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Chinese Recipes
Siu Mei or 'Fork-Burn/Roast'
Siu Mei is a general term literally meaning 'Fork-Burn/Roast'. Perhaps a better Western analogy would be 'Barbequed, perhaps on a rotisserie', although authentic Siu Mei is hung to cook in a hot oven.

If you travel to Hong Kong, then these are the typical restaurants that have a small Chef enclosure at the front, with hanging meats and birds in plain or glazed appearance. This is originally a Mainland Cantonese specialty, but Hong Kong chef's have taken this into the world = perfecting what you would know as 'Crispy Style Duck (or Chicken, Goose, etc)'.

However, a traditional Siu Mei also sells other meats which include: Yellow style Chicken, Sweet Pork (Bacon - as pictured right below), and other central dishes of similar theme.
Crispy Duck

We will presume you are reading this page because you want to know how to make 'Crispy Duck', although Siu Mei specialty restaurants also serve chicken, goose, and pork done in the same style.

If you do not own a specialist oven within which to hang these meats for curing, then you should buy from a proper restaurant - they are everywhere in Hong Kong and Cantonese Mainland. Beijing Duck is actually an interesting derivative of this style of cooking.

Maybe we can emulate these dishes at home?

It is best to start with Pork, either spare ribs or loin. The same recipe is ideal for chicken, goose, dove, and smaller preparations such as chicken wings and drumsticks.
Image: Char Siu - Click to Enlarge
Basic Ingredients:

1 Teaspoon - Honey
1 Teaspoon - Five-spice powder
1 Tablespoon - Fermented tofu (red)
1 Tablespoon - Soy sauce
1 Tablespoon - Hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon - Chinese Rice Wine (Sherry is a Western alternative).

Red food colouring (not a traditional ingredient but very common in today's preparations), which we do not need.


1. Wash the chicken wings or pork and leave them to dry for a few minutes.
2. Add the above ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Add the meat and marinade for at least 2-hours, and preferably overnight.
3. Alternatively you could use a store-bought Char Siu marinade powder, and rub well into the meat - before mixing and marinating as a sauce (See directions on packet).


All these dishes are best cooked using either a barbeque grill, or a very hot oven (450 degrees C). This is a serious problem in Chinese kitchens as there are simply no oven's unless you have purchased a micro oven?

If you have a micro oven, or suitable microwave cooker, or BBQ alternative; then put a pan of water in the bottom. Add the meat in a dish to the top rack, and turn up the heat as high as it can possibly go.

If using a micro-oven, then prop the door open so that it never quite reaches full heat, and thus tripping the elements off. You need both infra-red coils glowing constantly red (Top and Bottom usually).

Roast for up to 1 hour, turning and basting frequently with the remaining marinade.

Wok Version

1. Add 1 tablespoon of quality oil to a wok and turn up the heat.Use a high temperature oil such as Sunflower seed oil, and definitely not Olive oil.
2. Add the meat and marinade juices (Keeping 1 Tablespoon of marinade back) and stir continuously until sealed.
3. Turn down the heat to a happy simmer, cover and leave for 20-30 minutes. Check occasionally there is still some juice in the wok, and stir before putting the lid back on.
4. Add the remaining marinade to the wok and wham up the heat to full blast. Stir like a dervish until this has coated all the meat, and begins to form a hard crust - that has not been burned.
5. Add a little liquid honey or plum sauce poured over the meat and stir - only if the crispness is not what you desire. At this point you are working with virtually no liquid in the wok, so be quick to avoid burning!
6. Serve to table.

There are virtually endless variations of this dish, as each restaurant and chef appears to have their own. Some common variations are:

Marinade Variations and Additions:
* Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and/or 1 tablespoon minced ginger.
* Substitute 1/2 cup pineapple juice for the hoisin sauce.
* Substitute wet bean curd for the hoisin sauce (can be found in Asian markets).
* Add 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil.
* Add 1 tablespoon hot bean paste for a spicier marinade.
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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