Bakkwa Rediscovered

Bakkwa, or Chinese sweet dried meat, was a staple of mine during my undergrad days.  It was easy to store in the dorm, always ready to eat, and can either be a snack or a viand.  My favourite was the chicken barbecue coin made by Bee Cheng Hiang, which has a branch in Robinson’s Place in Ermita.  After undergrad, I shied away from most forms of bakkwa (and meat jerky in general), mostly because I no longer had to store food in a clothes cabinet and partly because it probably wasn’t doing wonders for my health.

On a recent trip to Singapore, though, I chanced upon a branch of Bee Cheng Hiang in Chinatown and rediscovered an old friend.  I bought a box of chicken barbecue; S$18 for 280 grams.  At S$1 = P31.7, that’s P203.78 for every 100 grams.  Not really the cheapest bakkwa out there– Fat & Thin has a cheaper pork version (marketed as tocino) for about half the price– but quite exquisite.  Only BCH makes soft bakkwa (and made of chicken), as far as I can tell, but Fat & Thin’s pork version is also quite acceptable.

The great thing about bakkwa is that you don’t really need to heat it, but unlike canned goods it doesn’t have that canned/fake flavour.  It was meant to be eaten in its preserved state at room temperature.  If you do choose to heat it, you have a number of options at your disposal: microwave it, toast it, broil it, grill it, even dunk it in hot water (while in the pouch).  A meal can consist of microwaved bakkwa, fried egg, and garlic rice plus a side of fresh tomatoes.  Or you can add it to fried rice or an omelette.  Or it can be a viand all its own– a recent meal was just broiled chicken barbecue bakkwa and steamed rice.

I wouldn’t recommend having bakkwa as a regular fare, but it would make for a good substitute for canned goods from time to time.  It’s for those times when you’re just too tired (or lazy) to make a proper meal or go out and buy food.  It was student friendly back then; it is definitely bachelor friendly now.

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2 thoughts on “Bakkwa Rediscovered

  1. Love these… only we call it “ma pa”, like tapa hehe… and they’re actually quite similar too. They’re sold much cheaper there than at Bee Cheng Hiang (thought they don’t necessarily taste better).

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