I’m pretty much the company’s vacuum for anything Mala Xiang Guo-flavoured, so when the news of Fyre’s new flavour—Singapore’s first and only Mala Xiang Guo Bak Kwa came around, I knew my time had come. With the Lunar New Year festivities train coming at us hard and fast, you might want to pay attention and take notes on this curious new flavour that’ll surely switch things up this new year.
Fuss-free and hygienic packaging is always a huge plus in my books—because there’s simply nothing more repulsive than having to get your hands all greasy and dirty just for snack time. Unlike many other traditional bak kwa brands, Fyre’s thoughtful wrapping is a breath of fresh air which demonstrates that bak kwa snacking doesn’t always have to involve oil splatters and a messy plate.
What I tried
At first glance, the Original 1945 (S$118/kg) and Mala Xiang Guo (S$128/kg) flavours look deceivingly alike, but you’ll definitely not want to mix the two up. One is a Sunday stroll in the park while the latter is a potent kick in the gut, albeit in the best way possible.
Upon impatiently ripping the package open, the unmistakable gleam of each piece makes an already tantalising sight all the better. A healthy shine thoroughly coats each piece of bak kwa, and I just know that a good deal of the smoked meat’s moisture and juiciness will be perfectly encapsulated within each bite.
Almost instinctively, I reach for the Mala Xiang Guo-flavoured piece—I am, after all, the princess of all things spicy and painful. Like a panther in the night, the spice from the mala flavours creeps up on your palette slowly but unforgivingly. The first bite but a prelude to what’s to come; and by the time you’re ready to swallow the piece, your tongue is gloriously ablaze.
It’s sweet, sweet relief that for once, a mala-flavoured snack lives up to its namesake—numbing and spicy—as it should be. Many other mala counterparts shy away from bold flavours and unrestrained heat, but I love the bravery and finesse in Fyre’s Lychee and Apple Wood Mala Xiang Guo bak kwa. It’s what truly sets it apart from other mala-inspired counterparts.
Another telling mark of good bak kwa is a robust, hearty bite that dances the balance between tender and springy. Incredibly, Fyre’s bak kwa manages to maintain a great mouthfeel while staying succulent. This is done by fusing pork jowl and loin, which is apparently the most ideal blend of meat parts in order to achieve the juicy, fleshy meat slices that many know and adore.
The Original 1945 flavour draws its magic from an age-old traditional smoking technique coupled with extensive and diligent research. Marinated with a grand total of 36 spices for a month, smoked with Lychee and Apple wood, and finally barbecued over a charcoal masonry, you can be sure that much care and meticulousness has gone into each slice, making it definitely worth your while.
There’s a subtle yet pleasant char on each meat slice, every mouthful bringing just the right amount of smokiness and what we’d call ‘wok hei’. If this is what my relatives served during new year gatherings, you’d definitely catch me adding one more reason to participate in visitations.
As if the smoking and barbecuing processes weren’t already thorough enough, one can easily tell how much heart has been put into the whole experience—with clean and charming packaging that’s pleasing down to a tee. The brand’s attention to detail is what keeps the whole snacking journey so easily enjoyable, and one that I most certainly appreciate.
Vera’s ‘Chef Kiss Award’
Between the two, my clear winner is definitely the unbeatable champion of flavours—Mala Xiang Guo. I held onto high hopes for the marinade, and I can’t tell you enough how satisfying it is that it doesn’t disappoint one bit. The Original 1945 is a great classic that is fitting for even the most fabulous of Lunar New Year gatherings, but the mala flavour is what you’ll get if you want to leave an impression on your guests. It’s an inspiring take that’s not for the faint-hearted.
Admittedly, some might be quick to dismiss Mala flavours as so ‘been there, done that’. And those were my exact same sentiments until I tried it for myself. Juicy, umami, and with a thundery spice, have Fyre’s bak kwa in fried rice, an omelette, or just on its own—it’ll be delicious either way. Tip: For an optimum tasting experience, heat up the bak kwa slices in the microwave for 6 seconds, and enjoy while it’s still hot.
If you’re looking to pick some up for your new year’s party this coming February, seize the Early Bird discount of 30% that’s happening from now until 8 January 2021, or alternatively, catch it again at 20% off from 9 January to 31 January 2021.
For customers who are also interested in getting other Chinese New Year goodies such as pineapple tarts and cookies, enjoy 15% off products from Maison Ble as well when you purchase products from FYRE.
Expected Damage: S$118 – S$128/kg
*This was brought to you in collaboration with Fyre.