Want to have an excellent late-night supper, Singaporean style? Simply ask any Chinese taxi driver on the night shit where he goes for bak kut teh!
How did it come about? The story goes that a gentleman from Quanzhou in China passed this secret recipe to a friend who came to Singapore, where it was modified over time. Another story goes that it is an authentic Singapore creation by the Hokkiens. Simple but intensely flavourful, it consists of pork ribs and other cuts simmered slowly in stock until tender, with herbs, garlic cloves and judicious seasoning. Essential accompaniments include white rice, you tiao (Chinese fried dough fritters), sliced red chillies in soy sauce, and a pot of Chinese tea.
Different dialect groups make slightly different versions of bak kut teh. For instance, the Teochews prefer a clear, aromatic broth that sings with garlic and white pepper, whereas the Hokkiens cook up a dark broth redolent of Chinese herbs believed to boost the immune system and improve health. It is said that early Chinese migrant workers who could not afford expensive medicinal tonics relied instead on bak kut teh to keep themselves strong.
One of the best ways to explore the Balestier area is to do a bak kut teh crawl. It is famous for its bak kut teh stalls, most of which are at their busiest in the evenings up until the wee hours.
- Founder Rou Gu Cha
347 Balestier Road
- 333 Bak Kut Teh
325 Balestier Road
- Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Eating House
208 Rangoon Road