Ling Kee Featured

Authors: EatingInTranslation

Ling Kee
Ling Kee

The relevant characters in the company name denote "dried meat," but "jerky" is more a translation of convenience. Whether cut into strips or small chunks, the meat used to make jerky is typically salted while being dried, and the resulting product is often firm if not outright tough and dry.

Malaysian-style bak kwa, Ling Kee's stock in trade, is nothing of the sort. Whether beef, or pork, or shrimp (shown, $4.75 per quarter-pound), the protein of choice is minced, seasoned (sugar, light soy sauce, rice wine, and five-spice powder are common), colored (red is propitious), and pressed into thin sheets, which are cut into squares.

At Ling Kee, the squares are then fanned along the outside edge of a colander, which is set in a shallow pan filled with water; the whole assembly is then seated atop a charcoal grill. Stop by at the right time — I never have — and you can watch this stage of the operation through the window.

The resulting bak kwa is very limber, as you can see. Ling Kee's is sweeter than many, and very oily; to clean up after my three squares of bak kwa, three napkins didn't quite do the job.

In retrospect, what the Revere, Massachusetts Angkor Watt Market translated as "beef jerky" was probably a Cambodian variant on bak kwa. It was easy to tear and a little sweet, I noted at the time. I might be able to confirm it on my next visit, if only I were willing to learn Khmer script.

Ling Kee Beef Jerky
42 Canal St. (Ludlow-Orchard Sts.), Manhattan
212-965-1206

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