So, you’ve landed in Singapore and you’re looking for some comfort food to warm up your soul? Look no further than bak kut teh! This pork-based soup is a beloved dish in Singapore, and for good reason. The hearty broth is simmered for hours with meaty pork ribs, garlic, pepper, and various herbs, resulting in a rich and flavorful soup that’s perfect for rainy days. And don’t let the name fool you – there’s no actual tea in bak kut teh, despite its English translation of “meat bone tea.”
But with so many options in Singapore, where do you start your bak kut teh adventure? Fear not, we’ve got you covered. From the classic Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House to the award-winning Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, we’ve rounded up the best spots to try this comforting dish. And if you’re feeling adventurous, check out Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh for a taste of the Malaysian-style version. So grab a bowl of bak kut teh, a cup of hot tea, and enjoy the ultimate comfort food experience in Singapore.
The Humorous History of Bak Kut Teh
You may not know this, but bak kut teh has a funny history. It all started with Chinese coolies who worked along the Singapore River in the early 20th century. They wanted a cheap and hearty breakfast before starting their day, so they boiled pork bones with Chinese herbs to make a soup. And thus, bak kut teh was born!
Legend has it that the name “bak kut teh” was coined by a customer who asked for a bowl of pork ribs soup. The vendor, who was hard of hearing, thought the customer said “bak kut teh” (which means “meat bone tea” in Hokkien) and served him a bowl of the soup. The customer loved it and the name stuck!
The origin of bak kut teh is debated, but some say it was brought over from Fujian, China by Hokkien immigrants who settled in Singapore and Malaysia. Others believe it was already being served by Teochew and Hokkien vendors in Singapore before the arrival of the Hokkien immigrants.
One of the most famous founders of bak kut teh in Singapore is Ong Say Eng, who started his business in the 1920s. His shop, Ong Say Bak Kut Teh, was located on Nankin Street and was a hit with the locals. Unfortunately, the shop closed down in 1989 when the area was redeveloped into China Square.
Despite its humble beginnings, bak kut teh has become a beloved dish in Singapore and Malaysia, and has even gained popularity in other parts of the world. Its legacy lives on through the many bak kut teh shops and restaurants that continue to serve this delicious soup.
The Great Bak Kut Teh Divide: Peppery vs Herbal
If you’re a fan of Bak Kut Teh, you’ll know that there are two main types of this hearty soup: peppery and herbal. But which one is better? Let’s take a closer look at the Peppery Delight and the Herbal Haven.
If you like your Bak Kut Teh with a bit of a kick, then the peppery version is for you. This Teochew-style soup is made with a mix of spices, including white pepper, garlic, and star anise. The result is a broth that’s both savory and spicy, with a lingering heat that will warm you up from the inside out.
One of the best things about the peppery version is that it goes great with a side of rice or noodles. The mild flavor of the carbs helps to balance out the spiciness of the soup, making for a delicious and satisfying meal.
On the other hand, if you prefer a more mellow flavor, then the herbal version is the way to go. This Hokkien-style soup is made with a mix of herbs, including dang gui (angelica root), chuan xiong (lovage), and yu zhu (solomon’s seal). The result is a broth that’s rich and earthy, with a slight sweetness that comes from the herbs.
One of the best things about the herbal version is that it’s great for your health. The herbs used in the soup have a variety of health benefits, including improving blood circulation and boosting the immune system.
So, which one is better? That’s up to you to decide. Some people prefer the bold flavors of the peppery version, while others enjoy the subtle complexity of the herbal version. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a steaming bowl of Bak Kut Teh.
Just remember, whether you’re Team Peppery or Team Herbal, there’s one thing we can all agree on: Bak Kut Teh is one of the most delicious dishes to come out of Malaysia and Singapore.
The Anatomy of Bak Kut Teh
If you’re a meat lover, then Bak Kut Teh is definitely your cup of tea. This porky perfection is a popular dish in Singapore that consists of pork ribs stewed with a mixture of fragrant herbs and spices such as garlic, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, and coriander.
When it comes to Bak Kut Teh, the star of the show is undoubtedly the pork ribs. The dish can be made with different cuts of pork, such as short ribs, premium loin ribs, premium pork ribs, and premium spare ribs. Each cut has its unique flavor and texture, so it’s up to you to decide which one you prefer. But regardless of the cut, the meat should be tender and fall-off-the-bone, making it a delight to eat.
Spice it Up
The spices used in Bak Kut Teh are what make the dish so flavorful. The combination of garlic, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, and coriander creates a unique aroma that is both sweet and savory. The peppery taste is what sets it apart from other pork dishes. If you’re not a big fan of spicy food, you can always ask for a milder version.
Salty or Sweet
Bak Kut Teh is typically served with soy sauce, which adds a salty flavor to the dish. However, some people prefer to add a bit of sweetness to their Bak Kut Teh by adding sugar or rock sugar. The sweetness helps to balance out the spiciness and saltiness of the dish, creating a perfect blend of flavors.
In conclusion, Bak Kut Teh is a dish that is not only delicious but also has a unique flavor profile that is hard to find in other dishes. With its tender pork ribs, fragrant spices, and savory broth, it’s no wonder why this dish is a favorite among Singaporeans. So, the next time you’re in Singapore, don’t forget to try Bak Kut Teh and experience the magic for yourself!
Notable Bak Kut Teh Restaurants
If you’re a Bak Kut Teh lover, you’re in luck because Singapore has some of the best Bak Kut Teh restaurants in the world. Here are some of the most notable ones:
Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh
Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh is a famous restaurant that has been around since the 1950s. Their signature dish is the Teochew-style Bak Kut Teh, which is a peppery soup made with pork ribs. The soup is so flavorful that you’ll be slurping it up until the last drop. Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh has four outlets across Singapore, including one in Jurong East.
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh is another famous restaurant that has been around since the 1960s. Their Bak Kut Teh is made with a secret blend of herbs and spices that gives it a unique flavor. The pork ribs are tender and fall off the bone, and the soup is rich and flavorful. Song Fa Bak Kut Teh has outlets in New Bridge Road, Rangoon Road, and Jurong East.
Tuan Yuan Pork Ribs Soup
Tuan Yuan Pork Ribs Soup is a hidden gem located in Balestier Road. Their Bak Kut Teh is made with premium pork ribs, and the soup is simmered for hours to bring out the flavors of the herbs and spices. The result is a rich and flavorful soup that will warm your soul.
Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh
Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh is a popular restaurant that originated from Klang, Malaysia. Their Bak Kut Teh is made with a unique blend of herbs and spices that gives it a distinct flavor. The pork ribs are tender and juicy, and the soup is rich and flavorful. Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh has outlets in Balestier Road and Jurong East.
Balestier Bak Kut Teh
Balestier Bak Kut Teh is a family-owned restaurant that has been around for over 40 years. Their Bak Kut Teh is made with premium pork ribs, and the soup is simmered for hours to bring out the flavors of the herbs and spices. The result is a rich and flavorful soup that will warm your soul. Balestier Bak Kut Teh is located in Balestier Road.
Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha
Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha is a famous restaurant that has been around since the 1970s. Their Bak Kut Teh is made with a secret blend of herbs and spices that gives it a unique flavor. The pork ribs are tender and fall off the bone, and the soup is rich and flavorful. Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha has outlets in New Bridge Road and Rangoon Road.
Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh
Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh is a chain of restaurants that has outlets all over Singapore. Their Bak Kut Teh is made with premium pork ribs, and the soup is simmered for hours to bring out the flavors of the herbs and spices. The result is a rich and flavorful soup that will warm your soul.
Feng Xiang Bak Kut Teh
Feng Xiang Bak Kut Teh is a popular restaurant that has been around since the 1980s. Their Bak Kut Teh is made with premium pork ribs, and the soup is simmered for hours to bring out the flavors of the herbs and spices. The result is a rich and flavorful soup that will warm your soul. Feng Xiang Bak Kut Teh has outlets in Jurong East and Balestier Road.
Jia Bin Klang Bak Kut Teh
Jia Bin Klang Bak Kut Teh is a popular restaurant that originated from Klang, Malaysia. Their Bak Kut Teh is made with a unique blend of herbs and spices that gives it a distinct flavor. The pork ribs are tender and juicy, and the soup is rich and flavorful. Jia Bin Klang Bak Kut Teh has outlets in Balestier Road and Jurong East.
Kota Zheng Zong Bak Kut Teh
Kota Zheng Zong Bak Kut Teh is a popular restaurant that has been around since the 1970s. Their Bak Kut Teh is made with premium pork ribs, and the soup is simmered for hours to bring out the flavors of the herbs and spices. The result is a rich and flavorful soup that will warm your soul. Kota Zheng Zong Bak Kut Teh has outlets in Balestier Road and Jurong East.
These are just some of the notable Bak Kut Teh restaurants in Singapore. Whether you prefer your soup peppery or herbal, there’s a restaurant out there that will satisfy your cravings. So, put on your stretchy pants and get ready to indulge in some delicious Bak Kut Teh!
The Sidekick Dishes
Bak Kut Teh is the star of the show, but what about its trusty sidekicks? These dishes are the Robin to Bak Kut Teh’s Batman, the Sam to its Frodo, the Chewbacca to its Han Solo. You get the idea. Here are some of the best side dishes to pair with your bowl of Bak Kut Teh.
Youtiao, the Doughy Delight
Ah, youtiao. The perfect combination of crispy and chewy. These deep-fried dough sticks are the ultimate sidekick to Bak Kut Teh. Dip them in the soup, or just munch on them on their own. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this classic side dish.
Zi Char Dishes
If you’re feeling extra hungry, why not order some zi char dishes to go with your Bak Kut Teh? These Chinese-style home-cooked dishes are the perfect complement to the rich and savory soup. From stir-fried vegetables to sizzling hotplate tofu, there’s something for everyone.
Let’s be real, Bak Kut Teh just isn’t complete without a bowl of steaming hot rice. Use it to soak up all that delicious soup, or just eat it on the side. Either way, you won’t regret adding rice to your order.
Home-Made Ngoh Hiang
You might not have heard of ngoh hiang before, but trust us, it’s worth a try. This Hokkien-style dish is a type of meat roll made with a mixture of minced pork, prawn, and water chestnut. It’s usually served with a sweet sauce and a side of chili. Give it a go and you might just find your new favorite side dish.
So there you have it, the best sidekick dishes to pair with your Bak Kut Teh. Don’t forget to order some sides to complete your meal!
Bak Kut Teh: Anytime, Anywhere
Bak Kut Teh is not just a dish, it’s a way of life. Whether you’re craving it for breakfast, lunch, or supper, this hearty soup will always hit the spot. And with islandwide delivery options, you can enjoy it anytime, anywhere.
Breakfast of Champions
Who says you can’t have Bak Kut Teh for breakfast? It’s the perfect way to start your day on a high note. Imagine waking up to a steaming bowl of pork bone tea, filled with tender meat and fragrant herbs. It’s like a warm hug in a bowl.
And the best part? You don’t even have to leave your house to get it. With delivery options from top Bak Kut Teh restaurants like Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House, you can have breakfast of champions delivered right to your doorstep.
If you’re looking for a lunchtime treat, Bak Kut Teh is the way to go. It’s filling, satisfying, and oh-so-delicious. And with islandwide delivery options, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your office or home.
Some of the best Bak Kut Teh in Singapore can be found at Legendary Bak Kut Teh and Song Fa Bak Kut Teh. Both restaurants offer islandwide delivery, so you can indulge in a lunchtime luxury without leaving your desk.
Supper for the Soul
When the sun goes down and hunger strikes, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of Bak Kut Teh to soothe your soul. It’s warm, comforting, and just what you need to end your day on a high note.
And with delivery options from Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh, you can enjoy supper for the soul without leaving your house. So go ahead, indulge in a late-night treat and let the flavors of Bak Kut Teh transport you to food heaven.
So, whether you’re craving it for breakfast, lunch, or supper, Bak Kut Teh is the ultimate anytime, anywhere dish. With islandwide delivery options, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home. So why wait? Order now and satisfy your cravings!
Bak Kut Teh in Popular Culture
Bak Kut Teh has become a staple dish in Singaporean cuisine, and it has also made its way into popular culture. From movies to TV shows, Bak Kut Teh has been mentioned and featured in various forms of media.
In the movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” the character played by Awkwafina mentions Bak Kut Teh as one of her favorite foods. The scene was shot in a Bak Kut Teh restaurant in Singapore’s Chinatown, and it has since become a popular spot for tourists to visit.
Bak Kut Teh has also been featured in local TV shows, such as “Makan Places Lost and Found.” The show explores hidden food gems in Singapore, and one of the episodes was dedicated to Bak Kut Teh.
But Bak Kut Teh’s influence doesn’t stop there. Even celebrities have taken notice of this delicious dish. In 2019, Taiwanese singer Jay Chou visited Balestier Road’s Founder Bak Kut Teh and posted a photo of himself on Instagram enjoying a bowl of Bak Kut Teh. He even wrote a caption that said, “The best Bak Kut Teh in Singapore!”
So, if you want to experience a dish that has not only captured the hearts of locals but also made its way into popular culture, then you must try Bak Kut Teh. Who knows, you might even spot a celebrity enjoying a bowl at your favorite Bak Kut Teh restaurant.
The Bak Kut Teh Experience
You’re in Singapore, and it’s a rainy day. You’re feeling a little down, and you need some comfort food. That’s when you realize that you’re in the perfect place for it: Singapore’s famous bak kut teh.
Bak kut teh is a dish that is sure to warm you up on a chilly, rainy day. It’s a pork rib soup that is simmered for hours with garlic, pepper, and various herbs. The result is a rich, flavorful broth that is perfect for dipping your pork ribs in.
But the bak kut teh experience is more than just the food. It’s also about the dining experience. When you walk into a bak kut teh restaurant, you’ll be greeted by the aroma of the soup and the clatter of chopsticks on bowls. You’ll find yourself in a comfortable, casual atmosphere that is perfect for enjoying a hot bowl of soup.
And speaking of the soup, you’ll find that each restaurant has its own unique take on bak kut teh. Some are spicier than others, some are sweeter, and some are more savory. It’s all a matter of personal preference, so don’t be afraid to try a few different places to find your favorite.
One thing that all bak kut teh restaurants have in common, though, is that they take their soup seriously. The broth is the heart of the dish, and it’s made with care and attention to detail. You’ll find that the soup is always piping hot and full of flavor, with tender pork ribs that fall off the bone.
So if you’re looking for a warm, comforting meal on a rainy day, look no further than Singapore’s bak kut teh. It’s a dining experience that is sure to leave you feeling satisfied and content.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Bak Kut Teh such a beloved dish in Singapore?
Well, my friend, Bak Kut Teh is more than just a dish – it’s a cultural icon. This pork bone soup has been a staple in Singaporean cuisine for over a century, and it’s not hard to see why. The hearty broth, tender meat, and aromatic herbs and spices make for a truly satisfying meal. Plus, it’s the perfect comfort food for rainy days or when you’re feeling under the weather.
What’s the best way to impress a local with my knowledge of Bak Kut Teh?
Ah, the age-old question. If you want to impress a Singaporean with your Bak Kut Teh expertise, there are a few things you should know. First off, there are two main types of Bak Kut Teh – the original, peppery version and the herbal version. Secondly, Bak Kut Teh is traditionally eaten with youtiao, a Chinese fried dough stick. And lastly, everyone has their own favorite Bak Kut Teh joint, so be prepared for some friendly debate.
How does the herbal version of Bak Kut Teh differ from the original?
Good question! While the original version of Bak Kut Teh is made with a peppery broth, the herbal version uses a mix of Chinese herbs and spices to create a more complex flavor profile. Some popular herbs used in herbal Bak Kut Teh include dang gui (angelica root), chuan xiong (lovage root), and huai shan (Chinese yam). Give it a try and see which one you prefer!
Is it worth the wait in line for Michelin-starred Bak Kut Teh?
Well, that depends on how much you love Bak Kut Teh and how patient you are. While some people swear by the Michelin-starred Bak Kut Teh joints, others think it’s not worth the hype (or the long wait in line). But hey, if you’re a true Bak Kut Teh fanatic, it might be worth checking out at least once.
What’s the secret behind Founder Bak Kut Teh’s recipe?
Ah, if only I knew the answer to that! Founder Bak Kut Teh is one of the most famous Bak Kut Teh joints in Singapore, and they’ve been serving up their signature peppery broth for over 40 years. While their recipe remains a closely guarded secret, some speculate that it involves a unique blend of herbs and spices, as well as a lengthy cooking process. But hey, the best way to find out is to try it for yourself!
Can anyone handle the spiciness level at Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh?
Well, that’s a tough one. Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh is known for their fiery peppery broth, which can be a bit overwhelming for some. But if you’re a spice lover, you’ll definitely want to give it a try. And if you can’t handle the heat, don’t worry – they also offer a milder version of their Bak Kut Teh.