When two people are craving for Bak Kut Teh, they made their way to satisfy their cravings, simple as that. Despite its very accessible location along New Bridge Road just opposite Clarke Quay mrt station, that was my very first time visiting 松發肉骨茶 Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, an eatery specializing in the Teochew-style pork ribs soup since 1969. Garlicky, hot and peppery, that's how I love it! Bak kut teh is especially comforting during rainy weather, but when craving strikes, it strikes. Even if it's hot and humid out there, bak kut teh can still be very enjoyable inside air-con comfort.
Bak Kut Teh is literally translated as "Meat Bone Tea". The Teochew-style version is primarily a broth of pork ribs simmered in copious amount of garlic and pepper, as well as various herbs and spices. One might be fooled by the seeming innocent-looking clear soup, but one sip will bring you a sensation most robustly hot and peppery that warms you all the way from your throat to tummy. This is best defined as "shiok"! There is also the Hokkien-style bak kut teh which is less peppery but with a stronger herbal taste. The most distinctive difference in appearance from the Teochew version would be the darker-colored broth. Tea is usually served alongside with bak kut teh as it's believed that it can dilute the fats consumed in this pork-laden dish.
The most dangerous thing that can happen when you let a hungry PinkyPiggu do the ordering is that she will rattle off her list of usual must-order items for a bak kut teh meal robotically, irregardless whether there's two or five people sharing the food. No surprise that we ended up with a table abundantly filled with Pork Ribs Soup ($6.50/$8.50), Braised Pig Trotters ($6/$8), Braised Beancurd Skin ($3.50/$5.50), Salted Vegetables ($1.20/$2.20/$3.20), Groundnuts ($1.20/$2.20/$3.20) and Dough Fritters ($1/2/3). A bit too much food, because her friend don't eat this, don't eat that, which was only found out only when the chomping started -_-;
It is said that hunger is the best condiment to a meal, but still, I'm not really satisfied with what we had that evening. The bak kut teh soup was neither as hot or peppery as I would like it, but was instead a tad mellowed and leaned towards the sweet side. I like the meat of the pork ribs though, which was competently tender yet retained a nice bite. Fried dough sticks are perfect for soaking up the bak kut teh broth, if only they were crispy instead of hard. I'm not gonna be too picky about the braised beancurd skin, groundnuts and salted vegetable, because though as essential sidekicks, they are not the main reason to draw me to a good bak kut teh place. The braised pig trotters with its savory sauce was very enjoyable with the bowl of white steamed rice.
My friend was very amused that I was taking photos of all the food the table, including the bowl of rice. What I made him understand is that I wanna capture in picture memory, all aspects of the meal, even more so because bak kut teh is best complemented with a bowl of fragrant white rice, dark soya sauce and chili padi. Not one of these elements can be omitted for a complete bak kut teh experience.
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh may not serve up the best bowl of bak kut teh that I've tried, but I take consolation that it's not the worse. For decently executed bak kut teh in a convenient heart-of-town location, this will suffice. Yes, my craving was satisfied. Temporarily. Let's move on to the next better place :p
松發肉骨茶 Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
11 New Bridge Road
Address: 11 New Bridge Road #01-01, Singapore 059383
Contact: +65 65336128
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 7am-9.30pm, last order 9.15pm / Closed on Mondays
17 New Bridge Road
Address: 17 New Bridge Road #01-01, Singapore 059386
Contact: +65 64382858
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11am-9.45pm, last order 9.30pm / Closed on Mondays
UE BizHub East (North Tower Office)
Address: 6 Changi Business Park Avenue 1, #01-38, Singapore 486017
Contact: +65 66948098
Opening Hours: Daily 10.30am-9.30pm, last order 9.15pm