Bak Kut Teh for us has always been a treat since childhood. My family stayed in the Whampoa area when I was a small boy, which is not far from Balestier Road, whose shophouses are dotted with Bak Kut Teh shops, all claiming to be the “most original”, the “most authentic” or the first to set up shop here. Whichever the case, I’d never eaten at any of these Bak Kut Teh joints when I was young because the price was really prohibitive. The cost for a bowl of Bak Kut Teh with rice for one could easily settle dinner for my family of four at the Whampoa Hawker Centre nearby. Moreover, my mum always cook our meals which is more economical, not to mention homely.
Soup is a big thing in our family but usually kept very simple. It would be cabbage, peanuts or black beans cooked with some chopped pork ribs or lean pork and chicken feet. Once a while, when spare ribs were more affordable and the costs more bearable, my mum would cook Bak Kut Teh, using pre-mixed sachets from the neighbourhood grocery store. So my childhood impression of Bak Kut Teh has always been really peppery and somewhat savory, which I got to know later on as being “Singapore-Teochew Style”. When I learned about the Hokkien style Bak Kut Teh from Klang Selangor, I remember being quite fascinated by it. The idea of a Chinese herbal soup is not alien to us. Mum cooked a variety of traditional soups using Chinese herbs all the time, mostly for their medicinal properties to cure certain minor ailments or boost our “qi“. But the herbs used, together with their beneficial effects, not to mention bitter taste are the key components of the concoction while any meat, be it chicken or pork added to form a broth simply act as a vector. So for the pork ribs to take centrestage and soya sauce subsequently added into a soup, the idea was quite mind-boggling. So when Selangor MFF was announced, I knew I have to try to cook the Hokkien-style Bak Kut Teh, a delicacy which Klang is mostly known for, not only by the locals but also foodies from other states in the Peninsula as well as folks from as far south as Singapore.
July 11, 2013 | Categories: Food, Simple Eats | Tags: Bak Kut Teh, button mushrooms, chinese mushrooms, 玉竹, 福建肉骨茶, 粉肠, 肉骨茶, 肉桂, 胡椒, 腐竹, 蘑菇, 香菇, 黄芪, garlic, goji berries, herbs, hokkien, kelang, Klang, prime ribs, Selangor, small intestines, spare ribs, tau kee, tau pok， 枸杞, wolfberries, youtiao, 党参, 八角, 北芪, 大骨, 川芎, 巴生, 当归, 排骨, 枸杞子, 桂皮, 油条 | 16 Comments