Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

Vietnamese/Chinese Barbecue Pork (Thịt Xá Xíu/Char Siu)

The best thing about being a stay-at-home mom is that there is very little need to look nice. A regular day is pajama pants and an over-sized T-shirt. A fancy day is sweat pants and a fitted shirt. My sister came to visit the other night. She commented on my hair. It took a few seconds to recall if I even combed my hair that day.

I may appear homeless sometimes, but my Vietnamese BBQ Pork (Thit Xa Xiu) ...  always appears on point. 

 Red Vietnamese/Chinese Barbecue Pork (Thit Xa Xiu/Char Siu)

Red Vietnamese/Chinese Barbecue Pork (Thit Xa Xiu/Char Siu)

Have you ever seen Xa Xiu premixes at the stores and decided to make Xa Xiu using only the packages to save some time? I did ... multiple times, using different brands in each attempt. Unfortunately, none was quite right. The aroma was there. The aroma was perfect actually, but the flavor was bland and horribly lacking. On the next attempt, I decided to skip the premix and made my own marinade from scratch. Again, something is missing. Flavor is there but the aroma is not the same and color is lacking. asdf#W$!@#!jkla&*#$sdf!

Next, I combined the two methods. I mixed a bit of premix and my own marinade. BAM! It worked! I got the beautiful red color, the signature aroma, and the most incredible taste known to mankind. Balance and order was back on Earth and life was good.

Thit Xa Xiu Vietnamese BBQ Pork Vicky Pham.jpg
 Red Vietnamese/Chinese Barbecue Pork (Thit Xa Xiu/Char Siu)

Red Vietnamese/Chinese Barbecue Pork (Thit Xa Xiu/Char Siu)

Whenever I make Xa Xiu, I make sure to make a lot because it can be used in many other Vietnamese dishes. Banh Mi Xa Xiu (VIetnamese BBQ Pork Sandwich) is one of my favorites. The kids loooooooove Com Chien Xa Xiu (Fried Rice with BBQ Pork) and the husband can't get enough of Hu Tieu Mi with Xa Xiu (Pork Noodle Soup with BBQ Pork). Thit Xa Xiu easily satisfies my whole family's cravings for a week! So if you're going to make Thit Xa Xiu, double or triple the recipe to use in other awesome dishes. Happy eating!

 Red Vietnamese/Chinese Barbecue Pork (Thit Xa Xiu/Char Siu)

Red Vietnamese/Chinese Barbecue Pork (Thit Xa Xiu/Char Siu)

Vietnamese/Chinese BBQ Pork Recipe
(Thịt Xá Xíu/Char Siu)


  • 2 lb pork shoulder/butt (cut into long strips about 1-2 inches wide)
  • 1 package Chinese BBQ Pork mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • 2 teaspoons Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame soil
  • 2 drops red food coloring gel (optional)

Honey Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. In a small bowl, mix together Chinese BBQ Pork mix, 5-spice powder, black pepper, garlic powder, chicken stock powder, Hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, honey and sesame oil.
  2. Using gloves, slather mixture evenly on the pork and marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or overnight in fridge for better results.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the pork on a wired backing rack with a pan underneath to catch the drippings. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Occasionally bast the pork with the drippings to prevent drying. Flip the pork over and bake for another 15-20 minutes, basting along the way.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the honey glaze. Combine honey and water in a microwave-safe bowl and set in microwave on high for 15 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir the mixture with a spoon to make sure the honey is completely dissolved. 
  5. Once pork is done baking, slather the honey glaze onto the pork. Place it back into the oven and broil on high for 5 minutes to get a nice crust. Watch the pork closely at this point to prevent burning. Once you get nice caramelization on one side, flip the pork over and broil on high for another 5 minutes.