Visit Good Taste Bak Kut Teh at Chinatown
Everyone has their own comfort food and for me, nothing beats a warm bowl of bak kut teh. I love the tender cut of pork ribs, the assortment of sides and, of course, the robust broth. However, as peppery Teochew bak kut teh form the majority here, eateries offering the herbal “Malaysian” version are few and far between.
Hence, when I heard that Sarawak’s oldest bak kut teh brand, Good Taste Bak Kut Teh, recently opened in Chinatown, I knew I had to visit the restaurant.
Food at Good Taste Bak Kut Teh
Every good bak kut teh begins with a rich soup and their Mix All Bak Kut Teh ($10/$18/$27) left a strong first impression with its herbal fragrance. Other than the usual pork ribs, the soup here features a mix of cuts, including pork belly, stomach, and intestine.
Prepared from a blend of 15 herbs, the broth barraged my tongue with a consecutive combo of different flavours. I initially detected the honeyed zing of wolfberries, with the bitter tang of dang gui chasing closely behind. This herbal medley then mingled with the savoury tang of the pork, creating a delicately balanced taste.
Instead of the usual long rib, the ribs here were chopped into bite-size portions. Stewed in the broth for more than two hours, the tender meat peeled off the bone with minimal effort.
What I love most about Hokkien-style bak kut teh is the unique flavour profile of its meat. Infused with the essence of the herbs, the porkiness of the rib were bolstered by a clean and sweet aftertaste.
Much like any bak kut teh stall, an assortment of condiments is available on the side. My favourite combination is a mix of minced garlic, chopped chilli padi, and dark soya sauce. The heated touch of garlic, the fiery burn of the chilli, and the sweet oomph of the sauce enhance the porkiness of the meat.
The chunky pork belly slices were a pleasant surprise. Every bite of the meat offered a slight bounce, enabling me to appreciate its full succulence.
If you are a fan of offals, you will appreciate the preparation behind their small intestines. Interestingly, each intestine was stuffed with a second entrail, creating a triple-layered intestine that offered a firmer bite. Most importantly, the intestines were thoroughly cleaned and were free of any residue.
Don’t forget to order a bowl of You Tiao ($1.50)! Like a hamburger served without fries, bak kut teh seems incomplete without dough fritters to sponge up the broth. Unlike the dry and doughy you tiao served at some stalls, the ones here are freshly prepared and thrills with its fluffy texture.
With our noses enticed by the delicious aroma and our ears piqued by the sizzle of the chicken against the claypot, we were unanimous in ordering the Claypot Chicken ($9).
The hua diao jiu heightened the flavour of the chicken, while its taste slowly retreated from the spotlight. The traces of alcoholic sweetness infused in the chicken supported, instead of dominate, the woody accent of ginger and the piquant zing of dried chilli.
Given the savoury kick offered by the chicken, the dish is best enjoyed with a bowl of rice. Effusing light whiffs of onion, the Onion Rice ($1) was the perfect bed to soak up the full-bodied sauce.
You can’t talk about Sarawak without inevitably mentioning kolo mee, and the Sarawak Kolo Mee ($5) was the ideal dish to conclude our meal. Specially produced in Sarawak, these maggi-esque noodles are tossed in shallot oil and light soy sauce. A garnish of braised pork slices, fried shallots, and spring onions completes the dish.
For those unaware, kolo mee is actually made without alkali. Unlike mee kia, the noodles lack an alkaline aftertaste and are less slippery on the tongue.
Typically prepared from a blend of egg, tapioca flour and plain flour, the kolo mee boasted a unique springiness. In a spectrum of textures, it hovered between the light elasticity of mee kia and the robust chewiness of ban mian.
The light sauce draws focus to the noodles, highlighting its eggy taste. For a stronger flavour, consider adding several spoonfuls of their fishball soup to inject a burst of saltiness to the noodles.
However, I believed they could be more generous with the meat. Each bowl of noodles comes topped with four slices of razor-thin braised pork and a small dollop of minced meat. Though the sliced pork was both luscious and tender, it failed to justify the above-average price tag.
Ambience at Good Taste Bak Kut Teh
Stepping into the restaurant on a hot afternoon was akin to stumbling into an oasis in a desert, as I instantly found comfort in the cooling breeze of the air-conditioners. And with the spacious layout ensuring plenty of seats, the stall has an overall relaxing vibe to it.
An added bonus is its accessibility. Good Taste Bak Kut Teh is a 7-minute walk from both Outram Park and Tanjong Pagar MRT station. There are also carparks nearby should you plan on driving there instead.
Relishing the full-bodied soup, I understood how Good Taste Bak Kut Teh established itself as one of the household names in Sarawak. And while the distinct herbal taste may seem unfamiliar, the unique brew of sweet, bitter, and savoury flavours will entice you back to Good Taste’s doors.
If you are a fan of Malaysian-style bak kut teh, be sure to also drop by Good Year Seafood Village, a hidden gem in Tampines which adds ginseng to their herbal broth!
Address: 39 Neil Road, Singapore 088823
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 2pm, 6pm to 11pm
Tel: 8283 1873
Good Taste Bak Kut Teh is not a halal-certified eatery.
Photos taken by Heng Wei Shin.
This is an independent review by Eatbook.sg.
– Flavourful herbal-based broth
– Chewy and well-cleaned pork intestines
– Springy Sarawak kolo mee
– Slightly expensive dishes
– Small portions
Recommended Dishes: Mix All Bak Kut Teh ($10), Claypot Chicken ($9), Sarawak Kolo Mee ($5)
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 3:30m, 6pm to 11pm
Address: 39 Neil Road, Singapore 088823