Bee Cheng Hiang was started in 1933 and it sells an extensive range of barbecue meat and floss products and has over 40 outlets in Singapore.
Bee Cheng Hiang
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Bak kwa is a must have during Chinese New Year - it is an honorary member at every gathering. There are only a few reputable Bak Kwa stores in Singapore and Bee Cheng Hiang is one of them. Before and during Chinese New year there would be extremely long queues in front of Bee Cheng Hiang outlets and they could stretch up to 3 hours long.
Besides Bak Kwa, Bee Cheng Hiang is also famous for their pork floss. Sold in tins, it is a very popular condiment in Chinese dinners and Singaporeans would often add it on top of their bowl of piping hot rice. Bee Cheng Hiang is one of the most popular homegrown brands and has even expanded overseas to China, Hongkong and Malaysia. It is a part of Singapore’s culture and pride, I hope it remains this way in the long run!
Still remember the popular advertisement for bee cheng hiang by Sharon Aw, 美珍香，香味肉干!
Ba kwa, also known as barbequed meat to super dry texture.
Every year whenever it comes to Chinese New Year, Ba Kwa is always a must have in our family! And my family usually buy Ba kwa from bee cheng hiang because of its unique taste of the pork oil that is emerged out of the meat bit by bit as you munch the meat in your mouth!
And the ba kwa from bee cheng hiang, is slightly burnt at the sides to have that slightly crispy texture from the sides and succulent texture from the middle. However if you want to try their ba kwa be sure to buy it on normal days rather than during festive seasons such as chinese new year, as the queue is pretty long and frustrating.
Bee Cheng Hiang's barbecued meat has made a name for itself - for swimming in oil and being overpriced. Nevertheless, ignore these factors and it is an extraordinary "exotic" dish.
As stated, I would recommend placing the piece of barbecued meat in between paper towels to soak up the oil first, and do it multiple times! When i first bit into the piece of chunky meat, the oil literally squirted out , so much so that it felt like water!
Actually, I feel that barbecued meat is quite overrated. It really is nothing else other than a thick piece of chunky meat, barbecued with gallons of oil. That having said, it still is a must buy during the Chinese New Year festive season, for it is a symbol of our Chinese culture and our favourite food, pork!
Notwithstanding, Bee Cheng Hiang's barbecued meat is more often that not, freshly made and is very fresh. They do not stinge on the amount of meat they give, and in fact, provide it in abundance! Be sure to order their barbecue meat beforehand (if you are ordering it during the festive seasons), else you will probably have to wait for very long due to the popularity of this local dish.
Bak Kwa's prices are jacked up during festive seasons and the shops are rushing to meet quotas set by the customers as well as from the sales team so bak kwa can get pricier than on average days. I have bought bak bwa on both peak and off-peak seasons. During off-peak seasons, prices are lower and bak kwa tastes better than that in peak seasons generally. The meat is roasted to near perfection and is not that dry and tough as compared to those you purchase during festive seasons. There is also the queue factor that makes quite a bit of difference while demand for bak kwa is high and when it is not.
Of course, there are some that argue that bee cheng hiang's bak kwa tastes good during peak periods, or even better then, but this is my experience, and I would recommend waiting till slightly after the chinese new year period to purchase extra bak kwa you have cravings for - where there will be sales and more tender bak kwa! I would recommend people to go to the bee cheng hiang outlet at chinatown. There is a constant flow of tourists there so I'd like to think that the standards of bak kwa there are slightly better than the usual ones where there might be the problem of reheating (during off peak seasons).
Ba Kwa is a local delicacy which is a must-have every Lunar New Year. After spring-cleaning, comes the buying of Lunar New Year goods, and every year my Mother would bring me along to shopping 'tours' organised by Community Clubs. Factory sales are common at that period of time, and Bee Cheng Hiang does not make an exception.
However, we usually get our goods many days before the New Year, and Bee Cheng Hiang's Ba Kwa is unable to preserve itself for that period of time, which disappoints me since it comes straight from the factory. It turns mouldy sometimes before we open it. Another poor side of Bee Cheng Hiang's Ba Kwa is its texture, which comes in between 'rock-hard' and 'block of ice'. Its hard texture is unbearable, especially for the elderly, who have less teeth to bite into it. To be fair though, its flavour of Ba Kwa is still retained, other products such as their pork and chicken floss are still up to standard. It would be great if Bee Cheng Hiang would soften the texture and prolong the storage period of their Ba Kwa!
All in all, I would recommend Bee Cheng Hiang to a friend, but only for its Pork and Chicken Floss (and other products of course).
Bee Cheng Hiang is one of the top popular brand in Singapore. Selling not only Bak Hwa, they also sell pork floss, chicken floss, etc. Personally, I love their mini bak kwa. It is convenient and taste similar to their original version of bak kwa.
However, I have to admit that the meat (original version)is abit hard as compared to other brands. Also, compared to the past, its standard has dropped. I think the price is also a bit expensive and I only would purchase during sales period. Not to say, during CNY period the price is almost double.
Overall score, a 3.
Despite it being one of the more popular bak kwa brands in Singapore, I have never really taken a liking to their bak kwa. Most of the time the meat is a little too tough and dry for my taste. What is more, I never liked the slightly burned taste of their bak kwa and often end up cutting off the blackened edges, which is really rather troublesome. Furthermore, it is a tad expensive for such average quality bak kwa, which puts me off buying from them. No doubt they have a loyal following from their long history, but they need to make improvements before other competitors slowly take over their position of No.1 bak kwa brand in Singapore.
Bak kwa is my comfort food when I'm studying overseas: every time I miss home, I dig inside my cupboard for a small vacuum-packed slice of bak kwa. I know it's quite wasteful to seal tens of tiny slices of bak kwa, but it helps prevent me from bingeing on a sinful snack.
Things like vacuum-packed bak kwa is what makes Bee Cheng Hiang stand out, I guess - they are always coming up with new innovative products. What's more, the other items in their repertoire, like meat floss and crispy prawn rolls, are just as delicious.
Why Bee Cheng Hiang's bak kwa over other famous brands? I'm not a very discerning bak kwa consumer so I don't really know. I suspect it boils down to your extended family's (if you are Chinese) preference/tradition for Chinese New Year.
Bee cheng hiang is my best recommendation for bah kwa. It can be found in any shopping mall and it has a long history. Quality wise, i dare not comment on because i only buy it once or twice a year for the festive season but it is something that represents singapore well. during chinese new year, there is always a long queue in front of bee cheng hiang.
The price normally stays the same throughout the year unless there are sales, and then it increases sharply when the chinese festive season comes along. There are two types of bah kqa, handmade ones and machine made ones. I like the handmade one which are generally more expensive and fin they have a lot more taste than the machines made ones. You have to chew it slowly to let the flavour will come out in your mouth. The machines made ones are generally softer and have less taste. There are also chicken, beef and pork bah kwa to choose from.
Of course there are other bah kwa shops that sells better quality bah kwa but they are located far and difficult to find. Bee cheng hiang is a ubiquitous franchise that can be found in any shopping center and over time it has even come to represent Singapore culture as Bee Cheng Hiang exchanges are extremely commonplace during the festive season.
With our local female celebrity Zoe Tay endorsing the brand, it is no wonder that plenty of people queue for this brand during the peak period where Lunar New Year occurs. I have never queued for barbequed meat as my mother would always be the one doing it, so I can't comment on the efficiency and service quality of the workers.
The meat is no doubt tasty and sweet but it has a hard and overly-chewy texture sometimes. It's good for meat to be moderately chewy but overly-chewy might sometimes mean that the meat is over-cooked. Compared to other bak kwa stores, Bee Cheng Hiang might be losing its glamour over the years. Reasons being are that the other stores such Lim Chee Guan are probably a better choice due to the succulent meat they serve. I have tried the ones at Lim Chee Guan and I would definitely choose that over Bee Cheng Hiang. In recent years, Bee Cheng Hiang has come across to me as an over-commercialized brand and I tend to avoid overly commercialized brands. If you are good, you are good. Enough said.
That being said, it doesn't hurt to try Bee Cheng Hiang. All I can say is don't join the queue if there's one. If there's no queue then yeah, maybe. You'll never know till you try and of course, your mile may vary from mine.