I have been a regular at Rong Cheng bak kut teh at the old Sin Ming road flats (Blk 22) since years back. This was the first time I visited Rong Cheng's branch at Midview City which is a short (walkable) distance from the parent stall.
Rong Cheng's Midview City branch is an airy, spacious 3,000 sq ft shop.
The decor and furnishings are simple but the restaurant is very comfortable even in Singapore's tropical heat.
Lionel, the second generation owner, runs Rong Cheng's Midview City branch. (The Lim family has two Rong Cheng outlets, both in Sin Ming - Blk 22 and Midview City.)
"Dragon ribs" is Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh's signature. "Dragon ribs" 龍骨 are the 16 largest rib bones in a pig. Rong Cheng was the first bak kut teh shop in Singapore to pioneer the use of "Dragon ribs".
Rong Cheng founder Uncle Lim started his business at Sin Ming Road Blk 22 in 1976, when the area was still pretty undeveloped. In fact, Sin Ming was near Pek San Teng 碧山亭, Singapore's largest Chinese cemetery at the time.
To attract customers to his rather remote BKT shop (at that time), Uncle Lim resorted to using choice "Dragon ribs" without charging a premium. It was an expensive and risky gambit but an example of the daring-do of Singapore's pioneers. The gamble paid off handsomely. Rong Cheng soon became a household name in Singapore BKT and other shops also started to use "Dragon ribs" to keep up.
"Dragon ribs" are appealing, in part because of it's size and also it's interesting textures. At the tip, the meat is leaner and thus firmer. At the middle, there is some marbling and so the meat is more tender. The meat is most tender at the end, and there is also a layer of creamy, luscious fat which I like :D
The meaty rib carries mild, naturally sweet porcine flavours.
oh... the only elegant way to savour a "Dragon rib" is to hold the bone in your fingers like an ice cream stick and tear the meat off with your front teeth.
Easy and pretty.
Any other way will just splash soup on yourself, or worse, on your date or mother-in-law :P
Rong Cheng's bak kut teh is prepared in the Teochew style, which is cooking the fresh pork ribs in water with just garlic and pepper.
This clear, medium bodied, peppery broth is the most common style of bak kut teh in Singapore.
I also tried Rong Cheng's braised pork trotters which is standard fare in Singapore and Malaysia bak kut teh shops nowadays.
The trotter was a nice balance of tender meat, fat and skin in an gently aromatic and savoury braising sauce.
Nice "Dragon rib" and good braised trotters are, well, things I can find in other good bak kut teh shops in Singapore.
For me, what really stood out at Rong Cheng, was their boneless bak kut teh 無骨肉骨茶.
What oxymoron is boneless bak kut teh?
It's thinly sliced pork belly dunked shabu shabu style in bak kut teh broth.
The ribbon of air flown fresh USA pork had a lovely gently tender bite. The flavour was delicately, naturally sweet, and the fatty portion was not greasy at all. The fat "melted" into sweet tasting "water" when we chewed into it.
I like this signature dish at Rong Cheng, a lot.
To go with our bak kut teh, we enjoyed Chinese tea from Pek Sin Choon, a long time partner of Rong Cheng.
Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh is doing their part for the Singapore Ultimate Hawker Fest (charity food fair in support of 32,000 needy Singaporeans under Touch Community Services).
Get a taste of Rong Cheng's "Dragon ribs" and unique boneless bak kut teh together with over 20 other Singapore hawker food, support Lionel and other hawker heroes at:
Singapore Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014
Venue: SUNTEC Convention Centre & Exhibition Centre Halls 401/ 402
Date: 22 Nov 2014 (Saturday)
Time: 11:00am to 5:00pm.
Get your Singapore Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014 coupons here.
Thank you Lionel for your hospitality.
Restaurant name: Rong Cheng (Sin Ming Road) Bak Kut Teh 榕城(新民路)肉骨茶
Address: Blk 26, Sin Ming Lane #01-117, Midview City, Singapore
Hours: 7:00am to 9:00pm
Tel: (+65) 6684 1889
Date visited: 14 Oct 2014
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