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Bak Kut Teh

March 29, 2010

I love Bak Kut Teh. It might just be my most favorite local dish ever.

For some time now my favorite Bak Kut Teh place has without a doubt been Ng Ah Sio Pork Rib Soup on Rangoon Road (they’re the ones who dissed Donald Tsang when he came to Singapore and requested that they open up in the store in the evening just for him, and they replied with a hearty “nope”). Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh is clear, very peppery and oh so good.

When I make Bak Kut Teh at home, my favorite spice pack to use is ILC Bah Kut Tea spice. This is the little orange one that you can get cheaply at most supermarkets and wet markets. It’s also good and peppery (though I usually throw in extra pepper just for good measure).

Last night though, I used a different set of spices for the first time in a long time, which I had bought from San Shu Gong (三叔公) in Malacca when I went there for a conference in January. San Shu Gong is a quaint confectionary & tea house situated on Jonker Street, and a favorite among Singaporean visitors. (I found some great shots of San Shu Gong on this other blog, if you’re curious to have a look-see. And for my friends in the US, this is totally random but I was surprised to discover that actually sells San Shu Gong Bean Mee!)

Ever the dutiful Singaporean, I made a run to San Shu Gong the first chance I got. I had actually not visited the place during my previous two trips to Malacca (I was less dutiful then), and was pleased to find that it carried the thick dark soy sauce and shrimp paste my mum-in-law had requested, along with a host of other mouth-watering goodies. Among my purchases were three packets of Lian’s Bak Kut Teh spice, which I didn’t use till last night.

The result was fabulous. I think it was much due to the fact that the spice mix included a marinade for the meat, which just made the dish that much more flavourful. My husband and I typically aren’t much of fans of dark Bak Kut Teh (we prefer clear Bak Kut Teh soup), but this one’s really good.

I’m including the cooking directions here, but it’s pretty much the same process no matter what mix you use (except that many mixes don’t include a marinade for the meat).

Lian’s Bak Kut Teh


Lian’s Bak Kut Teh spice mix(contains 1 packet of marinade, 1 packet of spices)
1kg pork ribs
6-9 black mushrooms
2-3 whole garlics (not cloves of garlic, but whole garlics), outermost layer of skin removed
1.6litres water
3tbsp light soy sauce
1tbsp dark soy sauce


1. Wash and marinade pork ribs with marinade packet.

2. Put mushrooms, garlic, water and bak kut teh spice packet into big enough pot. Bring to the boil.

3. Add pork ribs and cook for 15 minutes.

4. Add light and dark soy sauce and bring to boil.

5. Continue to cook on low heat for 45 minutes. Serve hot.

Here are some pictures! The top two pictures are of my regular BKT spice, and the swanky-looking one I got from San Shu Gong. The bottom two are of the meat marinading, and then being cooked with the other ingredients.

Next time you find yourself in Malacca, do consider picking up a pack or two! It’s worth the money =)

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Lazy Susan permalink
    March 29, 2010 11:24 pm

    i like the rangoon rd bak kut teh too! u know.. san shu gong has an outlet at the basement of T3! will check out if they sell the spice!

  2. apprenticehousewife permalink
    March 30, 2010 8:53 am

    Oh wow it looks awesome. The soup looks really thick!

  3. mrsmultitasker permalink*
    March 30, 2010 5:43 pm

    apprenticehousewife: Thanks! =) Soup is very flavourful yup.
    Lazy Susan: I know I read that online! I’ll have to go check it out too. But Changi is soooo faaaar…..

  4. March 30, 2010 6:15 pm

    I prefer the clear, peppery BKT (Teochew style) anytime! But I don’t think it is my favorite local dish! Thinking of my favorite now…so many…don’t know where to start from….kekekeke

  5. March 31, 2010 9:25 am

    Teochew style rocks. Any day. Woooo! Being a blogger has its privileges. 😉 Someone gave me Ng Ah Sio’s BKT pre-mix and I used it to cook for my mum and sis. It was so, so, so, so gooooood!!!

    PS: It’s not available commercially, in case that’s your next question. 😉

  6. April 4, 2010 12:51 pm

    I love mushrooms prepared like this, too. They get this meaty, savory quality that is just irresistible.

  7. trissalicious permalink
    April 5, 2010 9:46 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try this recipe ever since I saw it in one or two blogs. Your recipe reminds me that I haven’t made it yet. I know I should – looks delicious and I like the fact that you can use a packet too! 🙂

  8. mrsmultitasker permalink*
    April 18, 2010 11:15 pm

    Ju: Yeah I’ve been tempted to buy the Ng Ah Sio packets! But you have to buy ten at one go… Maybe I’ll buy a set and give half away =)
    Trissa you absolutely should try it. I’m sure when you do it’ll be terrific.

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