“Bak Kut Teh”, literally translated as “meat bone tea” is a form of broth/soup famous in Malaysia & Singapore. It consists of pork ribs simmered for hours with herbs and spices.
I have to say this is the first time I tried it, after spotting a new restaurant opened in the Tai Hang eating streets. Southeast Asian foods are not overly common in Hong Kong, mostly because the taste preferences are for cuisine from Japan, Korea, and Thailand. But since I am going to be living in Singapore 70% of the time, I like to believe my taste buds are in sync with my Southeast Asian counterparts.
When I suggested to my friend that we go try out the “bak kut teh”, she was a bit reluctant because she said she has all these “heat” inside her, so it might not be a good idea, because the soup has so much herbs that are supposed to “enhance” your wellbeing internally. In Chinese thinking, the body needs to be balanced so there shouldn’t be too much “heat” or “coolness” inside a body. When a body is heated, it needs to cool down with wintermelon, watermelon, herbal jelly, chrysanthemum; whereas when the body is cool, one needs to intake such things as liver broth, chicken ginseng broth, anything rich and dark in color I think. It’s a matter of balancing the yin and yang of the body.
I tend to have a heated system, so I need to eat a lot of “cool” food to balance myself out. Anyway, I convinced her and we headed into Tai Hang. The nice surprise is the “bak kut teh” came with a bowl of chicken grease rice too! Sounds gross but tasted great! My friend told me to try the soup in Singapore, she thinks it tasted a lot richer than the one we had. I’ve to try it in Singapore before I can comment, but as I am drinking the soup, I do feel like my “inside” is enhancing and filling with old ancient goodness.