(Pork) Rib Sticking Bak Kut Teh


I’ve got Bak Kut Teh on the brain again. Problems like trying to fit  my entire Havaiana slipper collection into my luggage have been replaced by packing issues of another sort. Namely “Can I manage to squeeze in both mee suah and rice with my Bak kut teh without bursting? Is everybody watching, judging, laughing at me while I stuff my face?” Sadly, the answer could be yes, but I’ll just have to take my chances. Wouldn’t you, for a meal like this?

I only like the Klang style bak kut teh. Pork ribs in aromatic herbal soup, brimming with  succulent pork ribs, bean curd skin (tau kee), golden mushrooms, vegetables and lots of stuff I can’t remember. At least that’s how it’s like in Klang…

Like roti prata, a good herbal bak kut teh is ridiculously hard to find in Singapore. At a friend’s suggestion and the help of  local food blogs, I found myself at Leong Kee in Geylang. It serves up a decent version – just need to be careful not to burn your tongue…

Still obsessed, I trawled the Internet until I came across  Top 15 Bak kut teh places in and around the Klang Valley, Malaysia . Shivers ran down my spine picturing all those clay pots of mouth-watering herbal soups with succulent ribs and preserved vegetables, and suddenly I didn’t want to go anywhere but Malaysia. Unfortunately, I’m heading in a totally opposite direction but that won’t stop me eating as much as I can before I leave, savouring every mouthful like this:

One: Always drink the first mouthful of soup with some rice, the starch somehow enhances the soup’s full body and makes the herby flavours ‘pop’. After the first mouthful…repeat…

Two: Pork is must be dip, dipped into black sauce with chilli…followed by a spoonful of rice and soup. The sweet-saltiness of the sauce combined with the meat and fat create a sense of umami. It’s a taste that lingers on the tongue long after the morsel of meat has melted in the mouth…m…m…m…m…m..

The right kind of black sauce is thick and molasses-like, with hints of burnt caramel. Don’t accept any other.

Three: Variety is key. In true greedy girl fashion, I must have lots of sides dishes:

Extra tau kee (beancurd skin). Leong Kee doesn’t put mushrooms in their soup, so one day when I’m crazy enough, I will bring my own to throw into the bubbling claypot.

Braised pig’s trotter. Leong Kee’s version doesn’t do justice to the dish which should be savoury and rich from all the gelatin in the trotter.

Preserved vegetables. Also good when eaten with rice, right after some of the pork.

Har Chiong Kai or fried shrimp paste chicken wings add a little crunch to the meal. Leong Kee’s coats theirs with lots of shrimp paste – yummy!

You Tiao or fried dough fritters. Very nice when soaked in the soup and should add some texture when crispy enough.

These weren’t very crispy or fresh, so we used it to stop a bee that had crawled into the coke can.

While this can’t beat anything you’ll find in Klang, I think Leong Kee is as good as it gets in Singapore. If you disagree, don’t be shy to tell me where there’s a better one….I have 5 more days here…

Leong Kee Klang Bak Kut Teh

251, Geylang Road (Beside Lor 11)
Singapore 389309

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About Mizdee

Food, food, food. Apart from love, it's the other thing that makes the world go round. When I'm sad it's a comfort, when I'm happy it's a celebration and when I'm not hungry, it's just greediness. But hey! Why not? Life is short too pass up a good meal.

6 comments

  1. We never really met, and already, you’re leaving :(

    Anyway, this post is killing me woman! I don’t eat pork at home because of hubby but now I’ve got bak kut teh on the brain too! Thank you very much!!

    And I’ll tell you who makes the best ; MY MA-DER, dat’s who!!!! ;)

    • Miz Dee

      Denise, YOUR food makes me want to rush over to your place for dinner – especially that post on Eid curries. Sedap!

      and yes, it’s a shame we never met, but hey, at least it’s nice to know I’ve met another kindred spirit – the kind who always have food on the brain ;) if you’re ever in this part of the world gimme a shout!

      on your mum making the best BKT in the world…STOP…you’re making me want to rush over to her place for dinner now. just out of curiosity, did you convert or do u not just eat pork at home because your husband is muslim?

      • I didn’t convert – we have a strange arrangement LOL Seriously – it’s not for everyone but I stayed Catholic and he stayed Muslim. I don’t eat pork at home but outside, it’s totally game on baby! ;) It works for us – wouldn’t recommend it though. Certain quarters of our homies aren’t as open and live and let live as I had hoped *shrug* Our society is still not quite as cosmopolitan as some people like to imagine……

      • Miz Dee

        Mmmm…I can understand that…when it comes to religion there is sometimes less tolerance than what the religion itself preaches.
        Feel for ya babe, but kudos that you guys are living the way you want!

  2. That looks really good. Like, really really good. What are the chances of me finding a good bowl in Toronto? ;p I feel like I need to educate my asian tastebuds some more, I have no idea what bak kut teh tastes like…I know what you tiao tastes like—awesomeness!

    • Miz Dee

      Hey there, sorry for this SUPER late reply…I’ve been off posting for a couple months now. moving cities – who knew it would be that disruptive?
      Anyway, in answer to your question, Bak Kut Teh (or Rou Gu Cha in mandarin) is amazing. the soup is rich and herby and the ribs are boiled tender til they fall off the bone, but I’m afraid I have no clue where you could find something like that in Toronto. you could try buying sachets of the soup mix in an Asian store. with the mix all you’d have to do then is add the fresh ingredients and maybe boil it with some pork bones and more chinese herbs to give it more oomph. and if you’re feeling adventurous, maybe try making the you tiao yourself ;)

      PS: there is NO spam in Berlin – amazing for a nation of people who eat so much pork!

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