In Respect of the Bak Kwa

I love Bak Kwa. It is the one thing that makes Chinese New Year all worth it.

It’s time to stuff your face with pineapple tarts, guzzle down not-so-sweet packet drinks like you spent the last 12 months in the desert, and pretend those tasty /love letters/ are cigars.

But respect the Bak Kwa. It has been sliced to a perfect thickness that makes it just chewy not tough, burnt just a little to give that extra punch in flavour and glazed such that it glistens in the light. Think about the hours spent into preparing it and the host’s effort to queue for hours to put it on his table.

Every single piece should be savoured, not chowed down. A good estimate is about 18 chews per bite, which breaks down the meat nicely, allowing the flavours and fragrance to swirl in your mouth. It is basic respect to the meat and your host. And when you are done, it is good manners to lick your fingers but do not wipe your lips. That fatty oil is nature’s lip balm. 

For the next three days, you have no need to complain about putting on extra pound, be glad that you are part of this worldwide Chinese feast. Then on Monday, revisit this page, watch the video again, and get moving.


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