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Lim Chee Guan 林志源 – Tasting Nostalgia

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Every year during Chinese New Year, I keep telling myself not to face the crazy queue for Lim Chee Guan’s bak kwa (sliced barbeque pork), which can take hours. But every year, I find myself unconsciously setting aside time for this personal task, rain or shine. Why? Read the end of the post…

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3 weeks before Chinese New Year, people start queuing for the famed BBQ pork. As the days draw nearer, the queue gets longer…and loooonger. You can wait in line for as long as four hours during peak hours. Yes, Singaporeans love to queue, in addition to curious tourists who join in as well.

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Singapore is definitely not short of bak kwa stores – in fact – there are at least three other stores within a stone throw’s away from Lim Chee Guan, but this is the only store with a queue. So much so that it’s considered a luxury (think Japan’s square melons) to receive Lim Chee Guan during Chinese New Year since it takes that much effort to get hold of them. Families proudly display their prized bags of Lim Chee Guan amongst the festive goodies, and they are usually chomped up quite quickly.

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Its immense popularity has also resulted in copycat stores, so do note they only have three outlets in Singapore – 2 in Chinatown just opposite the street, and 1 in Ion Orchard.

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Prices of the bak kwa rise as it gets nearer to Chinese New Year, and it has almost doubled to over $50 for a kg with two weeks away. One person is only allowed to buy a maximum of 50kg of bak kwa to ensure sufficient supply. While 50kg sounds like a gigantic load, many businessmen do come to buy in bulk as corporate gifts. And nope, Lim Chee Guan does not do corporate sales so come queue for yourself.

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Ahhh, the glistening of freshly grilled BBQ pork! I got their Signature Sliced Pork, and also the Prawn bak kwa to try something new (they have fish flavour too). I would have to say their BBQ pork is the most tender and flavorful that I have eaten, and it is now difficult for me to eat other brands after getting accustomed to its taste.

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More than simply satisfying my gluttony, the reason why I would take time to queue is to keep my memories of family alive – when I was a child, I  used to accompany my late Grandma to buy Lim Chee Guan for the family during Chinese New Year. I was told it was the best, and we would only get the best for the family. I also remembered the happy times we shared during Chinese New Year, laughter reverberating throughout the house, and erm…trying to earn extra pocket money playing cards with my aunties & uncles lol. So by continuing this routine, it’s my little way of showing my love to those I care about. Some people may call it silly to waste time queuing up and paying more during this festive period, but I think it’s worth it to make my loved ones happy.

I can’t wait for Chinese New Year to arrive…it’s also a legitimate time to wear pretty clothes – and to pig out! LOL :D

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