Chinese Barbecued Pork


Have you ever wondered how the Chinese in Chinese restaurants get the red on the pork slices they serve?  I have.  Apparently char siu barbecued pork originated in Canton and contained red dye #40.  The recipe was adopted and adapted by the Japanese who eliminated the dye and seasoned the sauce with honey and soy sauce.  That is the char siu I’m familiar with and had in no way connected it with the red in Chinese restaurant pork slices.


Well!  I found 2 lost pork tenderloins at the bottom of the freezer and decided to make char siu barbecue, confident that I had a lifetime supply of Lee Kum Kee char siu sauce in the pantry.  Wrong; I had Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce and black bean sauce.  Shite 😀  I have made my own char siu sauce and it’s not too hard but I lacked enthusiasm and decided to trawl the the region’s grocers; Weiss Honesdale, Super Duper Honesdale, IGA Hawley, Wegmans Scranton, Wegmans Wilkes Barre, Laos Asian Market Scranton  and finally, desperately, a discount resale store in Scranton(I forget the name) where I was forced to substitute.  Yes, I could have made the sauce in a 10th of the time but it was a beautiful day and I like to go for rides 🙂


At the discount store I found a “Chinese style” sauce of festive, violent red.  It resembled thick Robitussin cough syrup.


It’s effect on the meat when marinated overnight was, if not surprising, spectacular! Really, I was speechless and a little panicky 😀


After I  “S” hooked the pieces in the oven and sliced them, I got a big surprise!

Me:  Hey Honey look, it’s those Chinese slices from the restaurant!

Honey:  Yeah, should I taste them for you?


At the discount resale store, thinking of my recipe for coleslaw with peanut dressing, I also bought a bottle of peanut sauce.


I mixed this “organic” peanut sauce in with a bag of  “organic” coleslaw mix from Wegmans.  It was okay.


I think the moral of this story, which I know but ignored, is that if you want more than okay results, homemade is better, but if you do use jarred items, choose good quality, known brands.


Like this rich, smooth Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise that I used on the sandwiches.


I have now been in the U.S. for about 1 year.  I know those of you who know my love for France and particularly for my home in Sens, wonder if I have been held here against my will  🙂  In a way, that was true.  My medical issues have finally been sorted and I am free to travel.  I plan to get back to France in Spring/early Summer.  Hell Yes!


“S” Hooked Char Siu Pork

Coleslaw with Peanut Dressing




About cookinginsens

An American living in Burgundy, France
This entry was posted in Asian, Chinese, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Recipes, Sandwich, side dish and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Chinese Barbecued Pork

  1. Mad Dog says:

    What a mission! I love the look of the red pork and those little pigs in the background 🙂

  2. Jon says:

    Wow! Looks delicious. Like the “S” hook approach

  3. chefkreso says:

    I’ve wondered how they get the red on the pork slices they serve, thanks so much for the recipe!

  4. Michelle says:

    Hell Yes!

  5. It’ll be great to have you back in France!! 🙂

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