Malaysian Style Sweet & Dark Barbecue Pork (Char Siu)

Dark, sweet and caramelised are the words to represent this barbecue pork (we called it “Char Siu” in Cantonese). The direct translation of Char Siu is “skewer and barbecue”. It is being said that Char Siu originated from Guangdong, China.

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Sweet & Dark Barbecue Pork (Char Siu)

This pork that I made is the Malaysian version of Char Siu. It is different from the Cantonese or Hong Kong Char Siu which the color is light red plus it’s on the salty side rather than sweet. However, the Malaysia’s version is dark and on the sweeter side.

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Sweet & Dark Barbecue Pork (Char Siu)

I definitely prefer the Malaysian version over the Hong Kong version. This Char Siu has dark sticky caramelized outer layer because of the maltose sugar glaze and the fats that melt in your mouth – I call it something to die for.

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Barbecue Pork

When I eat Char Siu, I don’t like thin slices of meat, I like big chunky pieces of meat because when you bite into it, the fats will explode in your mouth. The charred surface gives a really good aroma to the fats and meat and it will just fill up both of your taste and smell senses.

Char Siu is usually toppings for rice or egg noodles. I like it on egg noodles a lot. Egg noodles tossed with pork lard and soy sauce goes really really really well with Char Siu. I cannot think of any other noodles that go as well as egg noodles.

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Barbecue Pork

Malaysian Style Barbecue Pork – Char Siu (serves 2 with rice/noodle)


  • 200g of pork belly (without skin) – 5cm width x 5cm height
  • 2 tablespoon of maltose syrup + 2 tablespoon of water
  • 2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or 1 clove of finely grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce (can add a bit more if you like your meat darker)
  • 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of rose wine
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of Chinese fermented red beancurd
  • ¼ teaspoon of fish sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon of five spice powder


  1. The maltose syrup is very tough to scoop out and mix well with other ingredients. It resembles a very strong sugar paste and you can almost perform sugar pulling art with it. So, warm it up with 2 tablespoon of water in a small pot until the maltose syrup melted.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the pork belly in a bowl. Stir to combine well. I am using a sandwich bag as the container to marinate the pork belly. Pour the marinade and put the pork belly in the sandwich bag. Leave it in the fridge overnight. About 8 hours to marinade.
  3. About 1 hour before the roasting, take out the pork belly and leave it to get back to room temperature slightly.
  4. Preheat your oven at 180°C for 15 minutes, place pork belly on a rack and protect the bottom with putting a layer of aluminum foil. Cleaning is easier later.
  5. The marinade can be used to brush on the pork belly to create sugary caramelized layer on the pork belly.
  6. The process is about 1 hour for my pork belly strips. During this 1 hour, take the pork out about 4 times to brush the marinade on the pork belly. Flip and change side so that all sides of the pork belly is roasted evenly.
  7. Once done, slice and serve on rice or noodles. Can be eaten just as it is too.

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