Char siu pork is one of China’s most famous roast meats, eaten on its own or used as an ingredient in other dishes; its colour and flavour are always distinctive. Before cooking the meat is marinated in a mixture of honey, five-spice powder, red fermented bean curd, dark soy and hoisin sauces; with red food colouring, sherry or rice wine being an option some chefs use. Cooking methods vary from ovens where the meat is hung to large open grills. The result is a charred dark red meat outer covering the succulent meat beneath. Maltose may also be used as a coating which gives the char siu a shiny, sticky glaze. The most common cuts are loin, belly and ribs, each offering a different taste experience. Typically in Hong Kong char sui is eaten on the go, either inside a bun or with noodles or rice, and bought at fast food eateries. In more traditional restaurants, it is often served as a spectacular main course.
Tin Lung Heen at The Ritz-Carlton
If you are looking for an exceptional char siu dinner with a spectacular view of Hong Kong, there is no better place to make a reservation than at Tin Lung Heen at The Ritz-Carlton. Sitting high above the city on the 102nd floor with a dramatic backdrop of Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline, this two-Michelin star Chinese restaurant ranks high on any foodie’s list. Available during lunch and dinner, the char sui here uses barbecued Iberian pork with honey, with just the right mix of tenderness and bite. The secret lies in the preparation of the pork shoulder as well as the sweet honey and sugar glaze, which perfectly complements the thick slices of barbecued meat. The success of the restaurant rests on the shoulders of Michelin-starred Chef Paul Lau Ping Lui who has over 36 years of culinary experience in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Dubai and the UK.
With mouth-watering meats hanging by the window (our favourite kind of window-dressing) and the inviting smell of a barbecue wafting through the air, it is hard not to get drawn into this hole-in-the-wall, tiny but mighty eatery. The tender and delicious caramelised char siu is what will get you through the door, and no doubt, coming back for more. This family-run business credits the pork’s delightful flavour to the special marinade in which the meat sits for hours before being cooked. Roasting the meat whole on-site in vertical ovens is definitely what sets this spot apart from the competitors, and this is also the place where chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain sampled the char siu and proclaimed that it was a wonderland of pork.
(5 Gage Street, Central, Hong Kong)
Fook Lam Moon
Created by Chui Fook Chuen, Fook Lam Moon is one of Hong Kong’s most famous culinary addresses, so much so that, if you are lucky, you might even catch a celebrity or two dining alongside you. Located in Wan Chai, the restaurant finds itself in one of the busiest commercial areas in town. What started out as a home catering business blossomed into an internationally renowned establishment, which offers its customers an exquisite Cantonese dining experience. Committed to using only the freshest ingredients, every single dish is set to impress. Out of all the classic Cantonese dishes on the extensive menu, the char siu and steamed char siu buns are off the scale, presenting a perfect balance of fat and meat that gives Fook Lam Moon’s char siu its famed meaty succulence and lardy goodness.