Yes, meatless bak kwas exist. No, it's not difficult to find in S'pore.

You can easily find them online or at retail stores and supermarkets.

Sumita Thiagarajan | January 15, 2021, 11:33 AM

Vegetarian bak kwas are made of soy protein with mushroom, instead of meat from animals.

It is usually sold under a variety of names, such as "Vegetarian BBQ meat", "Smoked Veg Jerky", and "Vegetarian Bak Kwa".

For the health-conscious eaters, the regular bak kwa and this vegetarian version are similar in terms of calories.

A 94g-piece of bak kwa made of pork is about 370 calories, with the same amount of vegetarian bak kwa containing about 367.54 calories per piece.

For those who have heard about this for the first time, here's where you can conveniently buy some to try.

1) Mr Bean

Their Smoked Vegetarian Jerky comes in two flavours: Original and Spicy.

Here's a fancy photo of the bak kwa:

Photo of vegetarian jerky from mr bean Photo via Mr Bean/Facebook

Here's a tin I found at Mr Bean's outlet at Hougang Mall:

Photo by Sumita Thiagarajan

According to vegan food review platform, abillionveg, the product has two positive reviews:

"This tastes just like non-vegan bak kwa but with a much nicer, chewier texture[...]"

"[...]I have tried different brands, so far Mr Bean's vegetarian bak kwa is the most satisfactory in view of its texture, taste and packaging. Its thinly-sliced texture and taste resembles the real stuff! They are addictive and delicious! 😋 There are 4 vacuum packs in this metal tin. Each packet is 100g."

Price: S$20.80 for 400g

Promotion: Four tins of 400g for S$70.90 (Limited to 28 sets daily)

How to order: Online, or in-store.

2) Friendly Vegetarian

This vegetarian wholesaler has one of the more affordable prices for vegetarian bak kwa.

The product is called Friendly BBQ Snack, comes in two flavours: Original and Spicy.

Photo via Friendly Vegetarian's website

Price: S$6.96 for 250g or S$77.04 for 3kg

How to order: Orders can be made online.

3) Victor Veggie at Circuit Road Food Centre

This hawker uncle at Victor Veggie is known for his vegetarian satay and otah.

During Chinese New Year, you can order bak kwa from him too.

Victor has been selling vegetarian food since he was 24 years old.

His hawker stall opens from 2:30pm to 8:30pm, but it's easier to catch him in the late afternoons.

Here's how the stall looks like, as seen in this video by Our Grandfather Story:

Price: S$28/kg

How to order: Order in advance directly from the stall.

Address: Circuit Road Food Centre, 79A Circuit Rd, #01-92, S(371079)

4) NTUC FairPrice

FairPrice supermarkets also carry vegetarian bak kwas:

Photo by Sumita Thiagarajan

Photo by Sumita Thiagarajan

This vegetarian bak kwa tastes like compressed mock char siew.

The texture is not as chewy as the usual bak kwas. It is sweeter than the usual bak kwas and does not have the charred flavour.

Photo by Sumita Thiagarajan

Photo by Sumita Thiagarajan 

FairPrice also sells a spicy version of the product online.

Price: S$7.80 for 250g

How to order: Online, or in-store.

5) Eu Yang Sang

Well known for herbal products, Eu Yang Sang surprisingly sells vegetarian bak kwas too.

According to the website, their Signature Vegetarian Bak Kwa comes in "bite-size portions".

Photo via Eu Yang Sang's website

Photo via Eu Yang Sang's website

However, this seems to be one of the pricier options that we've come across.

Price: S$19.90 for 220g

How to order: Orders can be made online.

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Top images via Sumita Thiagarajan