Experiences - Asia

Chinese New Year Food – Rou Gan

Rou Gan, also known as Long Yok or Bakkwa is one of the most popular Chinese New Year foods. It is a square-shaped, salty-sweet dried meat slices similar to jerky. Its origins can be traced back to the Fujian province of China where it is held in high regard as a delicacy.

Pork jerky

Image Courtesy: Jonathan used under the Creative Commons Licence

Rou Gan is made by using a meat preservation technique that originated in China. The technique has improved through the years, but essentially remains the same. Rou Gan or Pork Jerky is primarily prepared using pork but also other meats like mutton, chicken or beef, treated with various spices, salt, sugar and soy sauce, while being dried at fairly high temperatures ranging from 100-125°C. High temperatures allow the meat to be cooked right away rather than drying.

The key spice that gives Rou Gan its delicious flavour is five spice power which is further enhanced by the flavourful fat from the meat.

Rou Gan

Image Courtesy: radix999 used under the Creative Commons Licence

Rou Gan can be eaten on its own, but when sandwiched with two slices of soft bread, Rou Gan is a wonderful, authentic snack. This sandwich is immensely loved in Singapore and Malaysia and is enjoyed mostly during the Chinese New Year.

The Chinese immigrants of Singapore & Malaysia have lent their local touch and characteristics to the dish. For example, during the preparation of Rou Gan, the meat that is initially air-dried is grilled over charcoal which imparts a smoky hint to it. The Rou Gan prepared in Singapore and Malaysia are much sweeter to its mainland China counterpart.

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