This is known by so many different names. Westerners will probably refer this as jerky but I think a lot of people just calls it dried meat. Dried Meat is a popular (an expensive) snack in Malaysia and Singapore. In chinese, it is known as bakkwa or rougan in Mandarin.
Dried Meat is sold by the weight, typically in kg or in catty (a chinese measurement of weight). It costs over $60 for 1 kg.
Dried Meat is a very common gift, especially during festivals like chinese new year. Needless to say, when I was in Malaysia I bought a few of these and also received a few from friends. It is always packaged in some form of red packaging — red being an auspicious colour to the chinese.
Wing Heong and Kiew Brothers are the two most popular brands in Malaysia.
Dried meat can be made of several kinds of meat. The most popular meat is pork (below). Chicken and prawns were also popular.
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I am a big fan of dried meats, but have never tried Chinese dried meats… this is something I need to keep an eye out for next time I’m at our Asian market =) It looks wonderful!
Does Canada Customs have a problem with meats from the outside? I know we can’t bring back any of that dried meats from Asia to the US. In fact, it’s one of the first questions US Customs asks: You got any meats? It’s too bad because we really like that stuff too! We’ve tried the ones from HK, Macau and Taiwan and in our opinion, the Macau ones are the best.
Hi Lea: We have dried meat in Vancouver but they are simply not the same. They are a lot more drier and tougher.
Hi Erick: I really don’t know if Customs Canada have problems with bringing in meat. I heard from friends that it’s a no-no but I simply was not asked. So, I got some through. The sad part is they are all gone now! 🙁
Ben, you’re lucky you didn’t get caught for smuggling dried pork into Canada (hehehe).
Hi Erik, Canada customs’ restriction is the same as U.S., no meat, no vegetables, no fruits, no flowers.
The price of dried meat isn’t too bad if you factor in houw much the meat shrinks during the drying process. There’s a good amount of meat in a catty.
In California, we’re blessed with several regional producers/importers of Asian dried meats who use the traditional methods. Champion Foods tends to be my choice as a dried meat supplier.
Hi Sabrina: I got away this time didn’t I? 🙂 I was already to declare it if Customs Canada asked me. I guess it’s worth risking it confiscated. I’ll do that again.
Hi Chubbypanda: We have regional producers here too, in Richmond — the Soo brand. But really, they cannot compare with what we had in Malaysia — simply not the same.
We should be like Bill Clinton: “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. Unfortuntely, I always have bad luck with Customs, especially if I come back from Asia. We’ll see this time…
Ben, I agree with you, is worth to take the risk especially those dried meat sold here are not as good and expensive. If they ask, just let them confiscate.
Just for info for those who are in the U.S., this year, my sister in-law went back to Singapore and brought bird nests back to
the U.S. Of course, she was asked to declare all items brought back. She put bird nests thinking is not meat and she can bring them in. Guess what, they confiscated them because of bird flu in Asia. She was so sad because they were top grade bird nests and cost a few hundred bucks.
Ouch…what an expensive lesson. If we need that stuff, we’ll just drive up to Vancouver and bring it back.
Oh Sabrina — that was painful! If that happen to me, I guess I will not be able to sleep for a week! OK, Bird Nests falls under my “don’t ask, don’t tell” category — right, Erick?
I am from Singapore. I now live in South Dakota. I miss the food from home and try to replicate them as much as possible here. I make pretty good “bak kwa” and sell them at local bazaars. Everyone who has tried it just loves it.
Hi Mei, you must be a great cook to be able to replicate the “bak kwa”. Can you share the recipe? 🙂 My family will be most grateful if I can make bak kwa at home.
Howdy! Howdy!,I’m Li, from S’pore, lives in Corpus Christi Texas.I had been craving for bak kwa for a long time. Still remember the taste of the meat. I just read that Mei have the recipe. Could you share the recipe? Thank you
Hi guys, its good to hear that you all loves bak kwa and am glad that you posted Wing Heong. Thanks Ben.
Check out this website (WWW.HOCHUBEE.COM)for Singapore style bak kwa. They can vacumm pack and mail it anywhere within the United States.
Well if u guys would like to have some bak kwa, just drop me a note we can deal it online and items will be delivered to u/ Sounds good yah…. but only the brand Wing Heong is available. BTW I am the successor of the business from my family in the future.
Hi Andrew: Hmmm … I bet you have big plans to build the Wing Heong brand bigger. You planning on bringing it internationally? There is a big manufacturer just a few blocks from my home … they are famous in Vancouver … called Soo Jerky. Their Bah Kwa is nowhere near yours though.
Dear Ben, thanks for your kind compliments. Did try to talk to some people in the past, people seems interested however none of them had given me any positive answer as what I am looking for is a business partner overseas. Perhaps in the future I might be able to bring it somewhere but it depends on my family at the present time.
i have a recipe for bakkwa
that is pretty good and is my concoction. its as close as you’l get to the real thing. i also used one of my own ingredients which makes it even better
“maple syrup”. email me and il send you the recipe.
Hello fellow Singaporeans, Malaysian!
We are a small group of Sing/Malaysians living in Colorado. I’ve been here 9 years! Naturally we miss home food especially bakkwa! We’d be happy to buy some if it’s available in the US. Anyone so generous to share the recipe will be most deeply appreciate by us all – all 7 families here. Thanks in advance!
Check out Suanne’s Bak Kwa recipe here: http://chowtimes.com/2007/06/05/bak-kwa/
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Hi Ben, spending my weekend going thru your old blogs and stumbled across this “Bak Kwa” post. You mentioned Soo brand, but have you tried Bee Kim Heng on Fraser & 26th? Their Bak-kwa seem to be more authentic, but nowadays, I find them to be a little tougher than before. Perhaps they are banned from using bicarbonate soda on their meat by Health Canada! BTW, I recently tried some really crispy Bak-kwa from Thailand & they were good!! Incidentally, they were brought in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” means….LOL!!
Hi HM: No, we had never tried Bee Kim Heng’s Bak Kwa before. Suanne makes great Bak Kwa at home. Have you seen her recipe on Bak Kwa before? It is on http://chowtimes.com/2007/06/05/bak-kwa/ … oh, I once tried to bring in Bak Kwa from Malaysia by carrying over. I was stopped by customs in the US and had to dump them — all 5 kgs of it. What a waste. 🙂 Ben
Sorry to hear of your losing 5kg of Bak-kwa! For us, we usually buy enough to consume during our flight since airline food is always yukky! I even went as far as “tapao-ing” roast goose rice for my flight once….LOL!! Anyways, yes I’ve seen Suanne’s Bak-kwa recipe & will definitely attempt it! I’ve all the ingredints except for the “Gum-Cho” which I need to get. Do give Bee Kim Heng Jerky a try. Theirs is $20/lb, but they also sell bits & pieces @ $10. Their “kai-chai-piang” cookies & pork floss also good!
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