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
Led by the culinary prowess of 30-year-old chef and entrepreneur, Simbian Chua, Century Bakkwa has recently been named the Best Bakkwa in Asia in 2023. The brand’s commitment to traditional methods of preparation is evident in every bite. Using a charcoal-grilling technique, this culinary gem imparts a unique smokiness that sets its bakkwa apart.
We also love the brand’s innovative creations – there’s something for every adventurous palate. Try unique flavours like hawthorn bakkwa, yuzu osmanthus bakkwa and more fruity creations. If you’re a fan of truffle, the black truffle bakkwa promises an aromatic bite. Plus, try the bakkwa croffle for an addictive treat!
Century Bakkwa, shop online or at 30 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209358
2. Old Seng Choong
Old Seng Choong is best known for its selection of premium local snacks and confectioneries. We’re talking pandan chiffon cake, kueh lapis, and cookies in flavours like hae bee hiam, gula melaka, and pandan coconut. Its truffle bak kwa is back on sale, marinated with its very own secret recipe and a blend of fragrant summer black truffle and white truffle oil. Heaven!
Old Seng Choong, shop online
3. 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
4. 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 lychee wood before being grilled over charcoal.
Bacon King, shop online
5. 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
6. 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 you can also pick from options like chilli and truffle bak kwa.
Kim Tee, shop online or at multiple locations including Serangoon Gardens and Toa Payoh
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 pork and char-grilled for a subtle, smoky flavour. Fans of classic bak kwa should try the gourmet traditional pork slices ($64 for 1kg). Or for an extra special treat, go with the premium pork belly bak kwa ($43.50 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 (from $21.60) or the applewood version (from $26.40). For a spicy kick, there’s the chilli variant (from $22.80).
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.
Kim Hock Guan, multiple locations including Yishun and Bencoolen Street
14. 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 and BBQ chilli pork. Or, try the BBQ prawn and BBQ fish versions.
Lim Chee Guan, shop online or at multiple locations including People’s Park Complex and Ion Orchard
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 $13.50), Fragrance offers bacon, honey, 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. 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
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!