From Leftover Bak Kwa to Tasty Bak Kwa Jam – Here’s How to Reduce Food Waste During Lunar New Year!

January 21, 2024

It’s almost time to ring in the year of the Wood Dragon. During the Lunar New Year festivities, people often receive an array of goodies such as pineapple tarts, cookies, and mandarin oranges. Here’s the problem, and we are sure that you have noticed it as well: a lot of food often goes to waste!

In Singapore, for example, the amount of food waste has grown by around 20% over the past 10 years. That’s not good news.

So, what happens to all that extra food? Well, it either ends up in landfills, where it releases harmful methane gas, or it gets burned in incinerators, which uses plenty of energy and doesn’t help the environment.

Lunar New Year leftovers might feel inevitable, but we can do our part to reduce food waste. By being more mindful and responsible, we can enjoy the celebrations without doing much harm to the environment. That’s why I’m excited to partner with HSBC Life Singapore on some ways to make LNY gatherings more sustainable! Make sure to also check out our Instagram giveaway* for some fun and to win an exclusive HSBC Life Lunar New Year gift pack.

1) Give blessings with e-angbaos

The trend of sending e-angbao has been on the rise. According to a 2011 report by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), if all Singaporeans switched to e-angbao, it would reduce carbon emissions by approximately 330 tonnes. This is equivalent to the emissions produced by charging 5.7 million smartphones for five days.

If you prefer not to send e-angbao, you can opt for reusable red envelopes, red packets printed on eco-friendly paper, or plain red envelopes without any designs so that you can reuse them for the next year.

2) Give your old stuff a new life

Consider finding new homes for your belongings — donate, sell, or recycle them! Items such as clothes, furniture, electronics, toys, and books can find new owners pretty easily. While it might require a bit more effort on your part, it’s a valuable contribution to the planet and to less fortunate communities. Just make sure the items you wish to give away are in good working condition.

3) Turn your LNY goodies into tasty dishes

Lunar New Year brings us all joyous feasts, but what do you do when there’s an abundance of leftovers? Get creative with them!




Don’t allow any bak kwa to turn dry and tough in your refrigerator! Make them last by turning them into a yummy Bak Kwa Jam in the comfort of your own home. It’s a simple, clever way to make your bak kwa extra special.

P/S just ensure your bak kwa is still good for consumption.

Makes about 2 cups

4 strips bacon, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 slices bak kwa, chopped
4 tbsp maple syrup
⅓ cup black coffee
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Green Apple, sliced thinly
1 small pack of shredded mozzarella cheese (ideally BRAND: perfect Italiano)
1 lemon

1. In a skillet, cook bacon over medium heat without oil, stirring until the fat is rendered and the bacon lightly browned. This should take about 15 minutes.
2. Add onions, shallots, and garlic to the pan and fry until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
3. Add bak kwa, maple syrup, black coffee and vinegars.
4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the bak kwa turns soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
5. Transfer the mixture into a blender, and pulse till it reaches your desired texture. Set aside to cool. You can transfer to airtight containers and keep it refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Build a sandwich with your freshly-made bak kwa jam:
1. Slice apple thinly. Keep slices in water with a little lemon juice to stop them from browning
2. Spread butter evenly on one side of bread slices. Transfer them (butter side down) to a non-stick pan on low heat. Once the slices get toasty, turn them over and add green apple slices, followed by bak kwa jam, and mozzarella cheese. Enjoy!


* Giveaway ends 28 January 2024, 2359H. Visit for full contest T&Cs.