My Kiwi friends think I am loco over Bak Kut Teh, they want to know what is and why is this herbal; soupy dish so addictive ;)
According to Wikipedia...
"Bak-kut-teh (also spell bah-kut-teh; Chinese: 肉骨茶; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: bah-kut-tê) is a Chinese soup popularly served in Malaysia, Singapore, Mainland China and Taiwan (where there is a predominant Hoklo and Teochew community) and also, neighbouring areas like Riau Islands and Southern Thailand."
"The name literally translates as "meat bone tea", and at its simplest, consists of meaty pork ribs simmered in a complex broth of herbs and spices (including star anise, cinnamon, cloves, dang gui, fennel seeds and garlic) for hours.
Despite its name, there is in fact no tea in the dish itself; the name refers to a strong oolong Chinese tea which is usually served alongside the soup in the belief that it dilutes or dissolves the copious amount of fat consumed in this pork-laden dish."
The article in Wikipedia about this most popular S.E. Asian dish is definitely worth a read!
Sadly, in windy Wellington; there is only one place I can satisfy my craving for Bak Kut Teh! And if I am not wrong, the only noodle house that serve this delightful soup! There might be other but this place offer the best :)
R & S Satay Noodle House at 148, Cuba Street; Wellington (04-385 1496) is where I will go when I get the Bak Kut Teh urge.
Hoklo (Hokkien), prefer saltier food, use more soy sauce resulting in a darker soup.
Notice the small dish of chopped chilli padi with soy sauce which is the perfect condiment to dip the succulent pork into... yum!
There is a full clove of well cook garlic in the soup, I enjoy putting the clove in my mouth and literally suck out the soft fresh inside! Yum again!
This is what's left after 15 minutes... ha ha ha!
Sarah told me that when Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was on a 3 days visit in October 2012, the accompanying contingent came for lunch at R&S...
"They ordered FIFTEEN bowls of our Bak Kut Teh and they all love it!" Sarah beamed proundly.
Writing this make me extremely hungry, excuse me while I head for R&S Noodle House for my "pork ribs tea"!!