1
Hanyu Pinyin chāshāo
Literal meaning fork roasted
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese xá xíu
Thai name
Thai หมูแดง
RTGS mu daeng
Japanese name
Kanji 叉焼
Kana チャーシュー
Indonesian name
Indonesian babi panggang merah

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ TVB. "TVB." 廣東菜最具多元烹調方法. Retrieved on 2008-11-19.
  2. ^ "Chinese BBQ pork (char siu) 蜜汁叉燒". Graceful Cuisine. 7 January 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2013.