What Is Pork Kow? The Full Guide

Are you a fan of Thai cuisine? If so, you may have heard of Pork Kow, also known as Kow Moo Dang.

This classic Thai lunch dish features barbeque pork served over rice, often accompanied by pickled green onions.

While you can find barbeque pork at many Chinese markets and restaurants, making it at home is easier than you might think.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Pork Kow, including the best cuts of pork to use and how to make your own delicious Char Siu-style barbeque pork.

Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just starting out, this guide will help you master the art of Pork Kow and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills.

So grab your apron and let’s get cooking!

What Is Pork Kow?

Pork Kow, also known as Kow Moo Dang, is a classic Thai lunch dish that features barbeque pork served over rice. The dish is often accompanied by pickled green onions, which add a tangy crunch to the savory pork.

While Pork Kow is a popular dish at many Thai restaurants, it’s also easy to make at home. The key to making delicious Pork Kow is using the right cut of pork and marinating it in a flavorful sauce.

The Origins Of Pork Kow

Pork Kow has its roots in the Chinese dish Char Siu, which translates to “fork roasted pork.” Char Siu is a Cantonese dish that features pork that has been marinated in a sweet and savory sauce, then roasted to perfection. The dish is a staple in dim sum restaurants and is often served as a snack or appetizer.

When Chinese immigrants brought Char Siu to Thailand, it was adapted to suit local tastes and ingredients. Thai Pork Kow is made with the same cut of pork as Char Siu, but the marinade is slightly different. Thai Pork Kow marinade typically includes soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and fish sauce, which gives the dish its distinct flavor.

In Thailand, Pork Kow is often served as a street food, with vendors grilling the pork over open flames and serving it on a bed of rice. The dish has become so popular that it can now be found in Thai restaurants all over the world.

The Best Cuts Of Pork For Pork Kow

When it comes to choosing the best cut of pork for Pork Kow, it’s important to consider the balance between fat and meat. The ideal cut is one that has enough fat to keep the meat moist and tender, but not too much that the texture becomes greasy or unappetizing.

One popular cut of pork for Pork Kow is the pork shoulder, also known as pork butt or Boston butt. This cut comes from the upper shoulder of the pig’s front leg and has a good balance of fat and meat. It’s also a versatile cut that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Another option is the Mi Tu Ru cut, which is boneless pork shoulder. This cut contains a little amount of fat, making it neither as lean as pork fillet nor as fatty as pork belly. Thin boneless pork shoulder steaks are often used in Pork Kow recipes, as they cook quickly and allow the marinade to penetrate more easily.

Ultimately, the best cut of pork for Pork Kow depends on personal preference and availability. It’s important to communicate with your butcher to ensure you get a good quality cut that will result in delicious and flavorful Pork Kow.

How To Make Char Siu-Style Barbeque Pork

Char Siu-Style Barbeque Pork is a Chinese-inspired version of Pork Kow that is equally delicious. Here’s how to make it:


– 2 pounds pork tenderloin or sirloin roast, sliced thin and sized for skewers

– 1/4 cup soy sauce

– 1/4 cup hoisin sauce

– 1/4 cup oyster sauce

– 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine

– 1/4 cup brown sugar

– 2 tablespoons molasses

– 2 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 teaspoon five spice powder

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– Red food coloring (optional)


1. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, brown sugar, molasses, garlic, five spice powder, salt, and food coloring (if using). Stir well to mix all the ingredients.

2. Transfer the pork into a large ziplock bag. Pour half of the mixed sauce into the bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Massage the bag a few times so the pork pieces are covered evenly with the sauce.

3. Transfer the bag to the fridge and marinate overnight (highly recommended), or for at least 6 hours.

4. Preheat your oven to ‘bake’ at 475 F (246 C) with a rack positioned in the upper third of the oven.

5. Line a sheet pan with foil and place a metal rack on top. Using the metal rack keeps the pork off of the pan and allows it to roast more evenly.

6. Remove the pork from the marinade and thread onto skewers (if using).

7. Place the pork on the rack, leaving as much space as possible between pieces. Pour 1 1/2 cups water into the pan below the rack.

8. Transfer the pork to your preheated oven. Roast for 25 minutes, keeping the oven setting at 475 F for the first 10 minutes of roasting, and then reduce your oven temperature to 375 F (190 C).

9. After 25 minutes, flip the pork. If the bottom of the pan is dry, add another cup of water. Turn the pan 180 degrees to ensure even roasting.

10. Roast another 15 minutes.

11. Throughout the roasting time, check your char siu often (every 10 minutes) and reduce the oven temperature if it looks like it is burning!

12. Meanwhile, combine the reserved marinade with some honey and hot water to make a basting sauce.

13. After 40 minutes of total roasting time, baste the pork, flip it, and baste the other side as well.

14. Roast for a final 10 minutes until charred and caramelized on top.

15. Remove from oven and baste with remaining BBQ sauce.

16. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

17. Serve over rice with pickled green onions on top.

With these simple steps, you can make your own delicious Char Siu-Style Barbeque Pork at home that’s sure to impress your family and friends!

Serving Suggestions For Pork Kow

If you’re looking to serve Pork Kow at home, there are a few serving suggestions that can take your dish to the next level. One traditional way to enjoy Pork Kow is to pair it with pickled green onions, which can be found in many Thai noodle shops. These tangy onions add a refreshing contrast to the rich and savory pork.

Another great accompaniment for Pork Kow is a side of steamed vegetables, such as bok choy or lettuce. These veggies help balance out the richness of the pork and add some much-needed vitamins and nutrients to your meal.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try serving Pork Kow with a spicy dipping sauce made from garlic and bird’s eye chilies. This sauce adds a fiery kick to the dish and can be adjusted to your preferred level of spiciness.

Finally, don’t forget about the rice! Pork Kow is traditionally served over steamed rice, which helps soak up all the delicious flavors of the pork and sauce. For an extra special touch, try using jasmine rice or sticky rice for a more authentic Thai experience.

Tips And Tricks For Perfecting Your Pork Kow

If you want to make the perfect Pork Kow at home, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:

1. Choose the right cut of pork: The best cut of pork for Pork Kow is pork shoulder, also known as pork butt. This cut of meat is marbled with fat, making it tender and juicy when cooked.

2. Marinate the pork: To add flavor to the pork, marinate it in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and Chinese five-spice powder for at least 2 hours or overnight.

3. Use dark sweet soy sauce: Instead of making a separate sauce from the marinade, you can use dark sweet soy sauce as a shortcut. This sauce adds a rich flavor to the dish.

4. Grill or roast the pork: While the traditional method of cooking Pork Kow is to grill the pork over charcoal, you can also roast it in the oven. Cook the pork until it is tender and has a caramelized crust.

5. Don’t forget the green onions: While pickled green onions are a popular accompaniment to Pork Kow, you can also use fresh green onions for a milder flavor. Slice them thinly and sprinkle them over the rice and pork.

By following these tips and tricks, you can make a delicious and authentic Pork Kow at home. And if you’re short on time, you can always buy pre-made barbeque pork from your local Chinese restaurant or market.