Let’s Cook: Cantonese-style “Char Siu” BBQ Pork!

Char Siu is a popular Cantonese dish that you can find all over Hong Kong.  Or, if you’re like me and in North America, you can get this at your local China town or Asian grocer.  “Char Siu” directly translates to “Fork Roast”.  Traditionally made with pork, this time-honoured family favourite is cooked and basted over an open fire.

Making Cantonese food might seem very intimidating at first but the basic principle of Cantonese cooking is sticking to the basics.  Making your own Char Siu is easy. Pinky-swear.  And note one thing- Char Siu is best prepared the day before eating it.  But don’t let that stop you if you’re cut short for time.  Onward!


  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoon of good quality honey (I use raw honey, myself)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup of light soy sauce (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 large Ziploc bag

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon water


Step 1:  Put pork tenderloin into Ziploc bag

Step 2:  Put all ingredients into Ziploc bag and marinate for at least 4 hours (overnight is better)

Step 3:  Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit

Step 4:  Line baking sheet with tin foil (for easy cleanup).  Then place a rack on top of the baking sheet. This will allow the excess marinade to drip down so all the sides of the pork will be cooked evenly.

Step 5:  Remove the marinated pork from the Ziploc bag, and place it on top of the rack inside of the oven.  Bake for 10 minutes (do not discard the extra marinate in the zip lock bag!  It’s used in the next step)

Step 6:  After 10 minutes of cooking, take the extra marinade and baste the top of the pork and flip the pork loin over.  Just brush it Bob Ross-style.  Baste the other side.  Place it back into the oven to cook for an additional 10 minutes.  It should look a ‘lil something like this:

Step 7:  To make the glaze, in a small bowl, mix together the honey and water. Take the pork out of the oven and brush the glaze on the top of the pork. Set the oven to the broil setting.  Pork back into the oven for 1 more minute.  Leave the oven door open ajar since it can get smokey, after the glaze is added.

Step 8: Check the internal temperature, should be at 160°F.  You may need a little more or less cooking time depending on your pork tenderloin’s size, but you should be done at this point.  Remove the pork and let it rest on a cutting board for a few minutes. Slice and enjoy!

This pork is great with some rice and stir-fried veggies.  Personally, I love to dice it up and add it to a heaping plate of fried rice. You can also freeze the cooked pork and just heat it up for a quick weekday dinner.

Now wasn’t that super simple?  Give it a try.  I guarantee that you and your family will love this recipe!  ‘Til next time, food nerds.