Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh at Seng Poh Road 老字號中峇魯肉骨茶 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tiong Bahru is a foodie haven in Singapore. One of my favourite eating places here is Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh. Old Tiong Bahru BKT at Seng Poh Road serves the Singapore Teochew style of peppery bak kut teh together with hot Chinese tea.

I like Old Tiong Bahru's BKT broth as it has moderate body and a smooth, subtle viscous feel from dissolved gelatin. The broth tasted mildly savoury sweet with a gentle peppery aftertaste. There was also subtle underlying garlic taste. I prefer this than BKT broth with sharp upfront peppery heat.

Owner Judy makes Old Tiong Bahru BKT's signature viscous savoury sweet stock by boiling pork bones and meat in high heat for at least 4 hours. Judy uses no MSG or other chemical flavour enhancers.

For bak kut teh in Singapore, my favourites are prime rib and pig tail. Prime rib is referred to as "dragon bone" 龍骨 in Singapore. Old Tiong Bahru serves "dragon bone" at $5 a piece.

For prime rib, Old Tiong Bahru uses fresh pork from Indonesia which is considered premium in Singapore as it is never frozen. They use frozen pork for "normal" ribs (which is the norm in Singapore).

At Old Tiong Bahru, the juicy meat and fat taste naturally sweet. The prime rib is cooked around 30 minutes till it is fall-off-the-bone tender but with a bit of spring and subtle resistance to the bite. (It would be a waste of quality ingredients to cook fresh meat till it is mushy soft.)

I had a serving of 茼蒿 Tang Oh as I like the fresh vegetable's signature green taste and also because it gives me an excuse to enjoy more of Old Tiong Bahru's soup.

I didn't take a picture but Old Tiong Bahru BKT make and fry their own you char kway. The crisp Chinese crullers are the best thing for soaking up BKT broth. 

When I asked Judy who doesn't look like her 66 years age, how old is Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh, she lost count of the years. She brought out her loyal crew who had been with her for decades since her parents' time.

Judy totalled up the age of her team and it was over half a Millennium! 😮 The youngest member is Judy at 66.

Judy's parents who hailed from China, started a street side Teochew porridge stall at Wayang Street (now demolished) in Chinatown around the 1930s. The stall served many side dishes to go with plain porridge. Bak kut teh was one of the menu items.

They later moved to Tiong Bahru and focussed on BKT, which later became Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh. But today, the stall also serves many traditional side dishes to go with rice, in addition to bak kut teh. So, the stall has come full circle back to its roots (except that they still don't serve porridge).

Among the popular items is their braised pork trotter. The meat, fat and skin were braised till tenderly juicy but not mushy. The pig trotter tasted mildly savoury sweet.

Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh also has hei zho 蝦棗 done in the traditional form of a ball (instead of a roll). The hei zho is made with mashed prawns and water chestnut (no pork is used).

A round of Chinese tea completes the bak kut teh experience and makes everything tastes better.

4-Stars (out of 5). I like the balanced mild savoury sweet peppery taste and smooth viscous feel of Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh's broth. I also like the springy bite of the tenderly juicy fresh prime ribs. Pricing is also reasonable. Eating among the charming art deco shophouses in the Tiong Bahru area adds to the enjoyment. There's plenty of heritage and interesting hip places to walk off the calories after BKT 😄

Restaurant name: Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh 老字號中峇魯肉骨茶
Address: Blk 58, Seng Poh Road, #01-31 Singapore 160058
GPS: 1°17'04.4"N 103°49'57.8"E 1.284541, 103.832729
WazeOld Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh
Tel: 6223 3075
Hours: 6:30am - 9:00pm (Monday off) As there is limited stock of prime ribs daily, the best time to be here is from brekky till lunch.

Non Halal

Date visited: 2 May 2018

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I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't. All comments with genuine identities are published.

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