Friday 18 March 2011

Char Sui Pork

You make sacrifices to live up here. You mostly live behind 9ft steel fences and razor wire, and not all the tropical frangipanis in the world can hide that fact. It's dangerous to go into town on Thursday, as it's payday and the local troublemakers are out and about.

You ALWAYS lock your car door before leaving the compound.

It's a fact that your house WILL be burgled during your tenure up here. You buy some sort of food when you see them, because you're never sure when you'll see them again.

BUT.. the upside is that everything you buy from the market is organic and local. There are no pesticides up here that are affordable for the locals. And tropical fruits and veg are so unbelievably cheap. I get mud crabs and lobster tails delivered to my door, if I choose. A local, organic pineapple costs about 20c AUD.

And if you shop right, all your meat and eggs are local and organic as well.

Sure, you can buy Zenag or Table Birds chickens, but you can also go to the market and get one slaughtered and plucked for you, right there on the spot.

And not that they slaughter pork on the spot, but depending where you get it from, it's local and effectively free-range.

I say "effectively" because there is really no concept of free-range or organic  up here. It's all just food.

So I get my pork from a farm in the Ramu Valley, where it is left to forage on whatever the jungle can provide.

I can also get cus cus meat and smoked fruit bat, but I am working up to that!

So, to dinner.

While pre-fab sauces, rubs and marinades are becoming more regular in supermarkets, it's just as easy to grab the raw ingredients.

Believe it or not, Char Sui style cooking is popular all over the Pacific Rim,a nd not just indigenous to China. Hawaii has it's own version, as does Malaysia (where you can get vegetarian chari sui, apparently)

Recipe varied from wiki cookbooks version.

  • 1 kg pork shoulder, skin on
  • 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tbsp. clear honey
  • 4 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • ½ tsp. five spice
  • red food colouring (I omitted this, as it's unavailable up here)
  1. Pierce the pork all over thoroughly with a fork. This makes the pork more tender and allows the marinade to penetrate the meat to give flavour all the way through.
  2. Mix all other ingredients together.
  3. Place pork  in a tray and cover with marinade. Ensure strips are covered completely in marinade.
  4. Cover tightly with cling film and place in the refrigerator for several hours. Overnight or for 24 hours is preferable.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160°C and  place the pork on a rack over  a pan in the bottom to catch drippings. Line this pan with aluminium foil to make cleaning easier
  6. Roast for 20 minutes,  Baste to build up a good layer of marinade on the outside of the meat. The pork should turn a golden-red colour as it cooks. After 20 mins, turn and baste againm giving the pork a further 20 mins at this temp.
  7. Increase heat to 220°C for a further 20 mins (total cooking time, 60 mins)
  8. If crackle hasn't crisped up, give it a few minute under the grill, to achieve that authentic charred look and flavour.  

  1. Heat leftover marinade until it becomes thick and glossy, to use as a dipping sauce.
  2. Cut pork into .5cmslices and serve on white rice with sauce/marinade. 


kathleen said...


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Griffin said...

Cut it into slices? Isn't that sacrilegious? Shouldn't you just er, make a pig of yourself?...ahem, or is that just me?