Thursday, 1 March 2012

MOVED. Bak Kut Teh @ Crystal (Bak Cheng) off Jalan Lumba Kuda (Lion Hotel)

This old Bak Cheng bak kut teh was declared the King of Bak Kut Teh in Malaysia by (leading Malaysian Chinese language newspaper) Guangming Daily in 2006. The panel of judges was led by celebrity food critic Chua Lam 蔡澜.

This achievement by a modest shop tucked in a corner of Johor Bahru is no mean feat considering the innumerable bak kut teh shops throughout Malaysia.

Last year, Bak Cheng was renamed Crystal Bak Kut Teh when Bak Cheng the owner handed over the reins to his daughter Crystal and grandson.

Looking at the regular customers at the restaurant, the old man's skills must have been passed on well to the daughter who has been helping her father at the shop for more than 20 years.

The unpretentious restaurant is simply laid out, clean and cosy. The walls are adorned with the awards and accolades Bak Cheng and Crystal received from the media.

Crystal is known for its soup with a slight herbal flavour. The soup is light and it is not oily, nor peppery or salty. This set of bak kut teh and rice costs RM8.

The meat has just the right tender texture, firmness and is naturally sweet. The boiled fragrant long grain rice goes very well with the soup and meat. Eat these together with chopped garlic, chili and dark soy sauce for added spiciness. It is just a perfect match. 

The meat and bones are stewed in large pots of herbal soup over slow charcoal fire.

Definitely one of my clear favourites.

Restaurant name: Restoran Crystal Bakuuteh Restaurant
Address: 49, Jalan Lumba Kuda (same building as Lion Hotel)
GPS: 1.467855,103.769614
Hours: 8:00am to 3:30pm (closed on Weds)
Non Halal

Crystal bak kut teh is in the same building as Lion Hotel

Date visited: 27 Feb 2012


  1. Bro Jk, today I chiong Crystal BKT even though it is a Monday and I thought all BKT stalls will take a break since wet market is closed..wah, I muz say that this is an entirely new experience for me - eating BKT with lots of freshly chopped garlic, black sauce with chopped chilli. I was nearly tearing in happiness, not from that spicy The soup was damn superb - no oil, no bitter herby taste and damn shiok for a rainy day. That call for another couple of extra servings. Only thing is the serving was rather small in tiny bowls. Dammit, I will order 3 servings for myself and damn the curious stares of people which seems to say, this guy must have juz been released from prison..hahaha!

  2. LOL Mike, you are awesome! ;D Yes you are right. Big guys need three servings here before they are satisfied hehehe ;D

  3. Mr. Kang Bak Cheng passed away bout 2 yrs ago in a home... their original stall was located at what locals call the "pasat kia" which is now the car park next to Pasar Seni / Hindu temple in town. He used to argue with his wife a lot... he was a very hot tempered man. Once my parents went there fer lunch... ordered their food... and waited... their tea arrived... Bak Cheng started to quarrel with his wife... he nonchalantly threw the entire pot of BKT into the big Segget drain!!! All lunch punters merely looked at their empty tables and walked off... nothing you could do bout it! LOL

    One oft repeated story was that apparently a Klang native visited Bak Cheng to check out what all the hoopla was about... after eating... he loved it so much he asked for more soup... Bak Cheng promptly told him... "U want more soup order more bak kut!" hahaha that's classic Bak Cheng fer ya may his soul RIP

    Crystal is his son Ah Meng's 1st wife. Crystal's 2 daughters operate a branch in Taman Century near Plaza DNP. Ah Meng used to run Bak Cheng Wok in Plaza DNP itself but that was shortlived and had moved to initially within Genting then later to Pua Sua (Gohtong Jaya) - if I'm not mistaken Xiao Li of Xiao Li Kuo Tiao is there too.

    Many years ago Bak Cheng's half brother (he has many - Soon Chiang in Tmn Maju Jaya is reputed to be one) used to operated one in Taman Pelangi along where the new police station is... his then wife used to help out... if i'm not mistaken now his ex wife operates one at night at Restoran Agape in Tmn Pelangi (not sure still there or not been a while since i went there at night).

    Bak Cheng's daughter (Ah Moi) used to operate a stall at night in Tmn Sri Tebrau nearby from where there were... they just moved bout a year ago to the new place... still in Tmn Sri Tebrau near Tai Son Kopitiam.

    There was another in Tmn Molek but i think that's gone now?

    1. Thank you yi07 for the detailed information. Really appreciate it :) I firmly believe that our heritage hawker's history need to be recorded for future generations.

  4. Update: they are moving to 141 Jalan Sutera on 1 March 2013. Last day at the Lion Hotel address is 25 Feb 2013.

    1. Thank you for the update, contarian.

  5. Thanks for the source of the new add, tried today. so happy finally found the taste my friends which a fan of this felt so happy.

  6. Omg yay! Thanks to contrarian for sharing! Went to Lion City with my family and found out they're no longer there. I was so sad! Decided to leave it to Google and here I found my answer! Thanks you very much.

  7. Hi Johorkaki,

    Just to let you and your readers know, Bak Cheng has moved to Jalan Harmonium 35/1 for the past few years (1.557725, 103.788877). The chef is now the grandma who cooked and served Chen Li Ping and Kym Ng for their food programme (I know this from the pictures that adorned the wall of the restaurant). The food still taste awesome but the number of customers is much lesser than before since not many know their new location. If you're free, you can drop by and have a meal there. Grandma can be rather chatty.

    1. Thank you for the info :-D I will surely look for grandma soon.

  8. Does anyone have photos of the old Lion Hotel? I know it has been demolished a couple of years ago.


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.

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