Sarawak’s Oldest Bak Kut Teh (28 years old) Opens in Singapore

Craving for Bak Kut Teh? Or want to try a new style of BKT that’s less common in Singapore?

A couple minutes’ walk from the Chinatown and Outram Park MRT stations, is Shi Li Xiang (Good Taste) Bak Kut Teh. It’s a humble family establishment serving up delicious Malaysian-style fare at reasonable prices.

We ordered a couple of dishes, and here’s the lowdown.

The spread!

Klang-style Bak Kut Teh

The delicious Klang-style Bak Kut Teh

Of course, first to be mentioned is the star dish, Bak Kut Teh soup. The soup is served steaming hot in a claypot. It takes two hours for the soup to be prepared. 15 different Chinese spices are also utilised to produce the heavenly aroma. The owner, Mr Zhang Jin Lai, also informed us that the pork they use is high-quality pork imported from a farm in his hometown of Sarawak.

For $10 for a ‘small’ portion, the soup is served with offal, pork belly, bak kut (pork ribs)(of course- that is embedded in the etymology), mushrooms, beancurd skin, tau pok, and offal, for which they use intestines and stomach. The intestines are worthy of note, as they are prepared in a way that tubes three into one. As such, you get thrice the goodness!

The unique intestines, with three stuffed into one

Of course, we all love tau pok, and the soup bursts in your mouth upon biting down. The soup itself is different from the Bak Kut Teh most Singaporeans are used to, of either the peppery or herbal variety. The Klang-style broth on offer still retains the significant herbal taste we love, but with strong influence from the mushroom and a hint of that lovely claypot burn. Additionally, the spices combine extremely well together to create a symphony of flavour in your mouth.

We also ordered Onion Rice to go along with the rich flavours. It is cooked with fried shallots and tastes similar to chicken rice. It is a great way to rebalance and cleanse the palate, particularly with all those heavy dishes. Noodles are another popular option.

The bak kut is also soft and easy to bite into. Overall, the Klang-style BKT served was tiny step into unfamiliarity, but an excellent and delectable one nonetheless. After all, it is what people come here for!

You Tiao (A fried Chinese donut) is essential in complementing Bak Kut Teh. At Good Taste Bak Kut Teh, they make it from scratch!

Dry Bak Kut Teh

Another popular alternative is the dry Bak Kut Teh. Essentially, the pork ribs are not served in the soup, but with a rich gravy. The claypot arrives at your table piping hot, with the gravy still bubbling.

For visual reference, this is exactly what it looks like when served.

The spice hits immediately, but it isn’t overwhelming and adds a great dimension to the dish. The gravy is thick and flowing with rich flavour. The meat is well cooked and of the right texture. Overall, it’s an intensely flavourful dish and a must-try.

Stewed Pork Leg

Comfort food for most Chinese Singaporeans, this dish will take you back to your grandmother’s kitchen of culinary legend. The gravy is bursting with flavour, but not too salty. The spices have a nice kick but are not too overpowering. As you can tell, there is good balance in this dish.

The stewed pork trotters, at $8 for the ‘small’ portion.

Upon biting into the meat, you will feel how wonderfully soft and tender the pork is. The exceptional texture, along with the well-loved flavour, make this an A+ dish.

Claypot Chicken

Claypot Chicken

Of the many dishes we tried, this was one of the favourites. Immediately noticeable is the rich and savoury flavour. The strong influence of hua tiao jiu (Chinese wine) is a distinctive addition to the taste.

The chicken is well-cooked and achieves the optimal degree of tenderness. It is very tender and soft. Overall, this is a very tasty dish. Limpeh recommends!

Chicken Feet

This may seem scary to many Westerners, but many Chinese are no strangers to the dish. If you’re looking for a good place to enjoy it, the chicken feet dish served here is a great option.

The Chicken Feet w Mushroom dish!

The chicken feet are cooked thoroughly, to the point where they are saturated with the rich dark sauce and the meat is practically falling off the bone. The skin’s texture is akin to that of beancurd skin.

Sambal Petai

Petai, chou dou, or bitter bean- whichever name you choose to call it- is not for the faint of heart. But if you are part of the camp that loves petai, this dish will be an attractive choice for you.

This dish is not for everyone, but is delicious nonetheless.

The pungent odour hits your mouth immediately. The beans are also crisp and nice to bite into. Lovers of petai would really enjoy this.

I am not a huge fan of petai, so my attention turned to the sambal sauce instead, which is more on the sweet than spicy side. It was surprisingly tasty.

Verdict

This is a humble but established brand, having been run since 1992. It built up a significant reputation in Sarawak before the owner opened his business here. As such, you can expect authentic Malaysian flavours and consistently good cooking. The dishes are prepared with traditional methods that retain the distinctive taste of the owner’s Malaysian hometown. Other Malaysian dishes are also available, such as the famous Sarawak Kolok Mee. Overall, the food and experience was really enjoyable.

If you would like to pay a visit, here are the details:

Address: 39 Neil Road, Singapore 088823

Opening Hours: 11am to 2.30pm and 6pm to 11pm daily

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodTasteBakKutTehSingapore

(Fun fact: following a video on Facebook, the restaurant became so popular and in demand that the opening hours were changed to better handle the surge)

Bak Kut Teh lovers are most welcome. Enjoy!

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