Looking to fill your table with these decadent Chinese pork snacks? We round-up the best shops to get your hands on some tasty bak kwa – even the Halal ones!
It’s not really Chinese New Year (CNY) without pigging out on copious amounts of heart-burning festive snacks, the most popular of which is undoubtedly bak kwa – sweet, smoky meat jerky. There’s no shortage of stores hawking this savoury delight, with each of them being ardently defended by its munching advocates. But to make it easier for you to navigate the wonderful world of bak kwa, we’ve come up with our own list of favourite purveyors of this scrumptious snack.
Bee Cheng Hiang
Home-grown favourite, Bee Cheng Hiang, is definitely one of the most popular choices and is practically a household name when it comes to bak kwa. If the ridiculously long queues during CNY are any indication, Bee Cheng Hiang is a pretty safe bet if you’re looking for the classic sliced pork bak kwa ($33.00 for 600g).
Kim Joo Guan
Using a traditional recipe handed down for four generations; the Ong family are well in touch with their craft. All its bak kwa offerings are made with grain-fed Australian pork and char-grilled for a subtle smoky flavour. Fans of the classic bak kwa should try the traditional pork slices ($48 for 1kg) while those looking for a spicy kick will love the chilli pork slices ($50 for 1kg) instead.
Kim Joo Guan, 257 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058806. p. 6225 5257.
Kim Hock Guan
Another stalwart that has stood the test of time is the venerable Kim Hock Guan. With a history that dates back to 1906, Kim Hock Guan remains a family-owned and operated business with a loyal following. The brand utilises century-old production methods to dish out their traditional BBQ sliced pork and spicy sliced pork bak kwa. Kim Hock Guan avoids minced meat, so this one will be a favourite if you like the chewier and more richly-flavoured variety of bak kwa.
Peng Guan Bak Kwa
While Peng Guan lacks in variety, it more than makes up for in quality. Every order of bak kwa is handmade from scratch, and made only to order so you know you’re getting the absolute freshest. Choose between traditional bak kwa for the purists, and chilli bak kwa for you spice fiends (from $21).
Peng Guan Bak Kwa, #02-36, Block 335, Smith Street, Chinatown Complex, Singapore 050335.
Lim Chee Guan
Another local favourite, Lim Chee Guan also manages to attract insanely long queues during the CNY period. If you’re not too fond of sweeter bak kwas like at Bee Cheng Hiang and Fragrance, you should definitely give Lim Chee Guan a shot for their tender slices.
Lim Chee Guan, 203 New Bridge Road, Singapore 059429. p. 69337230.
Kim Hwa Guan
While not as big a player in the bak kwa game as the aforementioned stores, Kim Hwa Guan has its own loyal following who favour its tender, thinly sliced bak kwa. The bak kwa here comes in sealed bags as well, perfect for preserving that glazed crunchy surface (they don’t skimp on the marinade!).
Kim Hwa Guan, 2 Lorong 7 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310002. p. 9006 2026.
You’re really spoilt for choice here. In addition to regular and spicy bak kwas, Fragrance offers bacon, red yeast, honey, Kurobuta and, if you’re still in a Christmas-y mood, turkey bak kwa. Fragrance also takes the cake for having the single strangest offering: crocodile bak kwa.
Fragrance Bak Kwa, 205 Hougang Street 21, Singapore 530205. p. 6257 8608.
While bak kwa is traditionally made with pork, DenDeng house is known for its localised take that substitutes pork for Halal beef or chicken, so your Muslim friends can indulge in this traditional Chinese delicacy as well.
DenDeng House, 39 Geylang Serai, Singapore 409227. p. 6853 3544.
While meat-lovers may scoff at the idea of vegetarian bak kwa, Friendly Vegetarian’s offerings make sure your vegetarian mates aren’t left out of this CNY tradition. Its prices range from $5 to $9.50.
Friendly Vegetarian, 421 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, #01-1165, Singapore 560421. p. 6456 6607.
Goodwood Park Hotel
We were lucky enough to get a pack of Goodwood Park Hotel’s delicious bak kwa ($53.50 for 600g and $83.45 for 1kg) delivered to our office last year and we absolutely loved it! Marinated in the hotel’s special blend of spices, the bak kwa is tender, not too dry, and practically melted in your mouths. Needless to say, it didn’t last very long in our office.
Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221. p. 6737 7411.