Monday, May 14, 2007

Hock kee bak kut teh

Never an appreciative figure for pork ribs soup or "Bak Kut Teh", this dish never succeeds in drawing my attention away from that delectable piece of pancake or the smothering smell of carrot cake being fried *goes weak in the knees*. That is, until I tried the Malaysian version of it which "converted" me.

The main difference between the Singapore and Malaysia version is the type of soup that is being used. The former dictates a clear, savoury but peppery broth with a few sticks of ribs while the latter boosts of a dark coloured, herby broth in a claypot filled to the brim with good stuff. Vegetables, mushrooms, tau kee, pig's innards, you name it. Now that I seldom travel to Malaysia, my cravings have increased three-fold.

Recently though, I was introduced by a friend to this stall at Alexandra Village Food Centre which sells bak kut teh. I was admittedly half hearted when I ordered it but was pleasantly surprised afterwards. While this wasn't the Malaysian kind of Bak kut teh, it wasn't the peppery kind either. Now, would any kind soul drop some clue to what it really is?

A slight, subtle herb/tonic essence can be tasted in the broth which thankfully, isn't peppery at all. In fact, it isn't even clear to start with. The dish presents itself in a claypot filled with dark broth and three pieces of pork ribs (which is not very economical for $4). Not richly boiled, it serves as a pleasant bowl of soup to down a bowl of rice with. The pork ribs weren't exactly tender to the point of falling off, nor were they tough to the point of causing a toothache. Slightly tender would be an appropriate description but three pieces of ribs just don't get the job done man.

Only was the food fully digested the next day did I was told that the specialty of the stall was it's ter kah (pork leg), three layer pork and salted vegetables. ..Thanks alot.. Still, I'll be back for more so in case you're still not satisfied, stay tuned!


Alexandra Village Food Centre
Hock Kee Bak Kut Teh

1 comment:

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