Char Sui (Chinese BBQ Pork) – From ‘Food and Beer’ by Ross Dobson


I wondered about the authenticity of this recipe and how tomato sauce fits into the equation, but tomato sauce is indeed used as an alternative to red food colour in Cantonese cookery books from the 1960s.

At a pop-up Sunday yum cha I did, this item was the most popular. At yum cha, dumplings dominate the menu, or rather trollies, but don’t overlook the plates of Chinese meats (duck, pork and chicken). Such delicious foods scream for a palate-cleansing, cold Asian pale or light lager


• 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) pork scotch fillet
• 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• small coriander (cilantro) sprigs
• steamed rice and Asian greens to
Barbecue sauce
• 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) tomato sauce
• 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) plum sauce
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil
• 220 g (8 oz/1 cup) sugar
• 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
• ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper


Cut the pork lengthways into long, sausage-like fillets about 5 cm (2 inches) thick, then place in a bowl. Stir together all the barbecue sauce ingredients to dissolve the sugar, then pour over the pork. Rub the sauce into the pork, coating the meat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 3-6 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 220˚C (425˚F). Line a baking tray with baking paper. Lay the pork on the baking tray, reserving the barbecue sauce for basting.

Roast the pork for 20 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to char. Turn and cook for another 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 160˚C (315˚F) and roast for a further 2 hours, brushing with the reserved sauce and turning every 20 minutes, until the pork is very tender and deep red. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Combine the soy sauce, rice wine and sugar in a bowl. Pour in 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) water, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Slice the pork on a serving platter. Drizzle with some of the soy sauce mixture and garnish with coriander. Serve with steamed rice and Asian greens.