THERE are not many dishes that hit all the right spots at any time of the day, but the hearty bak kut teh fits the bill.
Traditionally cooked in a claypot, the dish comprises various cuts of pork (including the innards), slowly simmered in fragrant Chinese herbs.
The mark of a good bak kut teh lies in the broth, be it rich in herbs or a light soup base.
It is served with white rice, yam rice or even garlic rice. Most eateries offer side dishes such as blanched lettuce, and deep fried crullers (yar char kuey) as well as complimentary “soup top-up”.
Here are some of my go-to places for bak kut teh in the Klang Valley.
RESTORAN TTK, No.1, Jalan Pandan 8/6, Pandan Jaya, Ampang
While Ampang might not seem like a first choice when it comes to bak kut teh, TTK serves up a unique variation of the dish – Double Boiled Bak Kut Teh.
Chunks of pork meat in a herbal broth is served in porcelain bowls with a helping of white rice or yam rice.
The bak kut teh has oodles of herbs like yok chok and wolfberries. The rich meat-like taste of the Chinese black mushrooms also adds to the flavour of the broth.
What is great about this version is that the soup has less oil and the taste of the herbs is quite pronounced.
The flavourful yam rice comes with bits of yam and dried prawns.
If one feels there’s too much meat, the restaurant also offers steamed fish which is also popular with diners.
AH WONG BAK KUT TEH, Jalan Anggor, off Jalan Kelang Lama, Kuala Lumpur
Not to be confused with the Ah Wang Bak Kut Teh in the same area, Ah Wong is a nondescript shop that serves a pretty decent version of the dish.
The only indication of the shop is a small board – blink, and you will miss the turning.
It has two variations including braised pork belly and bak kut teh with spare parts and ribs. Blanched lettuce and plain white rice completes the meal.
The soup is rich with spice and herbs, but not overpowering which may appeal to some. There is also generous portion of button mushrooms and taufu pok.
The star here though is the braised pork belly, which is reminiscent of the stew. But unlike traditional stew, this is not too sweet as it did not have any vegetables.
This is a no-frills restaurant, but it offers good grub and is located close to the city centre.
Be forewarned, though, that parking can be a problem on busy nights.
BAK KU TEH KLANG YIP YONG, No.12A-1, Jln PJU 5/10, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya