Malaysia – Kedai Makanan Seng Huat – Bak Kut Teh (Pork Bone Tea)

Restaurant: Kedai Makanan Seng Huat
Cuisine: Malaysian/Chinese/Hokkienese/Hakka
Last visited: April 24, 2010
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Klang)
Address:
9 Jalan Besar (Under the bridge, near the fire brigade station)
Klang
Selangor Malaysia
Price Range: RM 7.50-10/person (about $2.50-3.30CAD/person)

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 6 (for bak kut teh if you know what it is, but 4.5/6 if you’ve never tried it)
Service: 2
Ambiance: 4 (for what it is!)
Overall: 6 – for authentic bak kut teh
Additional comments:

  • THE place for the best Bak Kut Teh
  • Famous for homemade Bak Kut Teh
  • Authentic & traditional Bak Kut Teh
  • Only serves Bak Kut Teh
  • Hole in the wall
  • Extremely local
  • Local favourite
  • Popular and best for breakfast/brunch
  • Not touristy
  • Crowded/packed/busy/line-ups
  • Indoor/outdoor seating
  • Cheap eats/Budget friendly
  • Quick
  • Dirty-ish
  • No English
  • Open 7:30am-2pm – breakfast/brunch/lunch
  • Open 5pm-8pm – dinner

**Recommendations: Arrive early for breakfast or lunch. Bak Kut Teh set meal – RM 7.50-10/person (about $2.50-3.30CAD/person)

Kedai Makanan Seng Huat is the best restaurant to try the best authentic Bak Kut Teh in Malaysia. It’s a popular local favourite and has been around for ages. It’s the most famous place serving the best Bak Kut Teh for Malaysian locals.

Bak Kut Teh is traditionally eaten for breakfast or brunch so we arrived at 10am and it was already packed with locals. I had locals immediately bring me here after specifically requesting authentic and traditional Bak Kut Teh – without hesitation it was the only place for them to go for this local Malaysian specialty.

They dish out fresh batches of bak kut teh all morning, and probably all day long.

What is Bak Kut Teh?

Bak Kut Teh is “meat bone tea” but it’s always made with pork so it’s actually pork bone tea. It’s made from meaty pork ribs that are simmered for hours in a herbal Chinese soup broth.

The tea broth or soup is made from tons of garlic, dried dates, ginseng, dried gogi berries, a variety of dried Chinese herbs, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, star anise and fennel seeds.

Chinese dried herbs in bak kut teh include: Angelica sinensis (Chinese herb), Fructus jujubae (dried Chinese dates), Polygonatum ordoatum or Scented Solomon’s-seal (dried flower petals), ginseng root, Rehmania glutinosa, Rhizoma lngustici and other herbs I can barely say let alone spell. They all have powerful medicinal value and health benefits.

Bak Kut Teh is traditionally served with a side of savoury Chinese donut. It’s the perfect side dish because the deep dried dough acts like a sponge and soaks up the bak kut teh.

It’s one of the most famous authentic Malaysian meals that originated from China. If you’re looking for traditional Malaysian food then Bak Kut Teh is a must try while visiting Malaysia. It’s most commonly and traditionally eaten in the morning (in the olden days in China to give the workers energy).

Another traditional side to Bak Kut Teh is soy sauce tea leaf eggs and tofu.

This is the basic table set up at Kedai Makanan Seng Huat.

You get to select your own tea, it’s one flavour for the whole table.

You have to wash the cutlery and dishes in boiling water before using them. Ensure they’re clean – typical thing to do in these kinds of hole in the walls in Asia.

They serve some tiny chilies on the table and this goes into a side dish of soy sauce for dipping. It’s if you want extra flavour with your pork or rice.

The kettle of boiling water to refill the teapots.

You drink from the tiniest teacups. It’s like 1/6 of tea per cup.

On the table:

This is the standard Bak Kut Teh menu (Servings for 4)

Rice5/6

  • Everyone is served a standard portion of steamed rice.
  • It’s pretty amazing rice with lots of flavour from the deep fried shallots in it.
  • This is a must with bak kut teh because the rice soaks up the soup.

What does Bak Kut Teh taste like?

Bak Kut Teh tastes like a combination of garlic flavoured soy sauce and tea laves. It has a strong tea flavour with so many dried herbs brewed into it. The dried spices add a licorice flavour and the dried dates and gogi berries give it sweetness.

The dominant flavours are salty sweetness from the soy sauce, licorice, followed by a slight bitterness from the herbs. It’s not sour or spicy at all. It’s very aromatic with a rich and bold flavour. It’s delicious with the rice and you can drink the soup by itself.

You are served Bak Kut Teh in 3 forms.

1) Pork’s Hock – 2/6 for me, but 6/6 if you usually eat it

  • Bak Kut Teh with pig’s foot.
  • This is definitely acquired and not for everyone.
  • The meat is actually really tender like pulled pork. It was hands down the most tender of the 3 pork parts they served. The meat just shreds away easily from the bone.
  • I just didn’t like the soft and slippery fat around it. It wasn’t that tender but it did add flavour.  If you’re a real meat eater than you’ll like the pork from this bak kut teh the best.
  • The people who eat pork’s hock at the table did love it!

2) Pork Spare Ribs4/6

  • Bak Kut Teh with pork spare ribs.
  • This one was pork rib with lots of fat. It was quite tender, but not falling off the bone tender like baby back ribs. Spare ribs in this case won’t really do that though.

3) Pork Spare Ribs – 5/6 (for me)

  • Bak Kut Teh with lean pork spare ribs.
  • This one was spare ribs with leaner meat and less fat. They’re probably not as flavourful as the other 2, but the slippery fat just doesn’t suit my palette.

Soy Sauce Tea Eggs5/6

  • Eggs that are hard boiled in soy sauce and tea leaf base. The flavour absorbs throughout the egg as the egg shells crack during the boiling process.
  • I love these things. They’re a popular and traditional side with Bak Kut Teh.
  • The sauce the eggs soak in is different from the Bak Kut Teh broth. It’s saltier, sweeter and not as herb tasting or meaty in flavour.

Soy Sauce Tofu- 5/6

  • These are firm pieces of tofu that soak in the same broth as the soy sauce tea eggs.
  • See… they DO take care of the vegetarians! Another staple when eating Bak Kut Teh.

Pork Intestinesn/a

  • You can add this to your set meal, but we didn’t. I took this picture from someone else’s table with my camera zoom… so excuse the random arm.

Kedai Makanan Seng Hut is located under a bridge beside a parking lot. After your meal you can buy some fresh pineapple from this guy.

 

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9 Comments

  • KimHo says:

    My mom used to prepare something similar to this. It is, indeed, as you mention, an acquired taste. In my case, even with my love of hock/trotters, I could only consume that much of it…

  • Bow W. Liu says:

    Mijune,
    Definitely the breakfast of “champions”, right up there with Persians eating lambshead soup, and Vietnamese starting with Pho Tai. Asians lean to something substantial and sometimes soupy(and salty). Looks great…more appealing than a bowl of cereal !

  • Phanyxx says:

    Damn that looks tasty. I’ll be in Malaysia this fall, so I may have to stop into this little place and chow down!

  • Mijune says:

    This was one of my favourite places in Malaysia and I still think about it! Highly recommend. We bought boxes of Bak Kut Teh Home to remake it…it was ok, but not the same of course. I love that “breakfast for champions” for Chinese people line…I’m going to tweet that!

  • jer says:

    Your experience looks amazing. Hawker and Hawker-like restaurants like these are truly what define Malaysia. I’ve never seen Bak Kut Teh served as a multi-course meal but usually with everything put into one pot and cooked; its definitely an interesting thing to see it served in this style. It’s sad that Vancouver (in my opinion) seems to lack anywhere with truly good authentic Bak Kut Teh. Luckily, being from Malaysia and having a mother who can cook amazing authentic Malysian food, I don’t have to go very far whenever I’m craving it. As for eating Bak Kut Teh in the morning being traditional, I didn’t even know that. I always thought of it as a lunch/dinner type of meal.

  • Mijune says:

    jer – it was seriously an unforgettable experience! I didn’t even hear about it until I arrived in Malaysia. I’ve never even seen it in Vancouver! You are soooo lucky you get it whenever you want. Where do you usually go for Malaysian food in the city?

    Yeah it’s such a hearty and heavy breakfast/brunch…. but that’s what gave the workers energy back in the days and I guess that tradition stuck around there.

    Thanks for your comment!

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