Roast suckling pig is one of the internationally known dishes with national varieties in almost every part of the world. A version of this centuries-old dish is also found in China, where it is traditionally prepared on a spit roast in specially designed charcoal ovens.
Usually, young piglets – up to eight weeks old – are roasted, because of the high collagen content which ensures the meat stays juicy and tender. Before roasting, it is traditionally marinated in a mixture of five spice powder, salt, rice wine, vinegar, and sugar.
Occasionally, as a unique Chinese ingredient, tofu is added to the marinade to flavor the skin and make it firmer. The animal is usually roasted at extremely high temperatures which make the skin extra crispy, while the meat remains succulent and moist.
In Chinese culture, a whole roasted pig is a sign of prosperity. Because of this, at weddings, festivities, and many special occasions, the animal is served whole and is sliced right before serving. Chinese-style roasted pigs are commonly found in numerous Chinese restaurants around the world.