Mum suggested that we have bak kut teh (BKT) at Old Tampines Road this evening and I agreed. Nothing like piping hot soup on a cool rainy evening! This casual restaurant is located along a row of shops amidst heavy vehicle parking and stacks of old tyres. I felt like I was in Johor Bahru.
I was amazed to discover that this hole-in-the-wall was pretty darn packed! I guess you can always trust Singaporeans to sniff out good food, regardless of surrounding. Right beside the restaurant is a kopitiam that apparently serves pretty good and cheap zi char. Patrons can sit at both places and order food from either or both.
The large table of teenagers ordered a whole lot of food and we even spied a huge plate of black pepper crabs. Gotta come back to check that out sometime. There were 3 types of chilli – normal red cut chilli, chilli padi, sambal chilli and chopped garlic. When I noticed that the dark soya sauce is of the thick variety, I had a good feeling about this place. The soya sauce is very important, ok?! If I’m at a BKT place and they serve wussy watery black sauce, it’s an immediate fail (in my books).
Ordered a ‘mixed bowl’ (which contains liver, pork balls, and all things pork-related) and a bowl of ‘pork ribs’ (for me). Naturally, we didn’t forget the all-important side dishes of cai buay (salted vegetables) and you char kway (dough fritters).
I was surprised that the food took a while to arrive because I’m thinking, how hard is it to dish out a bowl of pre-cooked BKT? Turns out that each bowl is prepared separately by heating up the soup again. Ah.
When the food arrived, it looked and smelt good. Mmm…And it was YUMMY! The soup was flavourful and tasty. The meat fell off the bones easily which made it easy to eat. I hate it when I have to gnaw on the bones to get to the meat. Best of all, service was quick and prompt. Requests to top up the soup was met quickly (unlike some other place) and they were really generous too. To me, eating BKT is all about the rice, the dark soya sauce, dunking the you char kway into the soup and of course, drinking copious amounts of soup.
This is also possibly the first time that the you char kway is grilled and crispy! More often than not, we get cold, limpy ones. The cai buay were nothing out of the ordinary though. I like that my bowl of pork ribs came with added tow kee (dried beancurd skin).
Mum took the name card and passed it to me. Heh. Here are the contact details to make a reservation (recommended if you have a large group) and directions on how to get there. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the mood for good old-school BKT!