Monday, May 2, 2011

Bak Kut Teh (Pork bone tea soup)

Few months ago, Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover gave me few packets of  Bak Kut Teh (BKT) herbal mix and only yesterday I finally got to use it.  Sonia, thanks again for being so thoughtful.

My mum had made this dish many times in the past with BKT herbal mix that she bought from the Chinese Medical hall but the taste of the soup made from Old Grand BKT herb mix has a distinctive difference. The soup had a stronger “dong quai” taste which is the most important ingredient in Bak Kut Teh soup. “Dong quai” is an herb that has been used for centuries in China. It has a strong celery-like odor and a sweet taste. This herb is believed to have balancing effect on the female hormonal system but taken in high doses, may increase your sensitivity to sunlight and cause skin inflammation and rashes.  "Dong qui" takes three years for the plant to reach its maturity and maybe this is one reason why it is expensive. Most commercial ready made BKT herbal mix contain very little of it but in the case of Old Grand BKT mix, there is a right amount in it and that makes the soup perfect.

With the instruction clearly printed on the packet, it is so easy to do.  I followed the recipe but I added a stick of sugar cane and the outcome is mouth-watering worthy. When the soup and pork ribs were ready, I added two sheets of "foo juk" (bean curd sheet) before I serve the dish with "youtiao" (deep fried strip of dough). If I have some straw mushrooms, I would have added those too. You may add other ingredients like "tau pok" (fried bean curd) or even lettuce. BKT sold outside has all kinds of pig's internal organs which I prefer not to put in mine. LOL!

Note: A tip from my mum. - blanch the pork ribs before cooking them in the Bak Kut Teh soup to get a good texture and by doing so it will eliminate the porky smell. 



  1. I not usually a soup fan, but this looks amazing;)

  2. I have not have BKT for a while now. I love Dong Quai too but doubt that my family here will like it. BTW, can you please tell me what is white soy sauce?

  3. I am a 'soupy' person and I enjoy bak kut teh. Thanks for the tips and the recipe.

  4. What an unusual dish. I haven't come cross something like this before. Looks intriguing and delicious.

  5. Guaylo Alert! This soup (a hearty stew really) would please most Western palates. The only problem is obtaining the packet of blended herbs to make it. If you happen to be passing through Singapore's Changi airport a good brand of the herb/spice mix can be obtained at the local foodstuffs shop in terminal 2.

  6. How sweet is quaylo to give the full info where to get the BKT packet. I have had this for a long long time. Frankly, it's quite expensive to eat at the stalls these days. Every extra bowl of soup count!!! So, must remember don't simply add... haha... Thanks for sharing. Happy HOliday to you, Veron.
    regards, Kristy

  7. i wonder how to clean the intestine and stomach. I like my BKT with those things

  8. i try this "Old Grand BKT herb mix " before, the taste is not bad, and i will cook once a week Bak Kut Teh cos my 3 kids love it very much,

    p/s:can say that because i'm "PA SANG" Po lah, so must support it mah...hahaha:)

  9. bak kut teh is my favorite soup! love it with fried doughsticks :)

  10. This is tempting, I love BKT very much, especially when it is served with youtiao. I like dong guai also, but it's quite heaty I think.

  11. this is one of my fav- funny enough it wasnt when I was growing up. I have grown to appreciate it esp in cold weather here!

    I like how u also used the fried dough as well!

  12. Your BKT looks very delicious. Actually I quite like the pork intestines and pork stomach in BKT. In Klang, some serve the intestines without first removing what's inside, but I prefer those that are cleaned and 'layered' i.e. a few intestines stuff inside one another. These are really cripsy and tastes good.

    Thank you for visiting My Nice Garden blog. So glad to find your blog.

  13. Oh, learned something. Do me a favor by sending my thank to Ah-Ma. Klang bak kut teh is always good. =)

  14. Hi veronica! I looooooooove bak kut teh! I was told that the ones from Msia are quite different from the ones we have here in SG. havent gotten round to try those across the causeway yet but definitely will do so when I visit KL or something!

    oh yeah, something nonsensical but somewhat ticklish. The red sticker on the wrapper with those chinese words in calligraphic styles looked almost like a talisman. I found myself staring hard at it for more than a second before i could make out what's written! Just silly me talking... lol

  15. Bak Kut Teh reminds me of my dad. It is his favourite. I like it too.
    Yours looks so delicious.

  16. This looks delicious but I am sure I will never find the ingredients :-( Diane

  17. I love soup and this not only looks delicious, but easy to follow. :)

  18. My sister makes an amazing version of pork neck bone soup. I'll have to pass this onto her!

  19. Sounds like everyone know this soup as BKT (this is first time I even spell it out). I have tried this soup and it's nice... some ingredients are not familiar like white soy sauce...? but very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  20. David: I am the opposite of you, I can have soup with every meal:D

    Reese, Nami: So sorry that the white soy sauce sounds confusing. It is a direct translation from cantonese "Pak Yau" :D White soy sauce is just light soy sauce.

    Keats: you are welcome.

    Kristy: My Quaylo loves BKT and he used to bring back stocks of the herb packets from Singapore and they are good too.

    Joelyn: Haha, you are so cute, yes, must support products from our own hometown.

    Kathy: You are asking a monk for a comb my dear... hehe... I have no clue how to clean intestines and stomach.

    Jean, Daphne: Dough stick soaked in the BKT soup is super delicious.

    Min: you are right, my mum said "dong qui" is heaty so cannot take too much.

    Autumn Belle: thanks for dropping by and leave your comment. I am not a fan of intestines but my mum and my son love them.

    Pei-Lin: Will do. Long time have not gone to eat BKT in Klang, we should go together one Sunday.

    Alan: You can read Chinese? I am impressed. So what was written on the packet? I think even if I started at those Chinese calligraphy for 100 years, I will not figure it out. No wonder my mum said she regretted not sending me to a Chinese School.

    Mike: Nice of you to think of your Dad when you come across food that he likes.

    Diane: I am sure it is hard for you to get those ingredients especially the herb packet. If you really want to try making it, I can send you a packet can it pass the custom?

    Abby: Thanks for dropping and leave your comment.

    yummychunklet: that is sweet of you to think of your sister.

  21. yay, i love bak kut teh and the, slurrp..3 bowls please!actually i think i enjoy the soup and the veggies more than the meat but then if i were to eat the meat, i must pick the fatty belly!does this oldgrand bkt mix comes from the chinese medical halls too? yeah, that dong quai gives a very nice aroma to the BKT, my mum used to tell me that if i buy the commercial ones from the supermarket, do add in few slices of the dong quai to enhance the flavour.

  22. This sounds like an amazing soup! Love the pork and tea combination!

  23. Glad to know your family like this BKT...let me know if you want more of this.

  24. Lena: the Oldgrand BKT comes from Klang. I know the fatty belly is nice but very sinful lah. You mum is right we got to add a bit more dong qui to the mix to get a nicer flavor.

    Peggy: Hope you will trying making this someday. I promise you that you will not regret it.

    Sonia: I definitely will. Since you said, "Ngoh mm hak hai lor" hehe

  25. Hi Veronica,

    What an excellent soup this is. Dong quai is one of those things that I categorize in the either you love it or hate it section (along with durian haha). Some people cannot stand the smell or taste. My Mom can't drink it but she still makes it for us for it's health reasons. I actually quite like it so I know how wonderful this soup tastes with it. I'm glad you left out pork internals, I stay clear away of that stuff. Haha. The long doughnuts are a great addition to this soup. I've never tried that with this soup before, but must now. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us, Quay Po. Hope all is well with you and your family.

  26. This is the dish I seriously miss! My mum gave me a couple of packets of mix (different brand) but I still haven't had time to make it. I remember being made to take Dong Quai when I was younger, can't admit I was a fan ;P Thanks for another great contribution.

  27. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.... I miss Bak Kut Teh so so so very much.... Instead of buying those pre packed Bak Kut Teh mix, can anyone share what exactly are the ingredients that would make up the mix?

    1. If you want to do your own herbal mix, here are the ingredients to use for 1 kg of pork spare ribs. 4 pcs tong kwai (angelica roots)
      1 cinnamon stick
      5 cloves
      2 tsp white peppercorns
      2 whole star anise
      1 tbsp goji berries


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