Here in Singapore, I have discovered my perfect snack. I like to call it, “meat candy.”
While sweets remain my first love, meat has always held a special place in my heart. For better or for worse, I have always been a carnivore. As a kindergartener, I wanted London broil on my birthday and whenever the family ate roast chicken, I’d go straight for the drumstick. A six-year old gnawing on a chicken leg may not be a pretty image, but it’s the honest, mid-western truth.
The South East Asian delicacy, “Bakkwa,” has me hooked and I will never turn my nose up at beef jerky lovers ever again. Bakkwa is sweet, dried pork formed into thin sheets. A meat Fruit Roll-Up comes to mind. While some is made of minced pork, other more expensive versions are sliced from solid pieces of meat.
The sweetness level is significantly higher than what Americans might be accustomed to, but that is also its appeal. Moist, sweet, and subtly spicy (There are both spicy and traditional varieties. The spicy Bakkwa has an equal level of sweetness, but moderately intense heat that has a delightful balancing effect.)
Throughout Singapore there are stores dedicated to Bakkwa. I’ve learned to spot them from a distance. It’s not difficult to do because their awnings and décor are bright orange. The combination of Singaporean heat and the fiery glow, gives the impression that you’ve set foot into a rotisserie, or perhaps the depths of hell. Meat candy is just that sinful.