When individual pieces are served, it is known as "roasted pork" or "roasted meat" (Chinese: 燒肉, Mandarin: shāoròu, Cantonese: siu1 juk6). When the entire pig is served, the dish is known as "roasted pig" (Chinese: 燒豬, roasted pig, Mandarin shāozhū, Cantonese: siu1 zyu1). In most cases it is referred to by the former term, since it is always consumed in small quantities.
The style of cooking is nearly identical between the different parts of mainland China and Hong Kong. Sometimes the entire pig is purchased for the sake of special family affairs, business openings, or as a ritualistic spiritual offering. For example, in the entertainment industry in Hong Kong, one tradition is to offer one or several whole roast pigs to the Jade Emperor to celebrate a film's opening with a roast pig; the pig is sacrificed to ward off evils in return to pray for the film's success. One garnish used to make the dish look more appealing is topping the roast pig with circular slices of pineapple and glacé cherries for eyes. The roast pig is often presented in red wrapping paper and a red box for luck.