Ever since I started blogging about Johor food, I have eaten lots of bak kut teh. Actually, to the point of bak kut teh ad nauseam. But there was one bak kut teh stall that I kept missing, either because I came on their day off (monday) or after they were sold out for the day (around 2:00pm).
RM13 for this bowl of mix meat and ribs for two persons.
But since I heard that Pah Li Ban 八里半's Bak Kut Teh is very good, I just had to go to Jalan Skudai Batu 8½ to complete my unfinished business.
I am so glad that I did.
Pah Li Pan bak kut teh stall is a very small, laid back, family run business. This pot is all the bak kut teh that they make and sell for the day - nothing more. (The stall also serves a popular curry fish head which I haven't tried yet.)
No wonder, every time I came, the bak kut teh was sold out. But because so little is made everyday, this is authentic home cooked food. This bak kut teh is different from those that we find in bigger establishments where an army of workers fight frantically to meet the horde of customers' orders during peak hours.
Here at Pah Li Ban, we sat down in kampung ambiance for the leisurely meal and enjoyed the wholesome bak kut teh flavours personally prepared by the boss from start to finish. No assembly line food, rushed to the customer at the point of serving.
八里半 bak kut teh is prepared with the same 40 year old family recipe originally developed by the shop's founder. The broth was dark, delicately herbal, slightly sweet and not-too-salty. The globules of oil were more visible on the surface perhaps because this is a darker broth.
The meat was just the right texture and bite. Neither too soft nor too firm. The juicy meat was easy to chew and to enjoy.
I normally return the you char kway that comes with the bak kut teh as more often than not, they looked soft and unappetising to me. At 八里半, the you char kway looked crispy and freshly fried, so I decided not to send them back straightaway.
I am so glad that I broke my own rule about you char kway. When I dipped the you char kway into the broth, it sponged up the flavours very well. When I bite into the you char kway which was soaked and dripping with the flavourful broth, I was delighted. The wet, flavour loaded you char kway still crackled slightly. It was tasty and fun to eat. Next time, I won't be too quick to reject you char kway without first trying them out, first.
I also liked 八里半 Bak Kuh Teh's preserved vegetables. The crunchy vegetables was a nice balance of blended flavours that can be referred to as 咸酸甜 salty-sourish-sweet. Very nice.
I will come back to Pah Li Ban 八里半 Bak Kuh Teh for more of their homely bak kut teh and try out their fish head curry which the boss spoke so enthusiastically about.
Restaurant name: Pah Li Ban 八里半 Bak Kuh Teh
Address: 1-A, Jalan Skudai, Batu 8½, Skudai, Johor Bahru
Hours: 8:00am to till sold out (usually by 2:00pm) (Closed on Monday)
Date visited: 18 July 2012