Bak kwa is a meat snack commonly consumed in Singapore and Malaysia. It is produced by using a traditional food preservation technique that was developed in Southern China1. After preserving the meat by salting and drying under the sun, the bak kwa is grilled with a combination of spices, soy sauce, and sugar over charcoal for a smoky flavor2.

Previously consumed only during festive seasons such as the Lunar New Year, bak kwa is now a favorite staple that is readily available for daily consumption1. Although prices are inflated during peak seasons, bak kwa is relatively affordable during off-peak periods3.

Bak kwa is usually made from pork meat. However, there are other meat options available such as beef and chicken. There is also a vegetarian option made from soy to cater to a wider target market. Bak kwa can be consumed as a side dish or a snack1. Innovative offerings of bak kwa also include crocodile, fish, lobster, prawn, duck, and turkey4. There are many renowned bak kwa brands that consumers in Asia can buy from. In Singapore, one of the leading bak kwa brands in the industry is Bee Cheng Hiang. The company has 42 retail outlets across Singapore and has plans to expand internationally to include over 290 outlets across ten countries including China, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines5.

Most bak kwa brands are not Halal-certified as they contain pork, which Muslims are not able to consume6. However, dendeng is the Halal version of the traditional bak kwa, where Halal-certified meat such as chicken and beef are used instead6Dendeng is sold in bazaars as a unique street snack in Singapore and Malaysia7. Some of these stalls have created inventive snacks with dendengsuch as the taco dendeng and dendeng pizza8,9.


1 Chinatownology (2017). Bakkwa (BBQ Meat) 肉干[Online] Available at: http://www.chinatownology.com/bakkwa.html

2 The Finder (2016). Bak Kwa: What is it and Why is it Popular During Chinese New Year in Singapore? [Online] Available at: http://www.thefinder.com.sg/eat-drink/takeaways/bak-kwa-what-it-and-why-it-popular-during-chinese-new-year-singapore

3 Dollars And Sense (2016). Why Bak Kwa Costs More During Chinese New Year [Online] Available at: http://dollarsandsense.sg/why-bak-kwa-costs-more-during-chinese-new-year/

4 ETHOZ (2017). 7 Types Of Bak Kwa To Lookout For This CNY [Online] Available at: http://www.ethozgroup.com/types-of-bak-kwa-chinese-new-year-cny/

5 Bee Cheng Hiang (2016). Our Presence [Online] Available at: http://www.beechenghiang.com.sg/our-story/our-presence.html

6 Serious Eats (2008). Snapshots from Asia: Bak Kwa, Chinese Pig Candy [Online] Available at: http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/01/snapshots-from-asia-bak-kwa-chinese-pig-candy.html

7 SG Asia City (2016). 15 classic snacks in Singapore’s Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar [Online] Available at: http://sg.asia-city.com/city-living/news/15-classic-ramadan-bazaar-snacks-singapore

8 The New Paper (2016). Breaking fast at the bazaar [Online] Available at: http://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/breaking-fast-bazaar

9 Shout.sg (2016). Things to Eat: Geylang Serai Bazaar 2016 [Online] Available at: http://shout.sg/things-to-eat-geylang-serai-bazaar-2016/