Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

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

A great thing about being a stay-at-home mom is that there is little need to care for appearance.  I rarely see anyone except for my kids and husband. A regular day is pajama pants and husband's over-sized T-shirt. A fancy day is sweat pants and a semi-clean, fitted shirt. My sister came to visit other night. She commented on my hair. I couldn't recall if I combed my hair that day. 

My appearance has taken a backseat because most of the time, I'm in the kitchen.  I've been doing a lot of cooking and practicing new recipes. One dish I've been trying to perfect is Vietnamese Barbecue Pork, Thịt Xá Xíu in Vietnamese or Char Siu in Cantonese. 

Sliced Vietnamese Barbecue Pork (Xa Xiu)

Sliced Vietnamese Barbecue Pork (Xa Xiu)

After doing a lot of research and asking those in the business, I found out that the key ingredient in authentic Vietnamese/Chinese Barbecue Pork is fermented red bean curd. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? This key ingredient helps to achieve the reddish color and provides a distinct flavor. I have tried many recipes and the final recipe below is a combination of all those recipes with my own tweakings. Vietnamese/Chinese BBQ Pork is great when served with white rice or a warm baguette. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Barbecue Pork (Xa Xiu)

Vietnamese Barbecue Pork (Xa Xiu)

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


  • 3.5 lb pork shoulder/butt; cut into long strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup fermented red bean curd
  • 1 teaspoon Five Spice powder
  • 1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves; minced
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)


  1. Combine salt, sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, bean curd, Five Spice powder, Hoisin sauce, garlic, and red food coloring in a bowl.
  2. Slather mixture evenly on the pork and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is best.
  3. On a wired rack, bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
  4. Flip the pork over and bake for another 30 minutes.
  5. When ready to serve, slice the pork and serve with white rice or baguette.