Friday, 25 January 2008

Char Siu, revisited (Chinese Barbeque Pork)

Here is a dish I have blogged about before. However, I felt I had to do it again because, like all amateur cooks, my dishes do not come out identical evertime I prepare them. On this occassion, it turned out really well, in taste as well as appearance. The reason is because I bought belly pork (the kind used in crispy roast pork - siu yoke) instead of tenderloin or shoulder/neck steak. The big difference is the amount of fat in belly pork and I also made too much marinade for this lot. As a result, it had a stronger taste and the fatty bits made some parts crispy and charred with that "melt in your mouth" texture as you bite into it. I dont usually use belly as its rather unhealthy, but find that it's the best cut if you want your char siu "pun fei sow" (half fat, half lean).

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I am still a complete novice when it comes to food photography and presentation, but I am learning a lot by looking other people's food blogs. Can anyone tell me how to capture a photo where the object in front is clear, but all behind is blurred? I'm afraid I have only used the auto feature of my camera. When I select manual, everything is blurred!

11 comments:

~Christine~Leng said...

wow... char siu!
the "100%" thingy in my blog, that you asked that day, about the fishball... it think it means 100% no added salicylic acid that makes it extra springy. Can't read chinese, so have to get help from my friend ;P

about the blurred background, well, I'm not really good, but try this: use manual and when you wanna take a closer object, switch on the macro mode. Focus the object, and you'll notice the behind will be blurred :)

team bsg said...

its of course blur because your tummy is vibrating , the only way to solve it is to eat it fast !
( in manual mode your focussed object will be clear while objects further away behind will be blurred issit ah ?)

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

the easiest way is actually using a 50mm lens with a dslr camera..thats how i have done it..

as far as i know..its pretty hard to get that effect playing with the manual settings on a digicam

daphne said...

yum yum! that home made char siu looks yummy!

I'm not sure whether you have the same function... but I'm using a Sony digicam, and they have this function under "menu"- "retouch"- "soft focus"..that helps to focus on the point that u want and blur out the back.. Alternatively, u may want to try photoshop? I haven't tried it myself but might be worthwhile experimenting with it..

I still hv lots to learn with photography too! Still admiring what other ppl can do.

Lannae said...

Mr Malaysian in Manchester,
The Char Siu you made looks great, and it is another item I miss so much! I have made it only once and failed. What is your recipe for the flavoring? I have a pork jowl in the freezer, and it is similar to pork belly.

Well, I think that your photos are just great, but I know what you mean about really fabulous photos. I don't have fabulous photos either. :( I only have a small Canon Elph (point and shoot), but it has a macro setting, a center weight setting, and a little green square that comes up showing where the focus is before I snap a photo. Does your camera have these? I think the Photoshop program or other photo edit programs are being used fairly widely too.

jadepearl said...

Char Siew looks yummylicious!!! Best with wanton mee leh. I really miss the Msian style of wanton mee.

Awesome blog you have here!

Nic (KHKL) said...

that looks like a plate of darn good char siew albeit the burnt edges! as sinful as it looks, i prefer pun fei sow...a little indulgence is good, sometimes..lol!

the blurry background is caused by the depth of field. to have that effect, the distance between the focus point and the rest of the objects should be as far apart as possible. so, zoom in on the focus or place your camera as near to the object as possible.

ling239 said...

very yummy looking char siew... wish i can have some of them ~ ^_^

Camemberu said...

Wow you make your own char siew and char kway teow! Yums!

The photography effect you mention seems to be something to be gained from a DSLR or SLR. Regular digicams don't seem to be able to do that as artistically.

wmw said...

Good looking plate of char siew there. I love the burnt bits thought they say it's bad for health. Anyway, if you're using a normal digicam, try shooting in macro mode (the flower icon)or Food settings which is available in some models. Focus on one part of the object and you can try moving your camera to frame the photo while still holding on halfway down on the button. That's how I take my shots with my normal digicam. Haven't graduated to DSLR yet. :o)

Hazza said...

christine:
Springy fishball sounds great! Must give it a try!

team bsg:
vibrating tummy eh? you must be thinking of something else ;)

joe:
I'm afraid I am not enough of a photography enthusiast to want to fork out for a dslr :(

daphne:
I have had digicams for 8 years and still only know the basics! Plenty to learn...

lannae:
sent recipe to you, or see my previous posting about char siu chicken rice.

jadepearl:
Can get wanton mee here in UK too, but HK style.. cannot compare to M'sia!

nic:
yeah, I burn the char siu quite often lately ... unintentionally as I am still getting used to our new grill

ling,
I will come round and cook you some whe I am next in town! :)

cameberu:
I make them out of neccisity as the local fare is so below par!

wmv:
they say eating charred food can give you cancer! well, drinking too much water can drown you. you gotta enjoy your food while you can!


Thanks all for your photography tips. I will have to dig out my camera manual as the menu is full of icons that dont mean anything to me!