ED: There are numerous varieties of bak kut teh with its cooking style closely influenced by the prevailing Chinese enclave of a certain geographical location. (In case you’re wondering why some bak kut teh soups are so dark in colour where as others are pale) In Singapore, there are three types of bak kut teh. The most common variety is the Teochew style, which is light in color and uses more pepper in the soup. The Hokkiens, who prefer saltier food, use more soy sauce, which results in a darker coloured soup. The Cantonese with a soup-drinking culture would add medicinal herbs hence creating a stronger herb flavoured soup. Which is personally my favourite type cause I don’t really like over peppery soups. But after trying Founder Bak Kut Teh, my allegiance to the Cantonese was swayed.
I loved how tender the pig trotter was it was off the bone tender but not overly soft that its mushy. The skin and fat is the best but its also a heart attack waiting to happen. Overall the sides are not bad but nothing to shout about.
Bak Kut Teh
It is said that the best time of the day to enjoy bak kut teh is in the morning! Which is how it was eaten back in the early days by Chinese coolies to boost their health and energy due to the rich medicinal qualities in this herbal soup. No wonder they’re strong enough to endure the back breaking(literally) job of transporting huge rice sacks on their shoulders!
I can’t help but notice, a lot of people do not savour bak kut teh along with tea which is the “teh” to the “bak kut”. We just go straight for the bak kut soup! Where in actual fact, Bak Kut Teh is one of the few local dishes which boasts a Hokkien/Teochew cultural status where tea-drinking cultures runs deep. One is supposed to immerse him or herself in the soulful experience of tea appreciation, cleansing one’s palate and stomach before filling it with the body boosting broth, followed by crunching into a semi soaked You Char Kway, before biting into a springy tender pork rib dipped in dark soy sauce.
The soup was surprisingly not overly peppery but just right. I can’t help but notice the soup was a little sweet, which is not a bad thing and also it was very well balanced. Not one herb overpowered the other but they all blended perfectly together.
The pork rib was sensational. It is huge and you gotta get your hands dirty to enjoy it. It’s by far the best rib I’ve had compared to other stalls. It was firm but tender enough to rip off the bone cleanly with a pleasant chewiness and springiness of the fat. A perfect fat to meat ratio. 2 wasn’t enough to satisfy me because it was so good. The founder really knows his pork well. Its no wonder he is the undisputed king of Ba Kut Teh in Balestier among dozens of other stalls. With a million photographs with local celebs and even international super stars like Jay Chou and Wang Li Hom, I became an over-night super star myself.
More photos(alot of them)