Christmas has come and gone, and yet the festive season doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Lunar New Year is coming along at full speed and we are excited for another excuse to pig out on all the snacks and goodies. The crowd-favourite everyone looks forward to? That’s definitely bak kwa. For the unassuming, bak kwa is a sweet and salty dried meat (similar to meat jerky) glazed with a multitude of seasonings and then grilled to a delicious smoky finish.
Although bak kwa can be consumed at any time of the year, nothing beats relishing it during Chinese New Year with all the other decadent snacks, ready to be devoured. We gathered some of the best bak kwa places in town to get your house ready for the festivities, as well as to impress all the relatives you see once a year.
Shangri-la Hotel has a new creation. The princess-cut bak kwa, concocted with a century-old recipe from China’s Fujian province, comes in an exceptional thickness of 3 millimetres. It is tenderly prepared in small batches with premium pork shoulder meat and slow-grilled over hardwood charcoal. One might imagine hard slices full of burnt, charred ends, but the special treat remains juicy, tender and smoky throughout.
A local joint dating back to 1948, Hu Zheng Long’s traditional bak kwa is a blast to the past. Their mission is simple and sincere: to retain the original flavours in their bak kwa while serving their customers with honesty. The traditional bak kwa is highly sought after here but don’t miss interesting varieties like the crocodile meat bak kwa and the lobster bak kwa.
Peng Guan may not be the oldest shop on this list, but it prides itself in making each slice from scratch. Each piece of bak kwa is lovingly made with premium Brazilian pork, coupled with hours of painstaking preparation time. The queues at other stores can take up to hours at a go, so it is comforting to know that Peng Guan offers home delivery services.
Kim Joo Guan is usually the top three choices of any Singaporean’s’ list, and rightfully so. Each slice of the pork is made with sliced (rather than minced) grain-fed Australian pork and then char-grilled for a bit of that smoky flavour. Regulars come for the traditional pork slices, but often stay for the chilli pork slices that come with a pleasantly spicy kick.
Xi Shi Bak Kwa, or Cecilia Minced Pork is a local joint that not many like to share. They are best known for infusing traditional Chinese herbs in all of their bak kwa products that aid in boosting blood circulation. Grab a bite of their famed Monascus bak kwa when you’re here. Monascus, also known as red yeast rice, is believed to hold cholesterol-lowering properties, which is the perfect balance to the artery-clogging jerky we love.