Bah Kut Teh (BKT) is a herbal pork-based soup, made famous by the Chinese community and served predominantly in Malaysia and Singapore. The name literally translates to “meat bone tea”.
When I was working in Singapore many years ago, my boyfriend took me to a BKT shop. According to him, it was one of the most famous restaurants on the island serving this dish. I sat down patiently waiting for my BKT only to be greeted with a diluted peppery soup. It was nothing like the Klang BKT that I am used to. In Singapore, they serve BKT with pickled veggie but in Klang, we have it mainly with onion oil lettuce “you chai” or “yau mak”.
When my friends, Lana and Hadi, who both stay in Singapore visited Malaysia last weekend, I was eager to let them try this dish, Klang style. Needless to say, they absolutely loved this version of BKT.
I frequent two BKT shops in Klang which are located right next to each other. The first is “Restoran Teluk Pulai Claypot Bak Kut Teh” and the other is “Restoran Weng Heong”. In my opinion, both places serve excellent BKT so choosing where to go would depend on your individual taste. Some like a thicker broth and some like it lighter, some prefer a more herbal taste while others like it milder. If you’re a fan of a thicker broth, Weng Heong is a better option.
BKT is a broth that is simmered for hours in lots of herbs and spices most notably star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, fennel seeds, garlic, “dang gui” and “kam chou”. Pork bones and meat are boiled in this broth along with oyster sauce, black sauce and soy sauce. You can always order your BKT with just the meat (no bones) or have it sans meat (vegetarian style).
We usually eat BKT with lots of additions – mushrooms (button, Chinese, enoki), “kam chan koo”, fish-balls, innards, bean curds and “foo chok”. Of course, you can choose to forego these additions and have the broth plain, with just rice. But don’t forget the delicious “yaw zha kwai” or “you tiao” (sort of like a Chinese doughnut) and vegetables. To enhance your dish further, make sure you have it with chilli padi (bird’s eye chili) together with minced garlic and dark soy.
Most of us enjoy this dish with a good pot of hot Chinese tea. They say it helps to wash off that fatty pork-laden soup. Oh, and remember, the soup is refillable (free of charge)! And you will definitely have it refilled at least once if not twice.
“Restoran Teluk Claypot Pulai Bak Kut Teh” serves a flavourful broth that is has a milder herbal taste to it and is not too thick. If you are ever in Klang, make sure to give their BKT a go. Although this may not be the best in town, I am sure it is good enough to lure you back.
I’m eager to know… which is your favourite BKT shop?
Teluk Pulai Bak Kut Teh
No 32, Jalan Batai Laut 5,
Kawasan 16, Taman Intan,
41300 Klang, Malaysia