Kim Hock Guan - Gastro Obscura

AO Edited

Gastro Obscura

Kim Hock Guan

The oldest bakkwa shop in Singapore is especially beloved during the Lunar New Year festivities. 

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Established in 1905 by two brothers on Rochor Road, this shop holds the title of being the oldest establishment to sell bakkwa (rougan), a sweet-savory treat especially beloved in the Lion City. Over the course of a century, Mr.Lim and his brother developed a reputation for culinary craftsmanship. Today, the shop does a brisk business during the Lunar New Year festivities.

A preservation and preparation technique originating in ancient China, bakkwa is a Hokkien delicacy that made its way to countries in Southeast Asia, notably Malaysia and Singapore. Typically made from pork, the preservation process involves slicing it into thin sheets, then marinating it with sugar and spices. The sliced meat is then air-dried and cooked over a hot plate. The Malaysian and Singaporean versions of this delicacy carry a sweeter taste than its predecessor. After many centuries, one thing remains unchanged, once considered a luxury reserved for the lunar new year, its enduring popularity is evident as there are always long queues to buy this treat. 

Missing his hometown of Anxi, China; Lim Chwee Guan (林水源) started selling bakkwa as a way of assimilating his native culture into his new home, Singapore. With the help of his brother, he operated Kim Hock Guan, located in the Bugis Area. Today, this establishment remains as a family-owned business, with a history spanning five generations.

Know Before You Go

The closest station is Rochor, exiting on to Prinsep Street then walk over to Albert Street. Once you are on Albert Street, take a left and walk towards Bencoolen Street. When you see "The Bencoolen" building, it's on the ground floor and the shop closest to the main road. 

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