Char Siu or as I know it as “Pink Pork”

Even before starting my  job at the Law School, I would frequent a Chinese restaurant on campus known as China Garden. As generic as the name sounds, and as most Chinese buffet restaurants sound, China Garden was actually pretty good.  For under seven dollars, you had your choice of the common items like egg drop soup, crab rangoons, sweet and sour chicken, lo mein, pepper steak,  beef and broccoli, fried rice, egg rolls, and char siu, or what I always called “Pink Pork”.

Chinese Char Siu Recipe

For years our technology group would dine in at the China Garden to get our fill on. It was a place where we always had a great laugh, and almost, if not, in tears from laughter, probably due to the fact that one of our coworkers, Steve, would always spill something on his dress shirt. Beyond the laughter, the food was pretty darn good, as I for one, will never go back to a place if the food was not good. For the seven dollars I spent, my plate was always filled with char siu; the pink pork that was just really good. I would go there just for that. You would not see lo mein on my plate, nor the gravy dishes with beef, but it was always char siu, with crab rangoon.

After missing the pork dish, I attempted to make it on a couple of occasions, but did not get the flavors right, although I made a really killer barbecue pork with fish sauce that rocked my socks off, it was not pink pork. This past weekend led me to perfect pink pork, and as I had everything down, I was forgetting one thing, a dash of the infamous Chinese Five Spice, oh, and food coloring!


  • Pork shoulder, cut into about 2 inch strips
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1/2 tbsp red food coloring

Begin by cutting down your pork shoulder. To a bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Add the pork to a gallon sized ziplock bag, adding the sauce. Give the pork a nice massage, making sure you incorporate the sauce onto the pork. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, then tuck it away in the refrigerator for the night.

The following day when you are ready to make the pork, remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you are going to place it in the oven. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and remove the pork strips from the marinade, making sure to let the sauce drain off of each piece before you place it on the baking sheet. Reserving the marinade is optional, but I used mine as a second part of the cooking process which is also optional. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Now, what I like to do is preheat my grill as well, and finish with just a slight sear, basting a bit more of the marinade to build a nice gloss before serving. Only cook for a couple of minutes on the grill. Serve immediately, or at room temperature.

The China Garden closed shop over a year ago, only to be replaced by a book store, but it is one restaurant that will be missed, however now that I have my pink pork, I am less saddened.

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

4 thoughts to “Char Siu or as I know it as “Pink Pork””

  1. Like Esi says, this looks great and not too hard to do. You’ve inspired me to give it a go. Think I might finish it on the BBQ for a bit of extra taste.

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