This is a recipe in one of my collection of cookbooks, by Chef Phang Fah, which I’ve modified just slightly. Why I particularly like this recipe, besides it’s robust, savoury flavour, is because there isn’t any roasting involved –  I am always trying to use cooking methods for meat that produce less carcinogenic by-products.

Here, pork is slow-braised in seasoning liquid which is reduced till almost dry, coating the pork in a lovely sticky, caramelised sauce which crisps nicely at the edges, without burning it.

If you want it healthier, you can use lean cuts of pork instead of pork belly, though meat with a just a little fat will be far tastier and more flavourful. Just let your local butcher know you want to cook char siew when shopping for your meat, and the Uncle or Aunty will give you the right cuts.

The recipe title says ‘wok-fried’ but any cooking pot that is deep enough to hold the seasoning liquid with meat will do just as well.

Serve char siew over plain rice with leftover sauce and sliced cucumbers on the side (char siew fan), or over noodles in sauce with wontons (char siew wonton mee or noodles) – simply delicious!




600 gm Pork Belly, visible fats removed, cut into 2 thick strips length-wise
6 cloves Garlic, peeled and finely chopped or minced
3/4 litre of Water


3 tbsp Light Soya Sauce
1 tsp Dark Soya Sauce
2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 1/2 tbsp Sugar


1.  Place all ingredients, except water, into a deep bowl and rub pork all over with seasonings till evenly coated.  Let marinade for at least an hour, or preferably overnight for better flavour. Cover with cling wrap and place in chiller.

2.  Bring water in a stewing pot to a boil over high heat. Add in pork with marinade sauces and bring to a boil again. Lower to medium heat, and stew until the liquids almost run dry and have caramelised over the pork strips. Occasionally, turn pork strips on its sides to ensure even browning, turning lightly golden brown. If you like it a little crisp around the edges, continue to pan-fry a little longer. Remove, cut into even slices and serve hot.