We've all seen the insane queues, but which bak kwa in Singapore is worth your devotion? From old school classics to new creations, we've got 'em all.
It’s not really Chinese New Year without ang baos. Or pigging out on copious amounts of heart-burning festive snacks, the most popular of which is undoubtedly bak kwa – sweet, smoky pork jerky. And it’s gotta have those charred edges. We have no shortage of stores hawking this savoury delight, each of them ardently defended by their munching advocates – and they boast the snaking queues during CNY to prove it. To make it easier for you to navigate the wonderful world of bak kwa in Singapore, we’ve come up with our own list of favourite purveyors of this scrumptious snack.
Best bak kwa in Singapore
1. Century Bakkwa
If you’re looking to provide a variety of unique gourmet flavours that spice up this traditional snack, look no further. Century Bakkwa kicks the flavour game up 10 notches with its selection of roasted meats. You can get the classic charcoal grilled pork bak kwa. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, go for pineapple, lychee, truffle, and even yuzu osmanthus-flavoured bak kwa.
Century Bakkwa, shop online
2. Fyre Singapore
Unconventionally flavoured festive treats are the name of the game for Fyre Singapore. If you were lucky enough to get a taste of its mooncakes, you’ll know what we mean. Who can forget the flaky Teochew mooncake flavours? Pandan paste with a spicy shrimp top and salted egg yolk centre – what a sweet and savoury delight. The same goes for bak kwa. It’s the first ever to be smoked with lychee wood. Made with premium pork jowl and loin, you get succulent slices of smoked meat. It’s flavourful too because it’s packed with 36 spices!
Fyre Singapore, shop online
3. Bacon King
This team is in the business of smoked meats, looking to bring the true taste of American barbecue to Singapore. We can’t get over the smoked bacon here. It’s dry-cured and rubbed with herbs and spices that give it its savoury taste. The bak kwa is just as delectable. It’s smoked with oak and apple wood before being grilled over charcoal. And for a spicy kick, try the chilli flavour.
Bacon King, shop online
4. Golden Gourmet
Cofounders (and siblings) Josephine and Sky have been helping out in their family business since they were six. Tasks ranged from quality control to packing and even grilling the bak kwa. Staying true to the roots of their childhood, they’ve preserved the more than 40-year-old family recipe. Their bak kwa is freshly made every day with handmade techniques. Go for the organic chicken bak kwa if you’re looking for something guilt-free this Chinese New Year. It’s made with lacto-chicken meat, which is full of probiotics that promote better gut health!
Golden Gourmet, shop online or at #05-31, Food Xchange @ Admiralty, 8A Admiralty Street, Singapore 757437
5. Kim Tee
With over 50 years of experience, the Kim Tee brand is a familiar one. You might even hear old-timers referring to the brand as Ang Sar Lee bak kwa. This is in reference to the iconic red rooftop of its flagship location back in Serangoon Gardens. The signature bak kwa is a much-loved favourite. But if you’d like to mix it up, go for the bak kwa lucky bag packed in a festive retro tin. Each set comes with signature and mala flavoured bak kwa individually wrapped – perfect for sharing.
Kim Tee, shop online or at multiple locations including Serangoon Gardens and Toa Payoh
6. Angie’s Tempeh
For our non-meat eater friends, we haven’t forgotten about you. This vegetarian version of our classic Chinese New Year snack means you can feast along with everyone! Carefully crafted with zero animal products, the tempeh substitute mimics the texture and taste of regular bak kwa. You can even get it in truffle flavour for some added indulgence.
Angie’s Tempeh, shop online
7. Sang Hock Guan
If you really wanna go old school, make your way here for authentic, traditional treats. This quaint little old school shop in Ang Mo Kio might not be the first thing that pops to mind when the craving strikes. But it’s definitely on par with the contenders on this list. Heads up if you’re ordering in advance – it sells out pretty fast!
Sang Hock Guan, #01-446, 163 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, Singapore 560163
8. Peng Guan Bak Kwa
What Peng Guan lacks in variety, it more than makes up for in quality. Every order is handmade from scratch. Charcoal grilled to smoky perfection and done to order so you know you’re getting the absolute freshest. Choose between traditional options ($26 to $52) for the purists and chilli bak kwa for you spice fiends.
Peng Guan Bak Kwa, shop online or at multiple locations including Chinatown Complex Food Centre and Fu Lu Shou Complex
9. Xi Shi Bak Kwa
Established in 1985, this store in Singapore still makes its bak kwa using traditional methods instead of modern machinery. Try the original minced meat in spicy and non-spicy options (from $27), or go for the gold coin pork or chicken bak kwa (from $27.50). You can also opt for minced chicken bak kwa in original or seaweed sesame flavours (from $28).
Xi Shi Bak Kwa, shop online or at #02-37, 15 Woodlands Loop, Singapore 738322
10. Kim Joo Guan
Using a traditional recipe that’s been handed down over generations, the Ong family is well in touch with their craft. All the bak kwa offerings are made with grain-fed Australian pork and char-grilled for a subtle, smoky flavour. Fans of classic bak kwa should try the traditional pork slices ($68 for 1kg). Or for an extra special treat, go with the premium pork belly bak kwa ($45.50 for 500g). It’s crisp and highly addictive.
Kim Joo Guan, shop online or at multiple locations including South Bridge Road and Royal Square @ Novena
11. Kim Peng Hiang
Fancy a bit more luck and prosperity for CNY? Check out the family-run store’s pineapple bak kwa, a unique combination of savoury and sweet. But if you’re keen to stick to the traditional taste, the sliced royal pork creation is tender and juicy, and comes in bright red packaging suitable for gifting. Just beware of the long lines, because you will be waiting for a while.
Kim Peng Hiang, 465 Changi Road, Singapore 419886
12. Bee Cheng Hiang
Homegrown favourite Bee Cheng Hiang is definitely one of the more popular choices. It’s practically a household name when it comes to bak kwa in Singapore. If the ridiculously long queues during CNY are any indication, the brand’s a pretty safe bet to satiate your cravings for the classic sliced pork bak kwa ($19.20 for 300g) or the applewood version ($23.40 for 300g). For a spicy kick, there’s the chilli variant ($19.80 for 300g).
Bee Cheng Hiang, shop online or at multiple locations including Jewel Changi Airport and Nex
13. Kim Hock Guan
Another stalwart that stands the test of time? The venerable Kim Hock Guan. With a history that dates back to 1905, it remains a family-owned and operated business with a loyal following. The Singaporean brand utilises century-old production methods to dish out its traditional BBQ sliced pork and spicy sliced pork bak kwa. Plus, it avoids minced meat and uses sliced lean meat instead. This one will be a favourite if you like yours chewier and more richly-flavoured. Try bestsellers like the traditional version and spicy rendition. Or the mala bak kwa slices that’ll be a hit with any mala lover.
Kim Hock Guan, multiple locations including Yishun and Bencoolen Street
14. The Marmalade Pantry
This eatery doesn’t immediately come to mind when you think of bak kwa in Singapore, but try its popular petite chicken version ($30 for 300g) before you brush it off. Each charcoal-smoked slice is individually vacuum packed for freshness, and you won’t find any meat tenderiser, preservative, artificial colouring or flavouring in the recipe.
The Marmalade Pantry, shop online or at multiple locations including Ion Orchard and Oasia Hotel Downtown
15. Kim Hwa Guan
While not as big a player in the bak kwa game as several other stores, Kim Hwa Guan has its own loyal following who favour its tender, thinly sliced nibbles. The pieces come in sealed bags as well. Perfect for preserving that glazed crunchy surface (the store doesn’t skimp on the marinade!).
Kim Hwa Guan, multiple locations including People’s Park Food Centre and Toa Payoh Lorong 1
You’re really spoilt for choice here. In addition to the signature pork and chicken versions (from $13), Fragrance offers bacon, crispy and mala options. It also takes the cake for having one of the strangest offerings: crocodile bak kwa. Any adventurous eaters in the house?
Fragrance, shop online or at multiple locations including Nex and Plaza Singapura
17. Hu Zhen Long
It’s been around since 1948 and the current shopfront still evokes a sense of nostalgia with its traditional decor and wooden displays. Besides the traditional charcoal-grilled bak kwa, other unique options include crocodile meat and lobster variations.
Hu Zhen Long, 14 Sago Street, Singapore 059015
18. Lim Chee Guan
Another local favourite that’s been around for decades, Lim Chee Guan attracts insanely long queues during the Chinese New Year period. If you’re not too fond of the sweeter varieties of bak kwa, give this place a shot for its tender slices of signature sliced pork ($39 for 500g) and BBQ chilli pork ($40 for 500g). Or, try the BBQ prawn ($36 for 500g) and BBQ fish ($36 for 500g) versions.
Lim Chee Guan, shop online or at multiple locations including People’s Park Complex and Ion Orchard
19. Friendly Vegetarian
While protein-heads may scoff at the idea of meatless bak kwa, this store’s roasted vegan jerky makes sure your vegetarian mates aren’t left out of the CNY tradition. You can get the spicy rendition, too.
Friendly Vegetarian, shop online or at #01-23/24, 14 Pasir Panjang Wholesale Center, Singapore 110014
Time to get your fingers dirty with the best bak kwa in Singapore!