Of all the roasted meats of Chinese cuisine, char siu is perhaps one of the easiest to recognize. Char siu is a Cantonese pork dish, first marinated in a complex barbecue sauce before being roasted to perfection. Over the years, it’s become something of a comfort food in Cantonese cuisine — a welcomed sight on cold winter days, at family reunions, or spinning around the lazy susan at dim sum.

Because of its complicated cooking process, char siu dishes tend to get marked for “special occasions” — not the kind you might keep in your regular at-home rotation. But we happen to think it’s simply too damn good for that.


Traditionally, making char siu sauce demands a lot of time and even more attention.

At the center of this dish’s unique flavor is the char siu sauce — the blended marinade of spices, sauces, and aromatics that take even a seasoned expert (pun intended) hours to get right. Every family has their own version, but the sauce generally combines Chinese five spice, white pepper, sesame oil, cooking wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, thickening agents, food coloring, garlic, so on.

Replicating your grandma’s recipe requires more than just the sum of these ingredients. What makes char siu pork so memorable is the depth of its flavor: sweet with a bit of tang, but not sour; savory but not too salty; the slightest hint of spice, but nothing overpowering. Its flavor profile is richer than most other Chinese sauces — strong enough to trainstorm an average bowl of pork and steamed rice.


Bowlcut is your new ready-to-eat char siu sauce.

Our logic: Char siu is the kind of sauce you’d do well to always have on hand. If it’s good on pork, one of the hardest meats to flavor, it’d great in a pinch — to reinvent your weeknight favorites, to make leftovers eatable again, or even to try your own hand at the namesake dish.

Bowlcut’s Char Siu BBQ is ready-made so you just have to pour, but still retains all the distinct flavor of authentic char siu. It’s harder for a bottled sauce to do this than you might imagine — the usual preservatives and artificial additives that keep it shelf stable are the same ingredients that flatten and dull flavor.

We spent a ridiculous amount of time getting ours right, so Char Siu BBQ takes you on a wild ride of sweet, savory, tangy, and spicy umami in every bite. Just like your grandma likes.


Pineapple char siu salmon recipe by Asian American sauce brand Bowlcut



Pineapple Char Siu Salmon
Fried Brussel Sprouts
Chicken Katsu

Hungry? Try our Char Siu BBQ + Chili Crisp starter kit