Bak kwa, or dried barbeque pork meat, is one of the most exotic foods served during Chinese New Year. I can celebrate this occasion without anything, but not bak kwa. Back in old days, we only get to have bak kwa once a year and there is only one choice available – pork.
The history of bak kwa is back dated to the Fujian province in China where it is considered a Hokkien delicacy. It was said that the leftover meat would be preserved by slicing the meat into thin sheets and marinating them with sugar and spices, before air-drying the slices and cooking them over a hot plate. When the immigrants to Nanyang brought this delicacy over, it became immensely popular and later on, more varieties are made available too. For instance, lobster meat, prawns or duck, to name a few.
Recent years, as the trend move towards healthy lifestyle, some families started to make their own bak kwa which is preservative free and less sweeter. I tried both methods – oven and barbeque grill plate with charcoal, my preference is still barbeque grill plate with charcoal which give it a smokier taste, especially after you ‘sun dried’ the meat. My family gave their thumbs up after tested my homemade bak kwa and this gave me the confidence to make more. At least I can enjoy a healthier and cheaper bak kwa, that equally taste good.