Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Bak-kwa near Senado Square, Macau




I took this picture last year when I was in Macau, and I feel a NEED to post it here, because I want to crush the pride of all those Singaporeans who're so proud of their Bee Cheng Hiang famous barbecued bak-kwa.

This is a modest bak-kwa store near a busy tourist area of Macau, actually located at one of the alleys less-frequented by foreign tourists. The first thing that I smell when entering the alley is the delicious, mouth-watering scent of those bak-kwa (chinese barbecued meat) being grilled. And after tasting one of these beauties, I can safely say that this bak-kwa was 10 times better than Singapore's world-famous, capitalized, internationally-marketed, hugely franchised, award-winning, widely-pirated, overpriced, over-sensationalized Bee Cheng Hiang bak-kwa.

The Texture is far smoother but the aroma of grilled meat is not lost at all. Seriously, even Bee Cheng Hiang's so-called legendary recipe can't make the natural flavour of the pork / beef shine out, but instead, covered enormously by the heavy barbecue sauce smell. This is not the case for these Macau bak-kwas. The amount of seasoning is just right - and instead of using heavy sauces, these meats were aged and cured using pounded herbs and light soy sauce. We can actually see the bak-kwas being made to ensure that the ingredients are fresh (and real meat are used, not processed mixed meat parts). Now we can't see this in Bee Cheng Hiang, because they're just like McDonalds (a.k.a. junk food), so even though we can see the bak-kwas being barbecued, none of the meats are prepared in situ.

The only thing lacking from this bak-kwa shop is HYGIENE. I'm not very sure about the cleanliness of the food prepared, and I did saw one or two flies hovering on and around the food. On the other side, I can vouch for Bee Cheng Hiang's (being Singaporean-owned, I never doubt the clean-freak factor of this company). But as many of the more adventurous Indonesian gourmets say, "it's not delicious unless it's dirty" (an expression used to wittily comment on the fact that in Indonesia, traditional food such as nasi goreng is much tastier on cheap, dirty street peddlars compared to the same dish served in hygienic and expensive five-star hotels. Perhaps it is because traditional Indonesian food is best served using ingredients derived from local, inexpensive sources such as palm oil, Javanese sugar, Javanese tamarinds, and non-iodised salt. Whereas in five-star eateries in Jakarta, they use gourmet olive oil, American palm sugar, Thai tamarinds, and coarse sea salt because of the Indonesian perception of the superiority of foreign-derived ingredients.

There's a chef in a five-star hotel in Jakarta that I personally know (he's Indonesian), who confessed that he used a mixture of wilted poppy seeds and capers and rendered Prosciutto di Parma instead of just regular palm oil to fry his nasi goreng. This nasi goreng is then served with stewed lamb fillet with whitlof, fried spanish onions, Australian flathead chips, and grilled pacific lobster meat satay marinated with dill and (Mayalsian) sambal belachan. His Nasi Goreng costs USD 20 and is hugely favoured by pretentious Indonesian business entrepeneurs and superficial celebrities. But no real gourmets can even classify this monstrosity as food at all. Forget about creativity or originality or fusion gourmet, I should sue this person for making what is supposed to be the revered national food for 200 million Indonesians into an over-pimped consumption under the menu entry: "Nasi Goreng - TRADITIONAL Indonesian fried rice with grilled pacific lobster satay" for misguided tourists.

6 comments:

moo moo said...

What's so delicious about Singapore's Bak-kwa???

Fat Owl said...

Well, it's pork, it's fatty, it's greasy, sweet and barbecued. What not to like?

cla said...

i like the coin ones.... but the square ones are a little foul...

Fat Owl said...

yup...yg coin lebih enak...and lebih gak belepotan makannya...

glutzyken said...

There nothing like the "Originals" , good discovery !

Justin said...

I came across your website while looking for Macau Bakkwa.
Anyway, the nice Bakkwa in Singapore is not Bee Cheng Hiang. Bee Cheng Hiang is more commercialise and available in different countries. I think the nice Bakkwa is Lim Chee Guan.
Not sure how it is compared to Macau Bakkwa cos I have not try it.