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char siu
Photograph: Ann Chiu

Best places to get char siu rice in Hong Kong

Our rundown of some of our favourite spots to get barbecue pork rice in Hong Kong

Written by
Olivia Lai
,
Ann Chiu
&
Sam Evans
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There’s a saying in Hong Kong: “It would have been better to have given birth to char siu than to you.” The fact that parents say this to their children frequently here goes to show just how much they love this traditional Hong Kong-style barbecue pork dish.

Much like dim sum and gai daan zai, char siu rice is a quintessential Hong Kong meal and a local comfort food favourite. While you can find it almost everywhere across town, quality varies tremendously. You can get it for as cheap as around $20 with a soup and a drink, or you can splash out over $300 to get it just on its own. Whatever you wish to spend, here's our rundown of some of our favourite spots in the city to enjoy this meaty dish.

RECOMMENDED: Looking for something to beat the summer heat? Check out our list of the best-chilled dishes to try this summer.

 

Hong Kong’s best char siu rice dishes

  • Restaurants
  • Sheung Wan


This Sheung Wan siu mei (cooked meats specialist) restaurant commonly has a line out of the door come lunchtime, and it's no wonder because they're damn good at what they do. Their char siu is simply to die for – incredibly tender and juicy – and they go to town on the honey glaze more than many other restaurants in the city, as it literally drops off the meat when picked up to flavour the rice below – we're not complaining!

Granted the rice isn't anything to write home about, but the meat is a showstopper all on its own here. As for the price, it's pretty good value, at $52 for a BBQ pork and rice plate. Add $5, and you can even get a refreshing lemon ice tea to wash it all down.

  • Restaurants
  • Jordan

A small neighbourhood joint in Yau Ma Tei, Sun Kwong Ming primarily offers takeaway, though there's a couple of tables in the neighbouring alley if you don't mind slumming it. The char siu is made fresh every day, and you can order entirely lean meat or half-fatty-half-lean.

For the all-lean variety, it's not too tough, and the honey isn't too sweet. The meat itself is a little on the salty side – but this means it pairs excellently with rice. Combine this with a drizzle of homemade sauce, and the whole thing comes together like a charm. Bonus: all orders come with a bowl of soup, so for only $24 for your meaty meal, Sun Kwong Ming is brilliant value.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Wan Chai

The surroundings at this restaurant are no-frills, like many cooked meat restaurants around town. Think plastic stools and wood-veneered round tables next to off-white tiled walls, and you're in the ballpark. As for the char siu here, it's good, with a bed of soft, fluffy white rice on which the meat sits. The pork itself is lean and a little on the dry side, but that can be sorted out with a dousing of the restaurant's secret sauce available on each table.

The sauce resembles a watery sweet soy sauce, and adding a few squirts of this is a pro tip here to enjoy your thick slices of pork. Better value than many, here you can drop less than $50 and wind up with a meaty plate, and a drink to go with it!

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Whampoa

Located in Whampoa, this restaurant does some killer honey-glazed barbecue pork loin ($158 for a standard portion) that we think is one of the best you'll find in these parts. It's served with a thick, sweet honey glaze, and the meat itself is so tender that you barely need to move your jaw when eating it. Go early – or even better – reserve a portion of char siu before going, as they sell out very quickly. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Central
  • price 3 of 4

The dim sum at Mott 32 needs no introduction, and the same goes for its char siu, which is renowned for being among the most expensive in Hong Kong, with each serving costing $325 (add $20 if you want some rice to go with it). That being said, Mott 32’s barbecue pork is well worth the price, because they use the most tender part of Spanish Iberico pork, and marinate it in a char siu sauce and seven kinds of seasoning for an hour.

They then bake it for 40 minutes to lock in the juices. Glazed with malt sugar and honey to give it a final sheen, the meat is incredibly tender and juicy, while the light layer of honey makes it sweeter than regular servings of this local favourite. Every bite tastes like luxury.

  • Restaurants
  • Fortress Hill

At Chop Chop, the signature roasted pork belly char siu rice ($79) is made according to chef Dai Lung’s long-perfected recipe. Expect meat that’s succulent, tender, charred, and caramelised in all the right spots. It’s served with premium rice from Heilongjiang.

Furthermore, Chop Chop is different from many a cooked meat shop in Hong Kong. Think, no-frills, dingy interior, and a more stylish, modern cafeteria. From the contemporary dangling lights to the cool neon sign that hangs outside, this is certainly one of the cooler BBQ pork operations in the city.

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