Gourmet, bacon and 'healthy' bak kwa options – without the long queue
Chinese New Year is fast approaching, and there are healthier or luxury artisanal options that can be ordered online and delivered.
The queues are snaking around the block and the parasols are out in full force. But there are other ways to buy bak kwa this Lunar New Year that don’t include lining up for hours in the sun – unless you’re a diehard loyalist to famous traditional bak kwa brands, of course.
The following purveyors have recently gotten into the barbecued meats game and market their wares as healthier, natural or luxury artisanal options. Call it whatever you want, it’s still good old bak kwa, albeit made with better pork, less oil, less sugar or less salt. All things being equal, they are also far easier to procure.
Order online a couple of days in advance and have your bak kwa delivered or picked up from the store. No meandering queues and no braving the elements.
After setting up a factory in Singapore last year, leading Malaysian bak kwa purveyor Hock Wong Foodstuff is all set to deliver its barbecued meats throughout Singapore. Its minced pork bak kwa (S$33 for 600g/S$49 for 1kg) is wonderfully tender, though oilier and saltier than its average Singaporean counterparts’.
The limited edition barbecued bacon bak kwa (S$48 for 600g/$72 for 1kg) is sweeter and stiffer than the minced version, like a greasier lap cheong (Chinese sausage). The slices of bak kwa are sold individually wrapped in vacuum sealed bags and packed in eye-catching boxes featuring three-dimensional cut-out caricatures of the Chinese gods of luck, blessing, fortune, longevity and happiness.
If you order online at www.hockwong.com.sg, expect delivery in about two working days (delivery is free with a minimum order of $49). Alternatively, the brand has pop-up booths in shopping malls like Suntec City, VivoCity, Tampines Mall and Causeway point.
Chinese restaurant group Peach Garden began selling its own bak kwa in 2014. The production is outsourced to a food manufacturing company that also makes bak kwa for well-known brands, but developed to Peach Garden’s specifications for lower oil and sugar content.
Made with minced pork, the slices of bak kwa ($36.59 for 600g/$52.97 for 1kg) are tender, only slightly sweetened, and almost devoid of any greasy sheen.
A delivery fee of S$15 applies for orders below S$150. Alternatively, orders can be collected at Peach Garden restaurants. Order from www.peachgardenshop.com.sg.
SHANGRI-LA HOTEL SINGAPORE
The luxury hotel has teamed up with gourmet specialists Double Eight to make Artisanal Barbecued Pork (S$70 for 600g) from pork shoulder, which they deem more flavoursome and well-marbled for the purpose.
Purportedly made using a century-old recipe, the tender slices are marinated in fish sauce, sugar and a secret blend of spices, spread out on traditional bamboo sieves and grilled slowly over gently heated hardwood charcoal.
The result is supple, tender bak kwa that is less greasy and a little waxen, like Chinese sausages. Allow three working days for orders to be processed before collecting at the hotel. Order from http://bit.ly/DoubleEightBakwa.
Touted as a “healthier choice” bak kwa, Ryan’s Premium Bak Kwa (S$48.80 for 500g) uses APIQv-certified free-range Borrowdale pork, which is raised hormone-free. Made with no artificial colouring or additives, the bak kwa is said to contain half the salt and sugar content of standard bak kwa.
Thankfully, the slices are still well-flavoured and tender, though meatier and drier than most other bak kwa. At the time of writing, collection is available on 31 January, with a four-day advance order. Order from https://www.ryansgrocery.com/special.