Chinese Barbecue Pork – Thai Style, Moo Dang Episode I

Chinese Barbeque Pork - Thai Style, Moo Dang by The High Heel Gourmet 3

After I posted the crispy pork recipe, there was a request for a recipe for Khao Moo Grob, which is crispy pork belly over rice, topped with red sauce. I didn’t respond to that request right away because to make Khao Moo Grob you will need to make this barbecue pork first. The red sauce that goes over the rice in Khao Moo Grob is the same sauce that is used to marinate this barbecue pork.

in Thailand, the red barbecue pork is called Moo Dang, (as you might already know, if you remembered moo=pork and dang=red). Moo Dang simply is “Red Pork”. It’s not originally Thai. We just happily adopted this item from the Cantonese Chinese and add our own twist to it. It was originally  Char Siu pork or Chinese barbecue pork that you would normally see at Chinese barbecue restaurants in any Chinatown. The ones that have roasted ducks or a roasted pig hanging in the window will be sure to have Char Sui pork, too.

You might have a big question mark popping up in your mind, like, why is it red? This is not a confirmed history, because I can’t read Chinese, but I’ve been told that Char Siu originated from Cantonese Chinese. The original red color was from fermented soy bean curd or, if you want to call it fermented tofu, you can. The fermented tofu has red color because of the red yeast rice in it.

What’s is Red Yeast Rice?

Red yeast rice is rice that has been fermented by the red yeast, Monascus purpureus. It has been used in Chinese cuisine for many centuries as a food preservative, and food colorant, and in China also for medicinal purposes. Red yeast rice is useful for improving blood circulation and helps relieve the symptoms of indigestion and diarrhea and in modern holistic medicine also helps to lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides.

If you want to ask further why red yeast rice is included, that would be a tough question to answer for me. I don’t know. If anyone does, please let me know, too. My guess is the Chinese, who very cautious and smart about their food consumption, might put it in to help the indigestion and prevent the diarrhea or may be just simply to add the red color.

Anyhow, Moo Dang in Thailand or the red Chinese barbecue pork you see today rarely has red yeast rice as the red agent anymore. I don’t really know about the real Chinese Char Siu, though. I can’t make any claim on that. The red barbecue pork these days uses red food coloring instead. Also the Thais had adjusted the recipe such as adding the cilantro (coriander) root, and removing the liquor in the recipe until Thai Moo Dang is slightly different than the original Char Siu.

Chinese Barbeque Pork - Thai Style, Moo Dang by The High Heel Gourmet 2

I also added my own twist as well. I had tried many recipes for Moo Dang, and the recipe I’m posting here today is the result of many, many years of attempts. I used ketchup in the recipe once because I couldn’t get any red yeast rice powder, and found out that using ketchup is makes the barbecue pork taste so much better. So now I leave it in there, even though I found where to get red yeast rice powder. That’s my own twist. I hope you like it.

There is one ingredient that you might have a hard time finding: Maltose Sugar, which is used as the thicken agent as well as sweetener. If so, you can substitute maltose sugar with glucose syrup or corn syrup.

Chinese Barbeque Pork - Thai Style, Moo Dang by The High Heel Gourmet 1 (1)

Clockwise from top right (right from the piece of pork) Sesame oil, Glucose syrup, Salt (I used red Hawaiian Alaea salt but you don’t need to use that. It doesn’t help with the color.), Chinese five spice powder, White pepper, Green onion, Garlic, Oyster sauce, Sweet soy sauce, Light soy sauce, Seasoning sauce, Ketchup, Cilantro root, Palm sugar, Honey and, of course, the leading character here, the pork shoulder. I forgot to put the red yeast rice and vegetable oil in this picture though, sorry about that.


Pork butt or pork shoulder  2 lb.

Ketchup 1/2 cup

Cilantro root 3  roots

Green onion  3 stalks

Garlic  10 cloves

Palm sugar 1- 1-1/2 tablespoons (or granulated sugar)

Salt  2 teaspoons

Sweet soy sauce  2 tablespoons

Light soy sauce 2 tablespoons

Seasoning sauce  2 tablespoons (I used Maggie 1 tablespoon and Golden label 1 tablespoons)

Vegetable oil  2 tablespoons

Sesame oi l 2 tablespoons

White pepper  2 teaspoons

Maltose syrup, glucose syrup or corn syrup  3 tablespoons

Oyster sauce  2 tablespoons

Chinese five spices  1 tablespoon

Honey  3 tablespoons

Red Yeast Rice  1/8 teaspoon (I put a little too much this time, nearly 1/4 teaspoon so the color is too deep red)

Ingredients for the final dipping:

Water  1 cup

Honey  25g

Sugar  50g

Glucose 125g


1) Put all of the ingredients except the pork in a blender and puree all of them to the finest level.

2) Cut the pork in to thick strips.

Chinese Barbeque Pork - Thai Style, Moo Dang by The High Heel Gourmet 2 (1)

3) Marinate the pork in the sauce overnight

Chinese Barbeque Pork - Thai Style, Moo Dang by The High Heel Gourmet 3 (1)

4) Warm the oven to 350ºF.

5) Take the pork out of the marinade and put on a rack over a tray, and bake for 50 minutes.

Chinese Barbeque Pork - Thai Style, Moo Dang by The High Heel Gourmet 8


Flip once after 25 minutes.

Chinese Barbeque Pork - Thai Style, Moo Dang by The High Heel Gourmet 7

Keep ALL the marinade; we will be using it in the next episode to make the sauce for the rice.

6) While you are waiting for the pork, mix all the final dipping ingredients together and heat them on the stove until bubbling.

7) Dip the pieces of cooked pork in the dipping sauce and bake for another 10 minutes. Also keep all of the leftover dipping sauce. We will be using that in the sauce as well.

Chinese Barbeque Pork - Thai Style, Moo Dang by The High Heel Gourmet 6

Now you are done. You can enjoy it right away. Next week I will give you the recipe for the red sauce and the Khao Moo Dang and Khao Moo Grob recipes.  Stay tuned!

Chinese Barbeque Pork - Thai Style, Moo Dang by The High Heel Gourmet 5

18 thoughts on “Chinese Barbecue Pork – Thai Style, Moo Dang Episode I

  1. Where can I get red yeast rice since it has good health benefits to balance out the cholesterol in pork I couldn’t find it in Costco or supermarkets. Thank you.

  2. This looks great! I am really enjoying reading your blog. I was wondering about the pork cut. Is it hip or shoulder? I live in Rayong. I want to be able to make theses recipes for my Thai inlaws. They are always trying to make Farang food for me. So looking to put my own spin on it. Also the m
    Maltose syrup is that found here?…All from scratch, I love it.
    Thanks so much

    • If you want more fat (smell better when you BBQ them) then pick the shoulder. If you want lean meat pick the hip. Maltose syrup is of course available in Thailand but if you cook for your in law, change to honey and don’t forget to brag about it too. Call it “Moo Dang Yang Nam Peung”.

  3. Can’t find red yeast rice anywhere here except in supplement form and it also contains some vegetable stearate of some kind – can I just empty a capsule and use that for the coloring agent?

    • If i use the whole grain, I grind it in coffee grinder. Sometime I use my red yeast rice supplement in a capsule because it is more convenient, just one capsule is more than enough. However, the whole grain red yeast rice will be less intense color, you might need to use a bit more. You need to try your stash to know, just add a little at a time.

  4. I’ve made this a bunch and my family loves it. Though I can never find cilantro root or maltose. Mine never comes out looking as amazing as your pictures either. They never have that wonderful color. Even after marinating for like 24h. By the time their done cooking they don’t look much different than the pork that hasn’t been marinated… The marinade seems to just cook right off without leaving any color. They still taste go good though.

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