KLANG: Foreign delegates attending the 7th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention turned out in full force to have a taste of bak kut teh, a dish unique to Malaysia.
Over 300 overseas Chinese were at the Klang Hokkien Association building yesterday to savour the broth of stewed pork simmered with an assortment of herbs and spices.
According to the chief chef for the banquet, Yeoh Tow, bak kut teh had over the years become synonymous with Klang like char koay teow with Penang.
He said the word teh does not represent Chinese tea, which is a complementary necessity in eating the dish, but the name of the founder.
“Bak kut teh started out as a poor man’s diet, eaten mainly by trishaw pullers and coolies who had little time for lunch.
“Most of them were also addicted to opium. To get rid of the aftertaste and replenish their bodies they started mixing meat with nutritious herbs and there, you’ve got bak kut teh” said Yeoh.
He added that over the years several masters added their own styles in cooking the dish.
Instead of pork as the main ingredient, chicken, seafood or vegetables were used.
“It’s my favourite food. It has spread to Indonesia but it’s not the same,” said Indra Wahidin, a delegate from Medan.
“Whenever I am here I will come to Klang to eat it,” he added.
Another delegate from China, known as Y.H. Zhong, said: “It’s like durian. I’ve heard so much about it and finally I get to taste it,” adding that the taste was “absolutely excellent.”