Bak Kut Teh
This dish can be found in both places, but I have to be honest, the one place that it is known for is in Klang, Malaysia. Lucky for me, my aunt happens to live in Klang which was where we spent most of our time during our trip to Malaysia! Bak Kut Teh is a very savory and herbal pork soup. The combination of herbs as well as the amount of herbs total makes or breaks what is considered by the locals to be “good bak kut teh”. Some of the herbs I recall are star anise, cinammon, and garlic. LOTS of garlic. The pork meat is basically pork ribs, and it is set in the soup stock and allowed to simmer almost all night long.
Nowadays you can get bak kut teh packets from the grocery stores in Malaysia and in Singapore. They are pre-packaged so you can basically bring them overseas, especially since everything is dried. That way, you can make this dish at home.
One of the things that is difficult to make at home from scratch in the United States are the chinese donut cruellers (you tiao 油 條）。 These bits and pieces come from one main long donut, and they soak up the soup quite well while giving it that nice fried bread flavor. If you’re feeling more on the healthier side, you can easily just pour tons of the soup over the white rice which is how its normally served. Sometimes, you can even ask to sub out the pork ribs (which most people don’t do) for oiler tofu (puff tofu) or tofu strips as well as beef intestines. I know that sounds gross, but tripe is pretty darn tasty and people eat it in pho all the time.
You can get “dry” or “wet” bak kut teh. I’m not sure what is the difference as they both come with soup, but I believe that the dry version is much more savory because it is not watered down by adding the tofu and the tofu skin and the meat.
I think I ate this dish about 3 times when I went back to Malaysia. My uncle eats it every day and drinks loads of tea. There is a tea kettle in between every 2 to 3 tables that allows you to a) wash and sanitize your silverware and cups and b) steep your own tea at the table. You can bring your own tea or I believe you can buy it there?
I definitely miss this as one of my favorite foods from Malaysia. There is a recipe found at Rasa Malaysia if you have the time. Currently I’m so swamped with school, it’s difficult to even find time to bake! Thank you again for stopping by, and I wish you a good weekend!