One of my favorite dishes in Seattle area Chinese restaurants is a dish they call BBQ Pork on their appetizer menu. In all the places in San Francisco I have been this same item is on the menu but it's served warm with just more BBQ sauce instead of cold with Chinese Mustard, Sesame Seeds and Ketchup.

Can someone please explain the difference between these two dishes or do I just need to ask for it cold?

  • Chilling things down can mute flavors, so you often need to plan for if something's going to be served hot or cold. Just chilling down the ribs might not get you what you're looking for.
    – Joe
    Jan 7, 2016 at 15:46
  • Is it really "cold" or simply "room temp"? I find it's rarely fridge cold but often not truly hot.
    – Catija
    Jan 7, 2016 at 15:56

3 Answers 3


Here in the Philippines, there are two different variations of BBQ Pork, one that is intentionally served as an appetizer (part of the cold cuts menu), and the other which is different and is served hot on top of rice as rice toppings. So to answer your question, I think you can request for it to be served the way you want but the intended flavor might not be the same.


There are two different popular kinds of roasted pork found in many Chinese restaurants, especially those with Cantonese / southern Chinese bias:

  1. Char siu / Char siew / Sha shao / 叉燒 (literally pit/fork roast), pork fillet or ribs marinated in a mixture of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, honey or maltose etc. and often red food colouring. Char Siu pork is a versatile base product. It's used in other dishes, e.g. finely diced in fried rice, as filling in Char Siu Bao 叉燒包 (white steamed rolls), stir-fries, and also served plain, warm or cold, cut into thin slices alongside some vegetables on rice. It can also be served sliced on a large bowl of noodle soup. See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Char_siu When served plain, ketchup would be a rather Western dip sauce. Chinese ones include hoisin sauce, plum sauce, or a mix of soy sauce, a little sesame oil and a bit chili paste.

  2. Siu yuk / Shao rou / 燒肉 (literally 'roasted meat') usually roasted pork belly. Probably rarer these days, this is fat pork belly with the skin roasted crispy. Usually cut into cubicles, can be served cold. This roast is somewhat close to what Malaysians/Indonesians call Babi pangang. If I remember correctly, I've had it served with a simple dip sauce made of light vinegar, chopped garlic and a very little chopped red chili.


They likely are the same, except the one served cold is an appetizer and the one served hot is a dish.

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