There is so much to love about char siu: its outer layer a delightful red hue, with exquisite caramelised crispy edges, glistening from being glazed with honey; the meat is ultra-tender, with an irresistible sweet and savoury aroma. Not only is char siu a quintessential Hong Kong meal and comfort food, it is also a well-known dish in Cantonese cuisine.
Today, rows of char siu hanging in siu mei (Cantonese roasted meats) shop windows are a common sight, but in ancient times, roasted meat was a fancy imperial court dish. Folklore has it that a gourmand skewered pieces of pork loin and roasted them over fire, giving char siu its name, which literally means “fork roasted”. The cuts of pork used to make char siu have evolved over the years: in the 1950s, “floor scraping” char siu, made from pigs that were so fat their bellies scraped the floor, was the most popular; in the 90s, people had become more particular about their food, and pork collar butt with a more even fat-to-lean-meat ratio was preferred; in recently years, many high-end Chinese restaurants make premium char siu with Iberico pork. Whether you like your char siu glazed in honey or marinated with maltose, we can all agree that the best barbecued pork is the slightly charred one with nice, crispy edges.
What does exceptional char siu look like for MICHELIN inspectors? Here are 10 MICHELIN restaurants and their highly-regarded Chinese barbecued pork:
Article written by MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau, translated by Iris Wong. Read original article here