Hong Ji Claypot Bak Kut Teh in Marsiling or simply Woodlands bak kut teh is one of those food stalls in Singapore worth making a detour for.
Who would think that one of Singapore's best bak kut teh stalls is in the island's far north. At Blk 19, Marsiling Lane in Woodlands.
Hong Ji now has branches in Ang Mo Kio, Sin Min, Upper Thomson, Hougang, Bedok and Geylang, but it's birthplace is in Marsiling. So, most people refer to it simply as the Marsiling or Woodlands bak kut teh.
With a heavy blog debt (i.e. backlogged blog posts), I seldom blog about an eatery more than once within a year (though I might visit it several times). Hong Ji Bak Kut Teh is one of the exceptions.
This was what we had today for SGD18, which I thought is very good value in Singapore. It was a lot of food for two people.
Our claypot of mixed bak kut teh. There were pork ribs, liver, small intestines, pig stomach with spongy tau pok and lettuce. The claypot was bubbling with hot steaming broth when it arrived.
The pork ribs were cut into short pieces. The meat was tender (not soft) with a slight chewy bite left. The fibres were infused with light herbal flavours and a slight porcine taste which I liked. Just a touch softer would be perfect for me.
There were about 5 or 6 pieces of short ribs which I thought was generous.
Nicely done, soft small intestines 粉腸 with the "wet powdery" inside.
The strips of pork stomach had the right tender bouncy texture but not much flavour.
The thinly sliced liver clumped together but still tasted good and was soft with some graininess. It was not overly fibrous or rubbery despite being left in the bubbling hot broth while I shoot photos ;-p
The broth was round bodied with a distinct yet gentle, likable herbal taste. There was very little grease floating on the broth. It actually felt comforting and addictive to me.
Hong Ji's Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) style herbal broth differs from the Singapore Teochew variety with it's peppery, garlicky clear broth. I enjoy both as variety is the spice of life ;-D
Hong Ji offers "free flow" of herbal soup top ups, with no questions asked. We put their generosity to the test.
They did ask a question.
"How many people?"
They wanted to know that, so that they can serve us the right amount of soup.
The braised pork trotter.
Tender (not soft) and infused with light herbal, savoury sweet flavours.
Nice chewy bite especially the skin and fats, though not the creamy gummy juicy kind.
Just nice softness, braised groundnuts. Gently herbal savoury sweet flavour.
Bean curd sticks braised in herbal savoury sauce till the right softness.
Again, we enjoyed our herbal bak kut teh meal very much at Hong Ji Bak Kut Teh 宏记药材肉骨茶.
If I could, after my meal, I always hoped to meet the boss for a few moments to better understand the food and the business from the owner's point of view.
Hong Ji's founder Mr. Lim was in this evening ;-D
Friendly Mr. Lim was very busy but paused to shake my hand when I asked for permission to take a photo. Never mind that I was a camera totting stranger in singlet and running shorts, intruding into the stall's Sunday evening peak hour.
There were just too many people waiting for their food, so I had to take my leave and not disrupt Mr. Lim at work. (Must be "automatic" lah ;-p ) I will be back another day for an opportunity, hopefully to speak with Mr. Lim.
Hong Ji Claypot Bak Kut Teh is a stall inside Teo Chap Bee coffee shop. As you can see, it is a very busy corner of Marsiling, especially on weekends.
Never mind the fanciful name "Marsiling Court". It's a friendly laid back corner where residents and neighbours gather.
Here is my earlier post about my previous visits to Hong Ji at Marsiling.
Restaurant name: Hong Ji Claypot Bak Kut Teh 宏记药材肉骨茶 (inside Teo Chap Bee Eating House)
Address: Marsiling Lane, Blk 19 #01-329, Singapore
Hours: 7:30am to 9:30pm
Dates visited: 12 Oct 2014, 13 Oct 2014, 8 Mar 2015
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