Founder Rou Gu Cha 發起人肉骨茶

Pork rib soup, S$6.00.

Pork rib soup, S$6.00.

It was an eagerly anticipated outing. How could it not be? Its long history and glowing reviews make Founder one of the heavyweights in the Singapore’s bak kut teh arena.

And so, our pork-loving makan gang – Camemberu, Hungry Cow, Keropokman+Momo, ladyironchef, and Nic – made our way there last evening for our premiere Founder experience.

Opening the show is the protagonist – Pork Ribs in Teochew-style pepper and garlic broth. Subtly sweet and not too peppery, the soup was milder than I’d expected, but just right for my tastebuds.

However, Pork Ribs was seriously miscast, and hence failed to live up to its meaty role. Well, it was partly our mistake; we should have asked for A-lister Loin Ribs 龙骨, which is more tender and flavorful. You can recognize loin rib with its long, singular bone. The wait staff just assumed we wanted pork ribs 排骨. *sigh* On hindsight, we should have ordered an extra bowl of loin ribs just to compare.

Here are the supporting players that make up the rest of the cast:

Preserved vegetable

Salted vegetable, S$4.00.

Simmered till soft with a pleasant garlicky fragrance, the sweetish Kiam Chye 咸菜 put up a near-flawless performance, if not for the pool of oil it was sitting in.

Tau pok

Tau pok (braised beancurd puff), S$4.00.

A lack of sweetness failed to balance out the saltiness of Tau Pok.

Braised tau kee

Tau kee (braised beancurd skin), S$4.00.

Tau Kee put up a commendable but unmemorable appearance.

You tiao

You tiao, S$1.50.

You Tiao looked and felt a bit weary, but who can tell once it’s dunked into hot, peppery broth?

Mixed bowl

Pig organ soup, S$6.00.

I gave Pig Organ Soup‘s cameo a miss.

Braised pork trotter

Braised pork trotter, S$8.00.

Ah…here’s Pork Trotter, the antagonist who threatened to steal the show! The restrained use of herbs and spices was much appreciated, and the meat, while retaining some bite, was sufficiently tender. But Pork Trotter would have really stolen the show if it had been less lean and more mean!

After averaging out the total cost of the meal, we paid about S$13.00 each person, inclusive of drinks, towels, and GST charges.

We left feeling full, but less than satisfied. Founder’s bak kut teh is definitely better than average. However, I can’t help but feel that it’s a blockbuster that failed to deliver.

Tau huay 豆花, S$1.10.

Tau huay 豆花, S$1.10.

After dinner, we walked to the nearby Rochor Beancurd (Balestier branch) to gossip over dessert. The warm tau huay was divinely light and silky!

Founder Rou Gu Cha Cafeteria
347 Balestier Road
Ground level of New Orchid Hotel
Singapore 329777
Tel: (65) 6352 6192

12 to 2:00pm, 6pm to 2:30am
Closed on Tuesdays