It is Chinese New Year season, and the atmosphere is heating up. Crowds throng Chinatown for all sorts of Chinese New Year products, from food to decorations. Red packets and fresh notes from the bank are obtained. Queues for foods like bak kwa (a sweet Chinese barbecued meat) snake around the block, and prices rise.
Given Singaporeans’ propensity for buying things for lower prices in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, it seems like common sense to buy bak kwa there as well. However, if you are thinking of doing so…………. don’t.
It remains illegal to bring meat and meat products across the Causeway back into Singapore.
Some Singaporeans tried to try their luck nonetheless. There were two separate cases of Singaporeans attempting to smuggle in bak kwa hidden in packets of durian-flavoured biscuits at the arrival bus hall on 12 Jan, caught at Woodlands Checkpoint. There were similar incidents last year when Singaporeans attempted to smuggle in bak kwa hidden in cookie or pastry packaging.
According to a Jan 17 Facebook post by the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA), “food products brought into Singapore must meet AVA’s guidelines and must be from approved sources. Travellers are not allowed to bring in meat and meat products from Malaysia into Singapore”.
So if you want to enjoy some tasty bak kwa treats this Chinese New Year, just buy it in Singapore. It’s really not worth the trouble of hiding it from immigration officers, and getting caught. So happy shopping in JB, just not for bak kwa!