Bak Kwa

4.84 stars

'Bak kwa' is the Chinese version of meat jerky with a combination of flavours from the five spice powder, soy sauce, oyster sauce and fermented tofu. It is usually grilled over a charcoal fire and is a very popular gift among friends and families during the Chinese New Year.

Preparation 15 mins
Cooking 60 mins


Chinese BBQ Meat Jerky, 肉干, Bak Kua, Long Yoke Korn

Malaysian, Singaporean

Nutrition per Serving

831 kcal
58 g
38 g
64 g

Bak kwa means dried meat in the Hokkien dialect. In Mandarin, it is known as ‘rou gan’. This meat jerky is made up of minced pork usually and a variety of ingredients that provides amazing aroma. Bak kwa strongly reminds me of Chinese New Year as during this time of the year, it is probably the most precious commodity and is rather expensive. The streets in Chinatown would be extremely smoky as various stalls go about with the preparation to cope with the demand. It has been increasingly popular to present these as gifts during the festive season despite the price increase over the years. Hence, why not give it a try making them instead? It would be more meaningful too.

Type of meat for bak kwa

The type of meat used is important when making bak kwa. Choosing meat which contains a good amount of fats would enhance the flavours during the cooking process. I prefer mincing the pork shoulder/butt. However, if minced meat is used, opt for those which has about 20% fat.

Smoky flavours

Additionally, the smoky taste of bak kwa is the key to its deliciousness. It is best prepared over a charcoal grill. If you do not have one, using an oven as shown in the video is also possible albeit the smoky aroma may not be present. However, this would not in any way lessen the deliciousness of the bak kwa.

Chicken or beef bak kwa

While bak kwa is known to be made with pork, beef or even chicken may certainly be used too. Simply replace pork with the meat of your choice. If you want to prepare chicken bak kwa, choose chicken thighs for more succulent meat.

Fermented red tofu

Fermented red tofu is meant to add colour and flavour to bak kwa. Some may find the taste too strong for their liking. Therefore, use only half of the recommended amount.

All about honey and its substitute

At the end of the cooking process, honey-water mixture is brushed on to the bak kwa for the final touch. Honey is recommended as it's easy to spread and for its natural sweetness. Just do choose the classic honey (e.g. Acacia or Clover) as other types of honey may have strong flavours.

Besides honey, you can use maltose.

How to store bak kwa?

Bak kwa is best consumed within 3 days for its freshness. It should not be kept for more than 7 days and must be stored in an airtight container before being refrigerated. Before consuming, either steam it for 10 minutes, microwave at very low heat for 2 minutes or pan fry over low heat for 5 minutes.

Can bak kwa be frozen?

Yes. Store them in an airtight container or in freezer bags with the air pressed out to avoid freezer burn. Before consuming, either steam it for 15 minutes, microwave at very low heat for 3 minutes or pan fry over high heat for about 4-5 minutes.


500 g
1 tbsp
soy sauce
1 tbsp
fish sauce
1 tbsp
sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
five spice powder
1 tbsp
rose wine
1 cube
red tofu (fermented)
1⁄2 tbsp
oyster sauce
80 g
1 1⁄2 tbsp
1 tsp

Steps to Prepare

Bak Kwa Step 1

Step 1 of 4

    • 500 g pork
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp fish sauce
    • 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
    • 1⁄4 salt
    • 1⁄4 pepper
    • 1⁄4 five spice powder
    • 1 tbsp rose wine
    • 1 cube red tofu (fermented)
    • 1⁄2 tbsp oyster sauce
    • 80 g sugar

Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, salt, pepper, five spice powder, rose wine, red tofu, oyster sauce and sugar to minced meat. If you do not like the taste of fermented tofu, use 1/2 cube. It should have a sticky texture once it is thoroughly mixed.

Bak Kwa Step 2

Step 2 of 4

Flatten meat on a piece of baking paper with a rolling pin. Heat oven at 180 degrees Celsius and bake meat for 15 minutes.

Bak Kwa Step 3

Step 3 of 4

    • 1 1⁄2 tbsp honey
    • 1 tsp water

Remove juice extracted from the meat and turn it over. Bake for another 15 minutes. Transfer meat onto a new piece of baking paper. Brush the mixture of honey and hot water onto the surface of the meat. Place on a higher rack in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes. Then, turn meat over to apply honey and water mixture. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes.

Bak Kwa Step 4

Step 4 of 4

Allow to cool and cut into desired size. Grilled bak kwa is best eaten within 3 days. It can be kept refrigerated for up to 7 days and should be heated in a pan, grilled or microwaved before consuming.

Published: February 8, 2015

2 Discussions

a year ago

Helena Cheah

Make sure to request for extra fat into the minced pork. It will be soft and juicier.

a year ago


Yum yum! Great tip Helena! <3

a year ago

Helena Cheah

Thanks. Tried 3 times. 1st and 3rd times without fat, 2nd with fat. The 2nd time looks and taste juicier and softer. Really a big different. Thanks for all the authentic recipes. Keep it up Grace! ^3^

4 days ago


Hi Grace, can I use chicken breast for chicken bak kwa? Please advise. Thanks!

4 days ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Yes! Do follow the tips mentioned in the section "Type of meat for bak kwa". Fats will make the bak kwa juicy.

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