Bak Kut Teh or 肉骨茶 (which literally means pork bone tea) apparently originated in the Fujian Province of China and was definitely foundational in Singaporean and Malaysian culinary blueprints. And it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that Singaporean and Malaysian Bak Kut Tehs taste different – Singaporean Bak Kut Teh is peppery and garlicky which is a Teochew variety, whilst Malaysian Bak Kut Teh weighs heavier on the herb-y side (which honestly took me a while to get used to).
I recently made a trip up to KL and had the great fortune of trying out ‘Dry’ bak Kut Teh, a super-stewed claypot version – don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the claypot to get that bit of tang and spiciness from the chillies! The pot of green and gold comes not only with pork ribs, but also pig intestines and stomach [yummy] and a generous helping of lady’s fingers *slurps*!
Now come to think of it, I am missing the taste of good old Singapore Bak Kut Teh – the best I’ve tried is at Founder’s Bak Kut Teh (Balestier) or you could just make your own at home by buying those little packets of Bak Kut Teh Seasoning from the supermarket (Cold Storage and NTUC have them) pop it into a pot with pork ribs and bowl away – this way you can tweak the flavour as you go along (i like to add extra garlic :)) The wholesome hearty soup is surely worth the (rather minimal) effort!