Bak Kwa: A Chinese New Year Delight

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This bak kwa recipe is perfect for Chinese New Year, which is February 10, 2024 and is the year of the Wood Dragon!

Bak kwa means barbecued pork but is more like a jerky that is sold during Chinese New Year.

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 means barbecued pork but is more like a jerky that is sold during Chinese New Year.

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.

Bak kwa means barbecued pork but is more like a jerky that is sold during Chinese New Year.

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

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. 

Images (c)Citrus and Candy

Join the Conversation

  1. Yummy, that is my favorite treats. I called it the Chinese Version of Beef Great junk food when I watching movies. yum*

  2. Great. I love pork. The pieces in the photos look so crispy and irresistible.

  3. I have beef jerky cravings all the time, I’m sure this would fit right into my lifestyle. 😛

  4. The Dropout says:

    Thanks so much for letting me do a guest post on your blog, Ayngelina.
    I’m looking at those bak kwa pictures and feeling a VERY strong urge to go down the street and buy more. It is unbelieveably good!

  5. I want to bite into that! It looks delicious… and crispy!!

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  7. the pork looks absolutely delicios

  8. Bak kwa looks really good! And I love how you found a guest post about pork. Awesome!

  9. The bottom photo looks VERY similar to pig’s ears – my dog’s favourite treats.

  10. Cathy Sweeney says:

    This looks so good. A really mouth-watering post!

  11. Want. all. that. pork. now.

  12. YUM. Um, it’s my birthday soon. I know what I want. BACON!

  13. My 9-year-old loves meat. In fact, beef jerky is her favourite thing about the USA. Looks like it will be easy to get her to go to Singapore now (gruelling 15-hour-flight notwithstanding)

  14. This looks great. I love meat, and this sounds like a great appetizer I unfortunately missed when there!

  15. Great post Robyn. Looks delicious. Happy New Year!

  16. Michael Hodson says:

    I gotta stop reading food posts before I eat dinner. Starving now.

  17. looks yummy!

  18. While the pork element did nothing for me (I’m a vegetarian! heh), I hope you’re enjoying your hippie retreat in Peru. 😉

  19. adventureswithben says:

    I’ve been to Singapore a few times, I’ll definitely seek this one out on my net trip!

  20. Nick Laborde says:

    Do not try to put meat in the DVD player… I’m just sayin, not that I’ve tried it before.

  21. Oh, yeah! I would whole-heartedly welcome bacon as a present!! It’s my bday on Friday- who’s sending me some?!!?

  22. John in France says:

    I’m trying to think what I would drink with all this pork? A quandry?

  23. Oh wow, I missed this when I was in Singapore…doesn’t surprise me, though…all the food is good there.

  24. Great piece! Snapping into a Slim Jim just isn’t going to do it for me anymore. I definitely look forward to trying Bak kwa.

  25. The Domestic Yogi says:

    I don’t eat pork; I just don’t like it. But man, this made me drool. I would totally try it!

  26. Delicious, so delicious.
    Glad this is from Singapore and not from South Korea at the mo…lots of pork going to waste up there,,,sadly.

  27. Michael Figueiredo says:

    That really does look good!

  28. I want some…

  29. Todd | Todd'sWanderings says:

    YUM! I’ll have to see if my wife can put up a recipe for this delicious pork!

  30. Pork as a New Year gift, now isn’t that something. I like the crispy look of it. iÄ’ll be in Singapore in September and make sure to check this out.

  31. Wow!! I’ve only given bacon as a gift once, more as a joke than anything else. But you’ve got me rethinking that. 🙂 I love the looks of those crispy squares, mmmm. 🙂

  32. I’ve never heared of a meat present but seems like a good idea. All my male friends will def appreciate it.. The pictures are great and the meat looks irresistable.

  33. joshywashington says:

    holy pork pieces batman, have fun at your retreat!

  34. Now that is truly magical!

  35. Th pig is such a wonderful fruit!

  36. Every time I see bacon I think of you now! I must try this when I finally get to Asia 🙂

  37. Migrationology says:

    The sweet flavor of that pork is incredible! I was in Macau not long ago and the streets are lined with sheets of BBQ pork…and they offer samples!

  38. nice! I agree with Inka… I like the crispy look of it 🙂

  39. New York City Events February 2011 says:

    wow its look so yummy,Still my mouth is melting to seen this delicious, Its look really yummy. thanks for share it.

  40. Alison @ Guest Travel Writers says:

    Pork is fantastic and bacon is simply the best.

  41. Alison @ Guest Travel Writers says:

    I think that recipe meand using those sanwich toasters – not the slotted pop up types 🙂

  42. Justin Hamlin says:

    I don’t think Ayngelina could have picked a better person to write a guest post! Especially one centered around bacon.

    Great post Robyn!

  43. Droll… this is one of my favourite food! Bee Cheng Hiang is the best, I even tried to sneak it out to Canada once, only to get it confiscated! If you go to Sydney, there’s night market in the China Town every Friday, they have it there too.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I wonder if you could get it in Toronto…

  44. Nigel Abery says:

    I love Chinese food. These flat BBQ pork sheets are really tasty (I really like the ones with Chilli, not sure how healthy they are though) are so common in China, Singapore, Thailand and other parts of Asia but a bit difficult to get in Australia.

  45. Looks very Yum! I never test this Bak Kwa before. I don’t think I can find this here in Boston. Thanks for Sharing with us. Beautiful photos, Loved it:)

  46. I love Chinese food. These flat BBQ pork sheets are really tasty (I really like the ones with Chilli, not sure how healthy they are though) are so common in China, Singapore, Thailand and other parts of Asia but a bit difficult to get in Australia.

  47. Lombok Wander Tour and Travel says:

    Give me some as well, yummy

  48. This is my favorite. I initially tried this when a Chinese friend gave us a pack of these yummy jerkies. Super love this. Now, I am craving for one.

  49. Jillian Michelle says:

    I need to try this! It reminds me a little bit of American-style beef jerky. And a little bit of Korean BBQ (since that is also barbecued pork…well mostly haha). Looks yummy! <3

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