24 Jan Soon Lee Bak Kut Teh
Bak-Kut-Teh which can also be pronounced as Bah-Kut-Teh is a Hokkien dish that was brought over from Fujian, China many years back. It is a pork stew of sorts where meaty pork ribs are simmered in a complex broth with chinese herbs and spices including star anise, cloves, dang gui, fennel seeds and garlic. It is very commonly consumed in both Malaysia and Singapore and synonymous to the Chinese community in South East Asia. It is usually served with strips of fried dough (char kway), light & dark soy sauce as a condiment with chopped chili padi and minced garlic is taken together. A pot of hot tea is the best companion while eating Bak-Kut-Teh as it is more of a heaty dish whereby tea will able to cool down the heat of eating this delicious dish.
As much as Ipoh’s Claypot Bak Kut Teh does not match the general perception of Malaysia’s renowned Klang Bak Kut Teh in Selangor, it comes pretty close (In our humble opinion). With the high hope of bringing our papa to enjoy a good lunch when knowing how much he loves Bak Kut Teh, we went to one of the Bak Kut Teh with the longest history of 28 years in business by the name of Soon Lee Bak Kut Teh after our morning briefing in our flagship property, M Boutique Ipoh last Tuesday (Papa refused to go as he had eaten already). 5 of our family members went in the same car and arrived at around 11.00am. If you are a baby of the 80’s, then you must have gone through the ordeal of this place as it was very famous back then that is situated at the back of a school by the name of SMK Jalan Pasir Putih.
Bak Kut Teh Soup
Black Sweet Vinegar Pork Trotter
Fried Chinese Dough (You Char Kway)
A Complete Bak Kut Teh Meal
For a start, we ordered a pot of Claypot Bak Kut Teh and a pot of Chu Geok Chou (Black Sweet Vinegar Pork Trotters) at the portion of 5 persons, a plate of vegetables and a bowl of Char Kway (Deep Fried Dough?). After 15 minutes chit-chatting and gossiping (oppps!), the Bak Kut Teh finally came to the table! It was full of loads of meat cutlets, taufu pok (fried tofu) and some offals shimmering in herbal broth. Meant to be eaten with plain rice (some like to dip in the char kway), it is recommended to pour a spoon or two (more is better!) onto the rice. If it were to compare to the Klang version of Bak Kut Teh, the overall taste is milder. However, the meat is quite tender which is perfect to munch with rice and guess what? Bottomless soup at no additional cost at all; be warned you need to raise your hand and request! (super good news for herbal soup lovers!) The price is considered quite reasonable as it is charging at RM10.00 per headcount.
Chu Geok Chou (Black Sweet Vinegar Pork Trotter), came 10 minutes after the main dish. It is a traditional Chinese dish often deemed as confinement food, as it promotes vigour and good chi. The main ingredients for a nice pot of this dish are just the pork trotters/pork knuckles, some radish, some dried chilies, ginger, and the sweetish sourish black vinegar. In certain parts of China, this dish is not cooked over and open flame, but the entire dish is steeped in this black vinegar which the vinegar itself is used to “cook” or “cure” the meats over a few days or weeks. Some people call this the maturation process. Back to our flame cooked dish …. it’s full of ginger aroma and the pig’s trotters are so moist, tender and succulent after the slow simmering in the aromatic yet pungent, black vinegar. Same as it’s big brother, we were a little miffed when the owners charged us RM10.00 nett per headcount. To balance our meaty meals, we have also ordered a plate of vegetable at a medium portion.
Last but not least, a pot of hot Chinese Tea! To locals this is synonym with any bak kut teh meal in Ipoh (or Malaysia) where you’ll find a teapot on every table. Here, you can either order the tea from the shop or bring your own “preferred” tea leaves for the connoisseurs. Hot water is available at numerous corners of the shop for a refill. Yes, if you wanna refill, you got to do it yourself. We were charged RM5.00 per pot regardless how many cups which is very very reasonable by todays standards!
We would consider this as a satisfying meal with all the herbals soup in our stomach. We have spent about RM105.00 for this meal which is at the average of RM21.00 per person including drinks. Our rating? 3 over 5 as the s0up would have been nicer if the broth is thicker.