You will see the eyes of any Chinese person literally light up at the mention of Char Siu, especially good Char Siu ! It is a classic and it is classified as a type of siu mei (燒味), Cantonese Roasted Meats. I may be slightly partial but the Chinese do their barbecue well and the flavors of Chinese roasted meats is hard to match and beat.
The sight of bad Char Siu turns off your appetite especially when even the color is not of the correct red hue - it looks anemic, dry, lifeless and unappetizing.
Char siu is a Cantonese word that translates into “fork burned”, which describes the traditional method of skewering the meat on a long fork and roasting it on spits over an open fire. Char Siu is very versatile, it goes well with rice, noodles, stir-fry dishes, wrapped in a bun or simply all alone by itself. My first bite of excellent Char Siu (prepared the traditional way) is when I was under 10 years of age and it was an unforgettable experience. Today, that bite still lingers in my memory. It is my personal quest to continue to improve my Char Siu each time I make a batch.
I hope that this recipe will help you make some finger-licking good Char Siu right in your own kitchen.