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Asian Meatballs: Chinese Pork Meatballs (Char Siew style)

Chinese Pork meatballs: Char Seiw like charring on the edges with flavors hitting notes of sweet and salty in each that are ideal for delicious Asian meatball appetizers in about 20 minutes.

When you are looking for fun appetizers these will also go well with Steamed Pork Dumplings and Easy Coconut Shrimp!

Chinese Pork meatballs: in individual Blue Chinese serving spoons with a closeup with sauce drizzled over the top.

Chinese Pork meatballs are full of all of the flavors you love in Chinese food takeout.  Salty, sweet, smoky, charred edges with juicy tender pork inside.  

You can make them in about 20 minutes in a skillet or a wok so they can be made at the last minute for you or your guest’s enjoyment.

I’m super excited to share this Asian meatball recipe with you. It’s a recipe from one of my foodie friends Charmaine Ferrara who writes at Wok and Skillet.

Char wrote a cookbook  called “The Healthy Wok.”  A cookbook about simple, healthy versions of your favorite takeout meals.

Easy way to serve meatballs. Chinese Pork meatballs: Stacked on a tan plate, with sauce in a white bowl next to it

As most of you know, I kind of have a meatball addiction, thus I have a lot of meatballs on my site (check out a few of them like Gouda Cheese Meatballs, IKEA Copycat Swedish Meatballs, Buffalo Chicken Meatballs and BBQ Bacon blue Cheese meatballs.)

Pictured here are bacon wrapped meatballs, Swedish meatballs on a blue plate, buffalo chicken meatballs and blue cheese bacon meatballs on a white plate

What pork to use for these Meatballs?

This recipe for Chinese Pork Meatballs is the first meatball I’ve made that is primarily made from pork.  Pork meatballs tend to be really juicy and full of flavor.  For time-saving purposes, I purchased ground pork with full fat.

You can purchase the low-fat option, but I find that when I do that the meatballs are really dry.

Because you cook them in a skillet using the regular ground pork you will be able to leave the fatty oil that cooks out in the skillet.

If you wish to grind your own pork you can use pork belly, pork shoulder or pork butt.  

I highly suggest you don’t use a pork loin as there is not near enough fat to pork ratio for juicy tender meatballs.

We have LOTs of easy delicious appetizers — You can find them all right here!

simple chinese dumplings on a blue plate
Steamed Pork Dumpling to pair with the meatballs!

What is Char Siew? (char siu)

Char Seiw (sometimes spelled siu) is a Cantonese dish that translates to “fork roasted.” Usually, there are cut strips of marinated pork skewered then “roasted” over an open flame.

The marinade caramelizes as it cooks.  Most times you see it a red color when you get it in dishes at restaurants.  (That red color comes from using bean paste in the marinade.)

How to cook Chinese Pork Meatballs

You’ll first want to make the meatballs all in a similar size.  I find using a scoop like this one guarantees they are all the same size and shape and thus cook evenly.

The recipe calls for cooking them in a wok, and they were easy to roll around in the wok for even cooking.

ALTERNATIVE TIP:  You could also make them in a skillet if you don’t have a wok.  I found that a cast iron skillet worked really well.  The pan got hot enough to really get a nice sear on the edges and the pork charred very nicely.

Either way, you will love the way the edges almost taste like they have been grilled but when you bite into them they are juicy and flavorful.

The Healthy Wok cookbook by Charmaine Ferrara a photo of the cover with A simple broccoli beef stir fry on a blue cover

Here is the link to Amazon for you to purchase your own, or to give your favorite someone a cookbook they will use for years to come. The healthy recipes can be our secret.  No-one will miss the take-out I promise!

Chinese Pork meatballs:Three meatballs served individually on spoons with a serving plate stacked high in the back!

Need more Asian Recipes to make at home?

Crispy fried coconut shrimp on a blue plate with apricot sauce
Coconut Shrimp

Looking for elegant serving spoons or trays for a party?  

Pin this to your Easy Appetizer Board on Pinterest! 

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Chinese Pork meatballs: Char Seiw like charring on the edges with flavors hitting notes of sweet and salty in each that are ideal for a delicious appetizer in 20 minutes.
Yield: 20 meatballs

Chinese Pork Meatballs

Chinese Pork meatballs: Char Seiw like charring on the edges with flavors hitting notes of sweet and salty in each that are ideal for a delicious appetizer in 20 minutes.

These meatballs are a slightly different take on the giant pork meatballs so popular in China. They are inspired by Chinese barbecue pork, or char siew, and their smaller size means they can be pan-fried in a wok. The five-spice powder infuses the char siew with its unmistakable flavor, and I love charring the outside just a bit for that seared barbecue crispness.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes




  1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, cornstarch, ginger,garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, five-spice powder, and pepper, and mix well.
  2. Roll 1 heaping tablespoon of pork mixture into a ball and continue until all the pork mixture is used. (about 20 small meatballs)
  3. In a wok or skillet over medium heat, heat the peanut oil. Using a wok spatula, spread the oil to coat enough of the wok surface to fry about 10 meatballs at a time. Lower the meatballs into the wok in batches.
  4.  Cook without moving for about 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are cooked through. Use the spatula to carefully rotate the meatballs to cook on the other sides.
  5. Keep rotating the meatballs gently until cooked through.


  1. Combine all ingredients except garnish and stir to mix well.  Sriracha sauce can be adjusted to get as spicy as you wish.  
  2. Cut chiffonade (small circles from green onion to float in sauce.)  Serve sauce in dipping bowls on the side, and/or drizzle lightly over the top of meatballs.  Sprinkle additional green onion circles over the top for presentation.


All recipe calorie information was calculated on what I purchased to make this recipe. When you make the recipe, the calorie content could vary depending on what specific ingredients/brands you actually use. Please take that into consideration if you are following a strict diet.

The sauce recipe is not from Char's book but from a cooking class I took many years ago with Jet Tila.  You may find his recipe on my site under Chinese Pork Dumplings.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

20 meatballs

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 91Carbohydrates: 1gProtein: 6g


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Tuesday 8th of September 2020

I made these tonight and loved them.I didn’t have all the ingredients for the sauce, so just mixed soy sauce and sweet soy warmed a little the poured over. tasty and easy. thankyou for sharing.

Michele Hall

Thursday 17th of September 2020

Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed them! And that sauce sounds perfect for it! ~m

Sue McMurtrie

Monday 22nd of June 2020

We tried the Chinese Pork Meatballs were awesome,I adjusted it a bit low sodium soya sauce ,1/2 tsp five spice, 1 T siracha sauce .So good will try some more of your recipes🥰

Michele Hall

Sunday 28th of June 2020

So glad you enjoyed them! We've been doing low sodium in our house recently too....funny how we don't even miss it! ~m


Sunday 26th of January 2020

I thought this recipe would be really good to have for the Chinese New Year. All seemed easy, which it was. I should have known better NOT to add so much Fish Sauce (I used what the recipe said). It was far too salty & didn't balance the meatballs. I even made rice to absorb some of the sauce, didn't help. If I do this again, since the meatballs were very good, I will remember to use maybe just a teaspoon of Fish Sauce.


Friday 14th of February 2020

Kathy~ I know that fish sauce is a LOT like cilantro and people love it or hate it. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you-- I did adjust the notes in the post to mention that if you don't like fish sauce to adjust the measurement to put a lesser amount in. ~m


Wednesday 1st of January 2020

wonderful! Used vegetable oil instead of peanut oil due to allergy. All my family loved it. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing


Sunday 5th of January 2020

Thank you for coming back and letting me know! Thank makes my whole day! ~m

Elaine DeFelice

Sunday 3rd of November 2019

WOW I made these today and they are delicious. The meatballs have a great flavor; the dipping sauce is a nice contrast. I served them on the pretty end of chinese napa cabbage that I pickled in white vinegar, water, sugar for 10 min. It looked like petal of goodness. I’m not a great fryer-burn a lot of food, so, I fried them to get coloring/char then baked at 350 for 10 min- give or take. Thanks for a delicious recipe.


Wednesday 6th of November 2019

I love how you served them.... it sounds perfect! Im so glad you enjoyed them! ~m


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