We got a chance to try and compare the Buk Kut Teh from Malaysia and Singapore.
I had Buk Kut Teh when I was growing up but not often.
I only remembered it being tasty.
“Buk Kut Teh”‘s pronunciation is Hokkien dialect, which literally means “meat bone tea”.
The soup is popular in Malaysia and Singapore are and it was of Chinese origin.
The 2 countries neighboring each other serve up vastly different Buk Kut Teh and it was a fantastic experience to have both!
Let’s start with the Singapore one.
We went to Ng Ah Sio, one of the famous spots in Singapore.
The beginning of the store dated back to 1950s.
The soup was extremely peppery, garlicky and delicious.
The pork bones were cooked for a long time and they were very tender and the soup was rich.
Aside from the pork bones, there really was nothing else that I could see.
It was likely that the herbs and spices were in the kitchen’s main pot.
For the Malaysian one, we went to Crystal’s Restoran.
This Buk Kut Teh was completely different.
The flavor was overwhelmingly Chinese herbs in the soup with the pork bones.
The soup was very complex — perhaps a little clove, cinnamon and probably lots of other ingredients that I simply could not tell.
The place had open area for preparing Buk Kut Teh.
Both the Singapore and Malaysia eateries served different food.
In Singapore, we had stewed tofu, both the firmer kind and the fried tofu puffs.
We did not eat too much there because by the time we got to Ng Ah Sio, it was already our third stop for food in less than 4 hours!
We got a side vegetable with garlic which was superb.
Aside from Buk Kut Teh, I believe food would be very good there as well.
As for Malaysia, we ordered Assam Pedas and pig intestine.
The fish was very fresh and soft; the tangy and spicy Assam sauce was a great compliment to the steamed fish.
I am not a big fan of pig intestine, but this soup was fantastic.
It was completely full of white pepper and ginger flavors, which removed all the “piggy-ness” from the intestine and made the soup amazing good.
Both Buk Kut Teh were ordered with a side of fried dough.
The best part in both stores was that soup was unlimited!!!!!
Since I really only enjoy drinking the soup and could care less about the actual pork bones and meat, I was in heaven!
The waiter/waitress would keep coming with a teapot/bowl full of soup to refill.
My friend told me that we were paying for the meat; but I was definitely going against the ancient Chinese teaching of “eat the expensive stuff” in this case!