I have a new found fascination with bak kut teh – though it’s only fair to declare that more than half that interest is rather the result of the braised pork trotters all bak kut teh stores serve.
I’m not claiming expert status at all here – in fact, you may have that title if you’d like – and this love for the dish is immensely new; so much that the basis for this review will be generic. is the meat moist, is it tender, and do the flavors meet expectation?
if you’re not familiar with this dish, bak kut teh comes in two styles: herbal and peppery. the latter is more popular with my family (and more common, in singapore anyway) – but both are essentially intensely-flavored soups made with garlic and pork ribs.
over here, it’s a decent peppery broth with pork ribs that tread that line of almost-too-fatty, and measures up probably midway in the scale of pepperiness.
dough fritters are essentially a must when having bak kut teh – for dunking into soup – but the ones here were slightly stale and a little too limp.
it’s a common issue amongst these stores actually, as the fritters tend to be cooked early and sit around waiting to be served – such a pity, as the just-enough-dunkness of a crispy thing (much like biscuits in tea) is magical when done right.
(this is kinda gross, but did you know that the pig livers bleed into the soup?! oh, major gross.)
but my favorite part of the meal was the braised pig trotter – which comes rather satisfying as a whole piece of meat-falling-off-bone hidden under the gelatinously fatty skin. I don’t go much in for the latter – which I know must make me all sorts of embarrassing – it’s the soft, delicious, tender meat under that does me under.
the braising liquid is fragrant with star anise and lots of good stuff, and the darkness permeates the meat so it’s this delicious-upon-sight mass that cuts softly, tears easily into long shreds (I love it when meat cooks well this way), and eats far-too-easily.
I say yes to the braised pork trotters here, but I figure the soup is a little more take-it-or-not – the peppery broth at the Katong Ng Ah Sio is a little more satisfying that way, and I prefer a higher meat-to-fat ratio on my spare ribs.
Founder Bak Kut Teh
154 Rangoon Road
tel +65 6292 0938
$$: pretty sure you could swing a good meal under 15