Hawker Home Recipes: Fatty Cheong's Char Siew

A trip to Fatty Cheong's Char Siew is regular after-church ritual for the family. The kids love it, the in-laws love it and most importantly, I also love it. Ok lah, we always try to bring the kids to what they like to eat, but it is always a bonus if I also like the food as well. Parents, you know what I mean right?

After blogging a few Char Siew places, we are always drawn back to Fatty Cheong's as his Char Siew is consistently juicy and well charred. Anyway, for those of you who like to try making Char Siew at home, I managed to convince Fatty Cheong to share with us his Char Siew recipe.

According to him, the following are the ingredients he actually uses at the stall. Of course, the big difference is that he has a charcoal oven but many of us don't. So you will have to use your conventional oven or one of those "Xue Di Zi" aka Turbo Broiler if you have one of them. Incidentally, you probably know of the "Xue Di Zi" (Flying Guillotine) if you are about my age (or older) as it was one of those iconic weapons in old Kung Fu films. My mother-in-law affectionately named her Turbo Broiler (also an iconic kitchen weapon in that era) "Xue Di Zi" because of the similarity in shape. I wonder if it is just her or does everyone else also call it a "Xue Di Zi"?

Fatty Cheong's Char Siew Recipe:

1 kg Pork Collar (if you like it juicy) or Pork Shoulder (if you like it leaner)
500g Sugar
300g Oyster Sauce
300g Bean Paste (Dou Jiang)
200ml Soya Sauce
3 teaspoon Rice Wine
2 teaspoon Black Soya Sauce
2 teaspoon Red Colouring

Mix all the ingredients together to make the marinade then use it to marinade the meat for at least an hour or even better if you can marinade it overnight.

Roast in a moderately hot oven for half and hour, turning and basting the meat till it is cooked and slightly charred.


As with all hawker recipes, a lot of "Agarism" (estimation) is involved. So you might have to tweak it a little to suit your taste. And if you find it too tedious, you can always pop down to Fatty Cheong's to get some freshly roasted Char Siew!

Do write in and let us know if the recipe works for you!

Fatty Cheong
ABC Brickworks Food Centre
6 Jln Bukit Merah #01-120 (near POSB ATM)
Open 11am till about 8.30pm
Closed Thursdays
98824849, 94281983

What to do next:

Read more about the Xue Di Zi here
Watch "Master of the Flying Guillotine" here (Get ready for a great 70's Kung Fu flick)
Check out the other famous places for Char Siew


Nod said...

nothing better then a little gluttony after church. haha

ieat said...

Oh I wouldn't call it gluttony. It's just a nice family lunch and fellowship with friends.

Shu Yen said...

Yes, the turbo broiler is called "Xue Di Zi" in my household and also by extended families that have it.

ieat said...

Ah, so it really is popularly known as a Xue Di Zi! My mom used to have one in the 80's which she used regularly. But I thought it went out of fashion. MIL still uses hers because her oven is used as storage space for utensils!

I don't really see what is the difference between the Turbo Broiler and a fan forced oven. Both uses hot air to cook the food. Perhaps some Xue Di Zi specialist can enlighten us?

auntieblog said...

I make my own char siew pork at home using Lee Kum Kee's char siew sauce. Follow the instructions on the bottle to a T and you'll get a very nice char siew. It helped that I used the more expensive pork fillet cut. I cook it in the conventional electric oven. Or you can use a good heavy pot (covered well) to cook it. Use the sauce also to make honey-baked baby-backed ribs (brush honey on ribs). Go try!

ieat said...

Actually I have tried using the Lee Kum Kee Char Siew sauce before. But I felt it tasted too much like Hoisin sauce rather than the Char Siew that you get outside.

For those who are more adventurous, you can add some chilli sauce to make it a spicy BBQ sauce. Great for ribs!

rczx said...

I call it "Xue Di Zi" as well! thanks to my mum... and I'm 24 so I think this name might extend in age even further than u expected... and the funny thing is that I always thought that was the correct name for the broiler, until i was corrected like 2years ago...

Damien said...

Thanks for the char siew recipe. I use the Xue Di Zi to grill chicken and bake cakes.

This old skool devise is really useful and the older folks swear by it :)

ieat said...

You might know the name but have you seen the movie? I have added the youtube movie clip for everyone to have a laugh.

cactuskit said...

Thks for the recipe Leslie and Fatty Cheong. I also use the lee kum kee sauce (with other condiments) to boil my char siew until dry. Taste really good just don't have the charred taste. Will try out this recipe.

Anonymous said...

Or you can simply use Lee Kum Kee's char siew sauce...hehee

jems said...

yes yes we refer to it as Xue Di Zi too keke. Once a group of us gathered for potluck and one of the girls brought her Xue Di Zi to broil the bacon and asparagus. Yum~! :)

my mum used to make yummy char siews using her WMF cookware too :)

liverpool1965 said...

yup used to do char siew while studying in Australia using LKK sauce too! will try out this recipe! thanks!

fatme said...

Looking at recipe for 1 kg Pork I think it's gonna be a over kill.If anyone tries following the exact recipe pls post the out come.

ieat said...

Tried the recipe yesterday. I think the Tau Cheong was a little strong. You might want to reduce this to 200g instead. Otherwise the Kids loved it although it lacked the charcoal taste.

Camemberu said...

OMG the Xue Di Zi! The flying guillotine really brings back some fuzzy memories, from VERY early childhood - there was this 1979 TV series called 绝代双娇 (something to do with twins, one naughty and one nice - what else). I tracked down the theme song on Youtube. Anyone else (old enough to) remember it?

Meanwhile, I'm thoroughly amazed you got Fatty to share his prized recipe! :P

fatme said...

Sure didn't expect ieat to be the first one to try the recpie,thanks.Will be trying out very soon.

quop said...

what a great resource this is... food pics/writeups, recipes, and also lessons in singapore culture! haha.

my (singaporean) wife was contemplating buying one of these from sg to bring to australia, until we found some sold here locally - and then she learnt the "english" name for the device. her mum uses it to cook a mean "sio bak", and had always called it the chinese name, though wifey thought it was more "xie di zi" than "xue di zi"... not that she had any idea why it was called that or what the actual chinese characters are, until i read this post and enlighted her :p

we probably use the broiler as much as, if not more than, our built in oven. she's sure to give this recipe a try and i'm sure to enjoy the results :D

ieat said...

Well I am glad your wife has been enlightened!

So far we have cooked this twice at home. Kid love it. The marinade is acutally good for 2kg of pork at least. Best to use Pork Collar and cut down on the Bean paste to around half to 2/3.

And make sure it gets a little charred! Wish you success! Actually you all get pretty good Char Siew at the Hong Kong Roasts there in Aust!

Elex said...

Ah Cheong is my sifu! He does a mean Guan Dao routine...

island said...

i just tried this last week and it really turned out very well! both me and hubby am very happy with that! thanks for sharing this :)


quop's wifey.

Quinn said...


is that the bean paste used in thsi recipe???

Please confirm, I really wanna make them!

ieat said...

Yes indeed!

Anonymous said...

The standards at Fatty Cheong appears to have dropped quite a bit in the last few years with the problem mainly coming from the cut of meat used. They used to serve the juiciest cuts but seem to have resorted to using the extremely lean an dry cuts lately. I have stopped dining there.

Dee said...

I heard a rumor that the pork used in Singapore are sows and hence there's no "porky smell".

I'm currently studying in Australia and my friends say the pork used here are males (not sure if they're boars or barrows) and hence the "porky smell".

Is this true?

ieat said...

I hear that the pork from Indonesia is castrated and the pork from Aust is not.

Dee said...

So does that mean it's true all the pork used in S'pore are females? Any reason for it?

effendi said...

Hi leslie, just wondering is the bean paste and hoi sin sauce the same ? I tried opening the link of the picture but didn't show up. Tq

hrayson said...

I ate at Fatty Cheongs today and I must say that it is not worth the plate it is served on. Standards have hit rock bottom.


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