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Chashu-what to do besides ramen?

Saw pork belly on sale, so I decided to make chashu--they never give me enough in my ramen.

Any ideas besides soup?

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    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Good thinking--they sell the rolls for $1.69 for 5 on my corner. I'll have to pickle some carrots and daikon (think that's what they use).

      Since I'm pretty busy working today, I'm going to tuck a few slices in my Kimchee Ramen Bowl that I get at Costco for busy days. I put fresh kimchee in it to spice it up.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        We've been to the tasting room at Calcareous Winery outside of Paso Robles a couple of times and had lunch there. It's an outside caterer they use, no idea who they are, but they have a pork-belly banh mi with their own pickles and a bit of cilantro that was so good I got it both times. I think the pork was prepared as silverjay describes, as it did have a soy-tasting sweetness to it.

      2. Well, I am glad that you like the fatty pork belly for your ramen. They are nice, aren't they?

        I do want to make one thing clear. While Japanese Chashu is often made from pork belly, its origin, the Chinese Char Siu, is often made from pork shoulder, pork butt.

        Now that is out of the way, let's get back to pork belly. One of the more popular Chinese dish for pork belly is the Dongpo Pork:



        So unhealthy. :P

        12 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I sounds to me like the OP has already made all of his pork belly into charsiu. So he's not really looking for other pork belly recipes, but for more ideas for using charsiu.

          1. re: DeppityDawg

            In which case, I will say that BBQ buns. :) So many variations of these buns too. The Chinese types, and the Japanese types....etc.


            1. re: Caroline1

              Very nice story. The photos are shunning

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                When made with a truly authentic recipe, and the pork belly is tied in little "Christmas present" packages, it is a stunningly delicious dish! I broke my BIG Chinese sand pot that was large enough to make several servings of Dong Po Rou, so I have to either pop for a new sand pot (meaning I've got to find one first) or rely on Chinese restaurants.

                The only one in this area that has Dong Po Rou ion the menu is a Sichuan restaurant and they use a whole "pork elbow" for the dish and "Sichuanese-up" the sauce so it comes out spicy hot with not a trace of star anise in a carload!


                It's $12.00 on their a la carte menu, and guess what? "Pork elbow" seems to be their euphemism for "whole pork shoulder!!!!" It is THE WHOLE THING with pork skin still attached! Order it to go and you've got dinner for four already cooked for twelve bucks!!! Only problem is, Just don't have your taste buds cranked up for REAL Dong Po Rou 'cause this ain't it!

                But sometimes I seriously have to wonder how some (authentic) Chinese restaurants manage a "black ink" bottom line!

                1. re: Caroline1

                  Maybe you're not aware that Su Dongpo was born in Sichuan and was later governor of Hangzhou near Shanghai. Both regions claim him and this dish, making their own versions. REAL Dongpo rou can indeed be made with pork shoulder and Sichuan spices. Nothing inauthentic about it.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I didn't realize (or didn't retain the info) that Su Dongpo was originally from Suchuan. I've found about a dozen recipes, but none of then call for anything that would make me think "Sichuanese," such as Sichuan pepper. Almost all of them that I've found call for star anise, Shao Xing (Hsing?) wine, Chinese stick/block sugar, stuff like that.

                    The restaurant where I buy it is interesting! They have 2 locations right here in Plano, the newest one opening right next to 99 Ranch Market when it was built a year or two ago, and their other two locations are in Seattle and Redmond, Washington. Here's a link to their menu.

                    With the Dongpo, they offer two sauces, one for non-Sichuanese and a more traditional one that will make your taste buds hop! I didn't care for the mild version the one time I tried it. (K9 under Pork) My amazement remains that they offer an entire pork shoulder for.... ooops! it's gone up to $13.95 now. It used to be $12.00 Still an amazing price! But I DO strongly prefer the little "Christmas packages." They make portion control MUCH easier! When something is this good, I need help figuring out when I've reached enough...! '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      First the whole story about Dongpo Meat may be made up, and there are many stories. Some of them have nothing to do with Su Dongpu himself making dish. Rather someone made the dish for him. Second, even if Su Dongpo himself made the first Dongpo meat. That recipe was long gone. The existing one is the Hangzhou recipe.

                      There is definitely a Sichuan (Szechuan) version of this as well.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                        Sort of like General Tso's Chicken. General Whoooo ?!? ;-)

                        1. re: LotusRapper

                          I think my friend "jrvedivici" has said that he cannot support General Tso's chicken for General Tso has killed so many people in his life.


                          I told him about about General Tso killed a bunch of Christians, and I think that may have scared him. :P

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Then there's General Tao's Chicken-flavored chips ......


                            Arghhh, I'm steaming mad there's no MaPo Tofu, Muxu Pork nor KungPao Chicken flavors.

                            1. re: LotusRapper

                              Ha ha ha.. This is awesome. Thanks for the link.

          2. In addition to what's already been suggested, on the Asian side, gua bao filling.

            On the western side, porchetta, pork roast.

              1. re: christinegallary

                I was just going to recommended eating it cold out of the fridge but the noodles are a better idea. Char Siu is espcially good stir fried with those bouncy yellow lye "egg" noodles.

              2. Your own version of those korean mexican tacos that are so trendy- add cilantro, kimchee or pickled veggies, black beans, and the meat in a simple soy/sesame oil marinade

                  1. Japanese chashu, the topping in ramen, is almost always made from pork butt (shoulder). Pork belly is not used often for ramen but when it is, it will be called "kakuni" or sometimes "toro" or "buta toro".

                    An option for pork belly, depending on how thick the cut, is to make "buta kakuni", which is a borrowed dish from China. It's the pork belly simmered in a mixture of soy sauce, black/ brown sugar, and sake or mirin or even shochu. Lot's of different recipes online for it.

                    I've recently been using pork belly in my Thai chicken larb dishes. I dice up the pork and then cook it in the fry pan until it gets a little crispy. The fat also greases the pan. Then I add ground chicken and cook. The bits of pork belly add an interesting flavor and textural component to the dish.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: Silverjay

                      That's funny Silverjay, nearly every recipe I've found used pork belly. Also, in all the top places for ramen in San Francisco that I've found, they use pork belly too. Where are you located? Maybe in Japan they use pork shoulder.

                      1. re: hankstramm

                        I'm in NYC, but have probably eaten at 100+ shops in Japan throughout the years. They will use butt, loin, or rib meat for chashu. I just ran a quick search in Cookpad, the mega-Japanese recipe site and didn't find any chashu listings with pork belly. I mean, it's all same animal, just different cut, right? I'm sure some places use pork belly there. Chashu is a borrowed word from Chinese but I don't think in Japanese it conjures up the image of pork belly.

                        1. re: Silverjay

                          Yeah, I just did similar search--googled recipes and all have porkbelly. Weird, huh. Also, all the photos on google when you put "chashu ramen" nearly 1/2 are very distinguishably pork belly and others still could be belly or shoulder, but it's hard to tell. Guess it's a West Coast/Google bias.

                          Everywhere here uses pork belly.

                          1. re: hankstramm

                            I don't know i just googled chashu ramen and don't see all that many obvious pork belly examples. Kenji from Serious Eats NY made it with pork belly and there's a lot of shots of his versions... When I'm back in Japan for New Year's, we usually order some chashu from an online vendor or pick some up at a good ramen shop that sells it to go. We slice it up as beer snacks. It's never pork belly. But I mean I love pork belly and it's not THAT big of a difference from a fatty slice of shoulder anyway...and it certainly passes the tasty looks test.

                            1. re: Silverjay

                              Actually I made Kenji's recipe. Came out great.

                              1. re: Silverjay

                                The results using pork shoulder were much better. I butterflied the shoulder, rolled and tied it. Came out much meatier and much less fatty. Thanks for pointing it out.

                                1. re: hankstramm

                                  Cool. Good to hear it came out nice...Yeah no problem, just passing on what I learned myself. I give you serious props for making it yourself- twice. I'll have to try it sometime soon.

                            2. re: Silverjay

                              This link will explain the difference between original Chinese Char Siu and today's version of Chinese "Char sui, which has evolved into "barbecued pork." Wasn't always the case and this webpage covers the difference that the simple passage of time has wrought... kinda similar to what has happened to "sushi" <sigh> "California roll" still makes my skin crawl.... :-(


                              1. re: Caroline1

                                That link actually just offers a replication recipe for the pork cheek at Santouka, a chain of popular ramen shops in Japan, with a few branches in the U.S. connected with the Mistuwa supermarkets. It's not actually char siu. They just use the term as an affectation to describe the pork cheek as a ramen topping. They call it "toroniku cha-shu" which is like "melty meat cha-shu" in English. I used to get this all the time actually. They serve it to you on a side dish rather than pile on your ramen because it will melt away into the soup otherwise.

                                Santouka makes a regular cha-shu out of pork shoulder that they also offer as a topping. This is the more conventional Japanese cha-shu, which is simmered for a long time with soy sauce. Chinese style is slow roasted I believe. They also use 5-spice, which Japanese don't really use.

                                1. re: Silverjay

                                  Yes, the Chinese words mean cooked on a skewer over fire so the original Cantonese version is barbecued or roasted not simmered.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    叉 (caa/char) = fork or skewer
                                    燒 (siu) = burn (roast over fire)


                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                      Thanks for supplying this. Now others can understand how confusing her assertion is.

                                      1. re: LotusRapper

                                        Exactly. Good point. I think like to the original is the other way than suggested. In other words, it has always been about grilling/barbecue.

                            3. re: Silverjay

                              Silverjay, I'm trying Kenji Alt's chashu recipe but subbing in a pork shoulder which I butterflied and tied.

                            4. You could make two of my favorite things from Momofuku. Pork buns or the pork belly ssam.

                              1. cut into bite sized pieces and eat

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: KarenDW

                                  Yup, that's what I've been doing a lot of Karen. Made a sandwich--sort of banh-mi-ish which was good too.

                                2. By the way, how much is pork belly when it's on sale where you are? Just curious.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: DeppityDawg

                                    It was $2.19/lb or $4.82/kg.

                                    Usually it's about $1/lb more.

                                  2. sometimes I cut into "usable" slices/sticks, and freeze in (flattened) zip bags for later.

                                    1. Lots of great suggestions !

                                      I'd make Chinese "shao bing" (oven-baked crisp bread) sammies out of them, adding some hoisin sauce, green onion and bit of cilantro:


                                      1. well I'm cantonese chinese (4th generation) and I make my own cha siu out of pork shoulder or pork butt, cutting it into strips about 2 inches thick and 6 inches long.

                                        I use for noodle soup, fried rice, chow fun, chow mein, stir fries, etc. Making it when the pork is $1.49/lb is way less expensive than buying already bbqed cha siu for $7/lb and mine tastes the same as the deli /store bought. You can also make cha siu bau.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: cookinglisa

                                          Good for you ! Do you concoct your own sauce or use something like LKK's ?


                                          Around here (Vancouver) store-bought char siu is relatively cheap starting at ~ $3.99/lb. I like the fattier cuts. Pork butt can sell for more than that sometimes, so it's quite tempting to just buy ready-made than make my own.

                                          1. re: LotusRapper

                                            I am a "dump" cook so everything I make usually is slight variation of the recipe . . .but my cha siu marinade is usually:

                                            Pork butt cut into 6 x 2 strips ( can usually buy for less than $1.49/lb) . . .I like pork butt because its not too fatty but still has some fat on it (using too lean pork defeats the making of cha siu)

                                            1 cup hoisin
                                            1 c sugar (sometimes I will use honey instead, or half and half mix of white / brown sugar)
                                            1/4 c soy sauce -- i like using dark Chinese soy sauce because I like the stronger flavor, rather than using light soy or japanese kikomen)
                                            3 T. minced ginger -- to taste
                                            1 T. minced garlic - to taste
                                            black pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)
                                            1-2 t. of "5 spice" powder or can use anise
                                            food coloring -- if desired (Its more "natural " without the food coloring but doesn't look as "pretty" -- so I usually succumb and put some red food coloring in since I give half my batch away to my college kids or other people).

                                            Marinate at least 4 hours (or up to over night) and bake at 300 for about 40 minutes. At the end, I like to turn up the heat to "broil" for 5 minutes each side to make my pork look slightly "charred". (Be careful though and keep a close watch as the meat can easily burn due to the sugar content of the marinade).

                                            If have extra marinade, can baste meat at the end for a more "shiny" look.

                                            1. re: cookinglisa

                                              Thx Lisa. I just copied your recipe. Now I'm motivated to make some of my own soon :-)

                                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                                the amount of marinade (about 1 1/4 cups) is enough for about 6 lbs of pork or other meat. For smaller amounts of meat, you can halve the amount -- or make the full amount, and use half for your cha siu, and keep the other half in a jar in your fridge.

                                                The same marinade makes really good Chinese "red" chicken and Chinese "red" spareribs as well -- but again if you broil for a few minutes at the end of roasting, keep close watch so it doesn't burn due to the sugar content.