Pork fried rice in a bowl
Why The Pork In Chinese Fried Rice Is Frequently Red In Color
If you’ve ordered Chinese pork fried rice and wondered why the meat has a red color, it's because it's not plain, fresh pork. It's a pre-prepared barbecue pork called char siu.
Char siu is a kind of Chinese barbecued pork with a sweet flavor and a crispy red-to-maroon exterior that comes from its signature sticky barbecue sauce.
The sauce consists of hoisin sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, and fermented bean curd, AKA fermented tofu, bean cheese, or tofu cheese, which has a bright red color.
Other recipes for char siu use red yeast rice powder for color. Some restaurants even use food coloring to nail the trademark char siu look in their fried rice and other dishes.