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  • Difficulty Easy

Recipe Description

Bak kwa means “dried meat” in Hokkien and is known as rougan in Mandarin. However, in Cantonese-speaking families, we had always called them long yoke which means “hung meat” because traditionally they were literally hung out to dry in the sun. Its Cantonese name transliterates as dragon meat and alludes to its sweet flavour that is almost otherworldly.

Despite its availability throughout the year, bak kwa has become quite expensive in Malaysia, which is why it is usually bought and consumed as a special treat during Chinese New Year. This year being the Year of the Dragon will make gifting this auspicious-sounding food so much more meaningful.

Bak kwa is surprisingly easy to prepare at home, and if you are able to char-grill them on a live flame, it can match the signature smokiness of store-bought ones. Otherwise, baking them would yield satisfactory results, especially if you crave them when you are out of the country.

When selecting meat, choose minced pork with some fat to maintain moisture. If the meat is too lean it will become quite tough to chew. Also, basting the meat with oil during the grilling helps retain moisture.
It is crucial that the meat is marinated overnight or longer because the seasoning that contains high salt and high sugar will cure the meat to give it that reddish colour. You may also add a bit of thick caramel soy sauce or dark soy sauce to enhance its colour, but the hue will lean closer to brown than red.

The wine used for the marinade is actually mei gui lu or rose wine, which infuses a particular fragrance that is also characteristic of Chinese waxed meat. If this wine is unavailable or you don’t want to buy a whole bottle of wine that you may not use again, then you may substitute with Shaoxing wine but you will not get the same aroma.

To achieve an even thickness of 2mm when rolling out the meat, I placed the meat in between two bamboo skewers to act as a barrier to prevent the rolling pin from pressing down any lower. This gives me a slice of meat so thin that it cooks quickly and just thick enough to handle without tearing.

After cooking, allow the bak kwa to cool completely before storing them in airtight containers. Homemade bak kwa, unlike store-bought versions, doesn’t keep well and may develop mould if left unrefrigerated.
You may reheat the cold bak kwa in a toaster oven for about 5 minutes but be cautious that too much cooking will dry them out.


Recipe Ingredient

  • 600g minced pork with about 20% fat
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing wine or rose wine
  • 1⁄2 tsp five spice powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp white pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt to taste
  • oil for brushing


  1. Season the meat with all the ingredients and marinate for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator to allow the meat to cure.
  2. Weigh out the marinated meat into eight portions of about 80 grams per slice. Roll out each portion between two sheets of cling film or baking parchment with two sticks of bamboo skewers on either side to ensure that the meat is rolled out to an even thickness of about 2-3mm.
  3. Place the rolled-out meat onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 10 minutes.
  4. Flip the meat over and brush with oil, then bake for another 10 minutes. Finally, flip the meat over again, bake and place on a roasting rack to bake again for another 5 minutes until crispy and lightly charred.
  5. Allow the bak kwa to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container for about 3 days, or in the refrigerator for no more than 1 month.

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