I want to make char siu (叉烧), but I don’t want to make red char siu. I don’t quite know how to make the red look nice, and I sort of cringe when I see red char siew, so I decided to make some black char siu.

Char (叉) means to fork the meat and Siu (烧) means to BBQ or burn it. This wonderful invention was done in Canton or (广洲) and probably made famous by the Hongkongers. I love everything char siu: char siu pao, char siu sou, char siu rice, char siu noodles, char siu buns, char siu alone! Black char siu? To die for!

This is my version from trial and error. It is not really ‘shao’ (烧) or burnt from the start to end. I actually sous vide it first at 65C and then brush a layer of thick caramelized sauce over and then char it in a very hot oven for 7 minutes before serving. It is really good and that charred taste covering moist soft meat is super super super!

Black Char Siu


  • 500 g Pork Filet
  • 1 Tbsp Soya Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Black Soya Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Wine or Sherry
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Maltose or Honey


  • Season the pork with everything except honey for at least four hours in a ziploc bag.
  • Cook the pork with the bag sealed in a sous vide or steam oven set at 65C. (If you don't have a sous vide, just stick the whole bag into a pot of water at the lowest heat possible and don't let it boil!) Don't worry, you won't eat uncooked meat, we will have to still blast it at high heat later.
  • Cook this for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven at 250C.
  • Take the pork out from the ziploc bag and place it on a baking sheet.
  • Pour the juice from the ziploc bag into a pan.
  • Mix the maltose with the juice and boil it down to a thick liquid, which has the consistency of thick glue.
  • Brush this thick glue on the pork.
  • Cook the pork in the oven uncovered on a top shelf for 7 minutes, flip over, another 3 minutes . Watch carefully and do not let it burn. Once you get the desire color, remove and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before you slice and serve.

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