We’ve passed by this bak kut teh (BKT) shop a couple of times before, making a mental note to check it out the next time a BKT craving hits. Well, the craving hit Sunday afternoon, so Ricky and I came here for a late lunch.
They serve Teochew-style BKT here, i.e. the broth is brewed using pork ribs, white pepper seeds, and whole cloves of garlic. Ricky prefers KL-style herbal BKT, while I, being a Teochew ah nia (lady, usually pretty), was happy to be in familiar territory.
A good bowl of BKT is judged on its two main elements: the broth and the ribs. My thoughts on…
The broth: Quite balanced in flavor. Not too salty, subtly sweet, and not overly peppery. Although I appreciated that the chef exercised restraint, somehow there was a distinctive identity missing. But when we topped up the soup, the second round was too peppery. It must have come from the bottom of the pot.
The ribs: Good quality, meaty ribs were used. Although I like my ribs to retain some bite, I thought the ribs here could have benefitted from an extra 10 minutes in the pot for more tenderness.
What’s it with BKT shops serving braised pig trotters? I don’t remember it on the menu years ago. Must be a fairly recent addition.
Like the ribs, I felt the pig trotter could have been braised longer to have that melt-in-your-mouth, fork-tender quality. They were quite generous with the meat, though.
A classic accompaniment for BKT, this is one of my favorite side dishes for Teochew porridge as well. It was done so-so here; I’d have preferred it to be cooked slightly sweeter. Of course, taste is a very subjective issue.
Same opinion as the stewed pickled veggie (please refer to above paragraph).
How do you eat your you tiao with BKT? I like to dunk mine in the BKT soup to soak up the broth!
Actually, I enjoy eating BKT not just for the food, but for the whole experience. After satisfying the hunger, it’s time to relax, make Chinese gongfu tea, sip tea, and chit chat. It’s very therapeutic!
Isn’t the fish-shaped tea tray a scream? I think it looks like a pomfret!
If you opt for indoor seating, there are custom-made side tables with electric kettles and even a tap (blocked by the condiments tray) for you to refill the kettle!
Gongfu tea (no, there’s no martial arts involved) is concentrated, bitter, and drunk neat in miniature teacups. The perfect way to aid digestion of a heavy meal. Click here for a tutorial.
Conclusion: The food here is average. Not my ultimate BKT, but can do when I’m desperate. Plus points: Convenient location, brisk service, and despite no air-conditioning, seating is relatively comfortable. The menu is quite extensive too.
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
11 New Bridge Road (opp. Clarke Quay MRT)
Tel: (65) 6533 6128
8:00 am to 11:00 pm
Closed on Mondays
*They have another branch at Rochor Center