Complementing the Flavors: 10 Best Side Dishes to Serve with Char Siu Pork

Char siu also known as Chinese barbecued pork is a classic Cantonese dish of tender, sweet and savory roasted pork. It is one of the most popular Chinese barbecue items, found hanging in the windows of many Chinatown restaurant fronts.

The glistening red pork is irresistible, with its caramelized edges and distinctive sweet and salty flavor profile Char siu pork is often served simply over a bowl of steamed rice. However, serving complementary side dishes can take your char siu meal to the next level

The right sides provide texture contrast, added nutrition, and help balance the strong sweet and salty flavors of the pork. In this article, we will recommend 10 of the best side dishes to serve alongside char siu pork.

Why Serve Side Dishes with Char Siu Pork?

Here are some of the benefits of pairing char siu pork with side dishes

  • Adds color – Char siu on its own is a beautiful red hue. Sides provide other colors to make the plate more appealing.

  • Provides texture contrast – Crispy, crunchy, or creamy sides offset the tender pork.

  • Balances flavor – The sweet and salty char siu is complemented by sides with acidic, spicy, herbal or other flavors.

  • Nutritional balance – Sides can add vegetables, grains and other healthy components.

  • Allows versatility – Char siu can be paired with a variety of Asian and non-Asian sides.

  • Prevents flavor fatigue – The rich pork is best enjoyed in moderation. Sides cleanse the palate.

  • Satisfies different tastes – Not everyone will want to eat just pork. Sides cater to preferences.

Overall, thoughtfully chosen side dishes highlight char siu pork and make for a more satisfying and complete meal.

10 Best Side Dishes to Serve with Char Siu Pork

From traditional pairings to creative fusions, here are 10 side dishes that work wonderfully with char siu pork:

1. Steamed Jasmine Rice

  • Frequency: 3

Steamed white rice is the classic pairing for char siu pork. The plain, starchy rice soaks up the flavorful sauce and provides the perfect blank canvas for the pork. For best results, use jasmine rice, which has a subtle floral aroma and soft texture when steamed. Serve a big bowl of hot rice family-style for everyone to enjoy alongside the char siu.

2. Stir-Fried Vegetables

  • Frequency: 2

A medley of crisp-tender vegetables stir-fried in a hot wok is a popular accompaniment for char siu pork. Almost any vegetable works, like bok choy, broccoli, green beans, snap peas, bell peppers or mushrooms. A touch of oil, garlic, ginger and soy sauce is all you need to create the flavorful stir-fry. The vegetables add crunch and freshness to balance the rich pork.

3. Egg Rolls

  • Frequency: 1

Every Chinese takeout meal needs some egg rolls! The crispy fried wrappers and savory filling pair so nicely with char siu pork. Make your own at home with ground pork, cabbage, mushrooms and aromatics wrapped up and fried golden. Or simplify by using store-bought egg rolls. Dip them in duck or sweet and sour sauce for extra flavor.

4. Wonton Soup

Wonton soup with soft pork dumplings in an aromatic broth is delightful alongside char siu pork. The lighter soup balances the richness. For vegetarians, use mushroom and vegetable filled wontons. Either make your own with wonton wrappers or use store-bought frozen wontons. Provide soup spoons for slurping up this tasty soup.

5. Fried Rice

  • Frequency: 2

Fried rice is another excellent pairing as it includes bits of pork, egg, vegetables and seasonings. The aromatic, slightly crispy rice soaks up any char siu sauce. Customize your fried rice with extras like shrimp, kimchi, peas, pineapple, or whatever you have on hand. The possibilities are endless for this tasty one-pan side.

6. Noodle Salad

For a lighter pairing, try an Asian noodle salad with char siu pork. Lo mein, rice vermicelli, ramen, udon or soba noodles all work well. Toss the cooked noodles with julienned vegetables like carrots, cucumber, red pepper and scallions. Drizzle on a tangy dressing of lime juice, fish sauce, sesame oil and chili flakes. The cool, crisp salad contrasts the warm pork.

7. Bao Buns

  • Frequency: 2

These fluffy Chinese steamed buns are perfect little vehicles for char siu pork. Fill the soft white buns with thinly sliced pork, cucumber matchsticks, hoisin sauce and cilantro. Serve the assembled bao buns as appetizers or side dishes so guests can enjoy two favorites in one bite. Make your own dough or use store-bought baos.

8. Kimchi

Spicy, funky kimchi is a popular Korean side dish that works well with char siu pork. The fermented napa cabbage provides a sour, fiery kick that balances the sweet meat. Buy kimchi at an Asian grocery or make your own at home. Allow guests to help themselves to the kimchi to eat alongside the pork and rice.

9. Mango Salad

For a refreshing, fruity accompaniment, make a tangy mango salad with red onions, chilies, cilantro and a lime vinaigrette. The sweet mango cools the palate from the salty char siu and adds vitamin C. Toast coconut flakes to sprinkle on top for crunch. The salad’s bright colors make for an attractive plate pairing.

10. Edamame

For an easy vegetable side, you can never go wrong with edamame. The boiled and salted soybeans make for tasty finger food alongside the pork. Provide damp towels for cleaning fingers sticky with char siu sauce. Edamame is nutritious and gluten-free for any dietary needs. Kids also love the fun of popping the beans from the pods.

Complementing Flavors Made Simple

Char siu pork is delicious on its own, but served with complementary sides, the meal becomes more interesting, colorful and nutritious. Sides provide texture contrast to the tender meat and balance its intense sweet and salty characteristics.

Rice, stir-fried or raw vegetables, noodles, soup, fried foods, and buns all make excellent pairings. Choose recipes that suit your tastes and kitchen skills. With the right combination of sides, your char siu pork dinner will leave everyone satisfied.

Chinese BBQ Pork Recipe – Char Siu | Chinese Recipe

What are the best side dishes for char siu pork?

The 17 best side dishes for Char Siu Pork, from steamed white rice to noodles, stir-fries and Dim Sum! What is Char Siu? What is Char Siu? Char Siu, or Chinese Barbecue Pork, is a traditional Chinese pork dish that tastes both sweet and savory.

What to eat with char siu?

Crispy egg rolls are another excellent side dish option. Stuffed with a combination of veggies and sometimes shrimp or pork, they provide a contrasting texture and added flavor dimension to the succulent char siu. For a light version you can also try egg roll in a bowl. 7. Ramen A warm bowl of ramen is the ultimate comfort food.

What to do with leftover char siu pork?

Char siu pork is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own, in sandwiches, fried rice, or as a topping for noodles. Furthermore, you can use leftover char siu pork as a filling for pork buns (“Char Siu Bao”). They are fluffy steamed buns stuffed with char siu, perfect for a quick, tasty snack.

What pork is used for char siu?

The pork used for char siu is typically boneless and can come from various cuts, such as boneless pork shoulder, pork loin, pork butt, or pork belly. The meat is marinated in marinade ingredients, including a blend of hoisin sauce (optional), raw honey (or brown sugar), Chinese five-spice powder, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, etc.

Leave a Comment