As you know from last week’s review of frozen Asian dumplings, I’m on a bit of a Trader Joe’s jag. Another one of their Asian products that’s intrigued me lots has been their Chinese-Style Barbecue Seasoned Pork. That’s one big mouthful of a product name (not very catchy!) but ever since I spotted the item in the Fearless Flyer months ago, I’ve wondered if the pork could be used in Asian dumplings such as steamed and baked buns (bāo/bau) and fried sticky rice dumplings (xián shuǐ jiǎo/haam sui gok). Char siu pork is also one my favorite add-ons in wonton noodle soup, and I love to stuff some in Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches.
How good is the pork? Can I recommend it for cooks who don’t have the time to make their own or access to a Chinese barbecue shop? What can be done with the pork? Trader Joe’s does not identify the pork as Cantonese char siu pork but the orange-red coloring and thin long slabs of meat gave the pork’s identity away. The Chinese character printed on the label, 豬 (zhū) means pig, hog, swine. There was nothing about it being chā shāo/char siu pork (叉燒), which literally means fork roasted as the pork pieces are typically suspended on hooks during the roasting process to evenly expose the meat to the heat.