One of my CNY must haves, heck one of my must haves whenever I’m back in SG is BAK KWA!!! I don’t even really care which one it comes from. Chain store or queue for 6 hours store, it’s all really good and heaps better than the pittance you see in Sydney. One ridiculous thing about Bak Kwa though, is the overt commercialization of the product. Over the years, the Bak Kwa companies have kept raising prices and kept coming up with rubbish ideas to reinvigorate their product. I scoffed at stuff like chicken bakkwa before but I also realize it’s not as bad as the gourmet bacon bakkwa or whatever other overpriced nonsense they come up with. Spiced bakkwa is fine but I’m not a fan of beef bakkwa or even sliced bakkwa. I’ve run through a kilo thus far. I think. Minced only.

It’s in my not so humble opinion that all bakkwa should be the cheapest version, which is the scraps of minced bakkwa. They’re great because they’re the same product if not better cos they tend to be slightly more charred but cheaper. If they haven’t got enough of that or if there’s way too much sliced scraps, you should next opt for minced pork. Everything else is sacrilege. Coins is ok but seriously big square slices are awesome if you can afford the luxury.

Honestly, it’s a dry cured pork product that’s later marinated and then grilled. Sliced pork, no matter how tender just won’t cut it because it’s whole chunks of meat dried out. Even if you use the belly, the fats are partly gone in the end product. You lose so much moisture the textures invariably hardens because of the manufacturing process. In fact, it’s that bite and chew that makes bakkwa so good. This works good with mince but with whole pork, it’s more like American style jerky, which is offputting. Most of the flavor also comes from the char and the marinade anyway. It just makes absolutely no sense at all to use anything other than mince. Ok, maybe if you used super high fat pork, like mangalitsa or kurobuta. BCH should pay me for that last one. Kurobuta bakkwa, now that’s some real ass gourmet bakkwa.

I am a firm advocate of bakkwa companies reducing their prices to a more tolerable year round level with a milder spike during CNY. It’s silly that people should have to pay $50 a kilo for it because their costs aren’t at that level at all. They totes rip people off and you know because there’s shops like everywhere! Their profit in non CNY season should also be decent given that their product range is more diversified than just bakkwa. There’s really no excuse but pure profiteering at the expense of demand, affluence, tradition and addiction. Of course, as long as people make excellent bakkwa, people will pay for it. I mean, Jamon Iberico sells at $100/kg and up… Maybe we could switch to Jamon next year and call it SNY. Another substitute could be Korean Jwipo, which is pressed fish jerky.

Who am I kidding, I’m just waiting for the stores to open so I can KOP DAT BAKKWA!!!