Bak kwa prices rise ahead of Chinese New Year

Popular bak kwa shop Lim Chee Guan raised the price of its signature sliced pork item to $39 per 500g pack, citing the rise in costs as well as inflation. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Prices of bak kwa (barbecued meat) have gone up amid rising costs ahead of Chinese New Year in 2023.

A spokesman for popular bak kwa shop Lim Chee Guan said the price of its signature sliced pork item was raised to $39 per 500g pack, up from $36 during the festive period in January 2022. In 2021, it was $34.

“Prices went up mainly because all costs – such as raw material, rental and manpower – have gone up... However, we are still trying our best to absorb the rising cost as much as possible,” said the spokesman on Tuesday.

Bee Cheng Hiang has priced its applewood sliced pork item at $39 per 500g pack, up from $38 earlier in 2022.

Checks showed that the Fragrance outlet in Chinatown started a three-day promotion on Tuesday for its signature sliced bak kwa at $48 per kg, with its original price at $62. In January 2022, it was $60.

A Fragrance spokesman said prices were adjusted due to the rising costs of raw materials, rental and wages.

Meanwhile, some consumers are already stocking up on the barbecued meat to beat the snaking queues closer to the festive period. Chinese New Year falls on Jan 22 and 23 in 2023.

Madam Lilian Koh, 80, said she queued for hours at Lim Chee Guan’s flagship store in New Bridge Road during the Chinese New Year period in previous years.

“I’ve learnt to buy bak kwa early, when the queue is shorter and I can still buy it in smaller quantities like 300g, instead of the standard 500g or 1kg closer to CNY,” said the retired teacher at the outlet.

She bought 2.5kg of bak kwa and five packets of pork floss, which she intends to give to family and friends.

Madam Koh added that she was in a queue of about 20 people at the shop last week.

When ST visited Lim Chee Guan’s New Bridge Road shop on Monday, there was a queue of about 15 people. On Tuesday, Madam Koh returned “to see if there’s still a queue”.

“The price increase is reasonable to me. Lim Chee Guan is my favourite out of all the other brands, so I think it’s worth it,” she added.

Several customers ST spoke to said they visited the store to sample the bak kwa products before they place orders online.

Housewife Faith Lim, 42, said: “I was passing by and thought of sampling its chilli pork and other meats. It’s more convenient to pre-order for CNY rather than queue for it closer to the actual date.”

At around 10.30am on Tuesday, Lim Chee Guan’s website stated it was “experiencing very high traffic” and customers were placed in a virtual queue.

Several products – including its gold coin pork and BBQ chilli pork – are already sold out on various days leading up to Chinese New Year.

  • Additional reporting by Lim Yaohui

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