This bak kwa post is from The Drop Out Diaries. Not only is it about delicious pork but from someone stepping outside her comfort zone. Robyn worked as a political reporter in the press gallery in Canberra before dropping out.
You’ve gotta love a country where people
give bacon as a gift.
Pork presents are so popular in Singapore that temporary shops have sprung up everywhere to meet the demand for bak kwa in the lead-up to the Chinese New Year.
Queuing for the city-state’s finest barbecued pork is considered a Chinese New Year tradition in Singapore. Oh, to be wealthy and have a “helper” to queue for you.
Bak kwa is translated as barbecued pork and is usually sold in thin square sheets. It looks like plastic but tastes fantastic. The chewy-sweet-salty porkiness is addictive. There’s a hint of exotic spice, there’s a sweet stickiness that has to be sucked off your fingers, there’s a satisfying chewiness.
What more could you want from a meat?
The first day of the Year of the Rabbit falls on February 3 this year. And so things are heating up in the already-hot city-state of Singapore. I’ve only ever bought 100 grams at a time so no one has bothered to tell me how long bak kwa keeps for.
“It is the embodiment of a perfect gift – a joy to give and a delight to receive,” says the packaging on the first bundle of bak kwa I bought Kim Hock Guan barbecued pork chain. The esteemed Kim Hock Guan, first set up shop in 1905 and is Singapore’s oldest bak kwa making company practicing the “art” of barbecued pork-making.
“It is an art that has been refined and continually researched on to satisfy even the finest gourmands,” the packaging says.
Rival chain bak kwa Bee Cheng Hiang has an outlet near my local supermarket. It is also good, my Darling Man says it’s better than Kim Hock Guan’s.
I found a recipe for homemade bak kwa. I haven’t tried it but it looks good. I’m not sure I want to try sticking slices of oily meat into my toaster though. That sounds like something the baby will do soon enough. Although she’ll probably put the meat into the DVD player.
In Singapore look for:
Bee Cheng Hiang at 1359 Serangoon Rd and 189 New Bridge Rd
Kim Hock Guan at 150 South Bridge Rd, 180 Bencoolen St and 107 East Coast Rd
Check out Robyn’s site The Drop Out Diaries and don’t forget to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.