Food from Malaysia: Char Siu (barbecue honey pork)

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ June 2nd, 2011. Updated on July 7th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Food around the world » Malaysian food.
Sweet Char Siu Barbecue pork from Malaysia

Sweet Char Siu Barbecue pork from Malaysia

Char Siu, or Char Siew in Malaysia, is barbecue honey pork

I don’t really have a taste for sweet meat. However, char siu, if made well, can really hit a good spot. Originally from China, char siu has many names including char siew, chasao, char siew rice, and chasao.

I find in West Malaysia it’s more commonly refered to as char siew, or Chinese barbecue pork.

What is char siu pork made from?

The pork meat is marinated in honey, dark soy sauce or hoisin sauce, with some mild spices. Common in many restaurants today is the addition of strong red food coloring. Which thankfully I managed to avoid.

If you are really lucky in high-end establishments you might get some char siu that’s also been coated in rice wine or sherry.

Street vendors char siu pork in Malaysia

I usually found it very easy to get char siu pork on the streets of West Malaysia, and Sabah for that matter. They never seemed to skimp on the size of the portion either.

Many also coat the meat with some extra char siu sauce, which goes really well with the soft bed of rice that it’s served with.

I rarely got any vegetables with my serving though.

Chinese char siu or Malaysian char siew?

I’ve had this in both China, Sabah, and West Malaysia. I’ll give the nod to West Malaysia on this one. Primarily as they give ample portions of meat, it was always hot, and the rice flavored with chicken.

At about 3.50 to 4 ringgit (USD$1.30) a portion, from a street hawker, it’s well worth trying!

This is an additional article featuring food from West Malaysia

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19 Great responses to Food from Malaysia: Char Siu (barbecue honey pork)

  1. Stuart says:

    I really like sweet meat, sounds like these Malaysian’s really like it too!

  2. Anna's World says:

    The rice looks yellow. Is that from the meat, or is it the chicken stock?

  3. Steph says:

    Oh yum! Luckily I just ate breakfast so I’m not drooling this time, but it does look delicious. I would love to take a Malaysian cooking class…

  4. iamthewitch says:

    Yummm!! One of my favourite Chinese dishes during lunch. I like them lean and glistening with sauce! Bring it on!

  5. James says:

    It’s posts like these that are drawing me closer and closer to returning to SE Asia when I can (stupid bills! :P )

    Malaysia truly is one of the greatest nations on Earth for food.

  6. Malcom says:

    Chicken flavored rice with barbecue pork. Sounds like a meat lovers paradise. You got much longer there?

  7. Ciki says:

    Will take you to the craziest most tasty one when you come over again:) nice shot!

  8. Harold Manning says:

    I remember eating this many years ago in Malaysia. Good to see it still looks the same.

  9. Grace says:

    Oh wow, char siu is pretty much my favorite food in the whole world! I’m drooling over your photo!

  10. Chris says:

    That looks delicious and I’m not just saying that because I love honey based meals. I need to find some good asia restaurants in london to satisfy my taste buds now.

  11. Happening for me – in my mind; here in China. Only beer and noodles tonight :(

    the candy trail … hungry for BBQ across the planet, since 1988

  12. PalawanMartin says:

    PS Did you try Nonya food ? I thought it was fabulous, mix of chinese and Malay food. Plum tea, unusual spices.
    Very different cuisine