Monday, March 28, 2011

Bak Kut Teh... My Love... *slurp*

Once in awhile, I will crave for 'bak kut teh'. According to Wikipedia: Bak kut teh (Chinese: 肉骨茶; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: bah-kut-tê) is a Chinese soup popularly served in Malaysia, Singapore, Mainland China,Taiwan and the Indonesian island of Riau (where there is a predominant Hoklo and Teochew community) and also, cities of neighbouring countries like Batam of Indonesia and Hat Yai of Thailand. The name literally translates as "meat bone tea", and, at its simplest, consists of meaty pork ribs simmered in a complex broth of herbs and spices (including star anise, cinnamon, cloves, dang gui, fennel seeds and garlic) for hours.[1] However, additional ingredients may include offal, varieties of mushroom, choy sum, and pieces of driedtofu or fried tofu puffs. Additional Chinese herbs may include yu zhu (rhizome of Solomon's Seal) and ju zhi (buckthorn fruit), which give the soup a sweeter, slightly stronger flavor. Light and dark soy sauce are also added to the soup during cooking, with varying amounts depending on the variant. Garnishings include chopped coriander or green onions and a sprinkling of fried shallots.

Bak kut teh is usually eaten with rice or noodles (sometimes as a noodle soup), and often served with youtiao / cha kueh [yau char kwai] (strips of fried dough) for dipping into the soup. Soy sauce (usually light soy sauce, but dark soy sauce is also offered sometimes) is preferred as a condiment, with which chopped chilli padi and minced garlic is taken together. Chinese tea of various kinds (theTieguanyin variety is especially popular in the Klang Valley area of Malaysia) is also usually served in the belief that it dilutes or dissolves the copious amount of fat consumed in this pork-laden dish. Bak kut teh is typically a famous morning meal. The Hokkien andTeochew are traditionally tea-drinking cultures and this aspect runs deep in their cuisines.

Out of so many 'bak kut teh' stalls usually found in the lanes of Penang, there is only one stall which can satisfy my cravings. The auntie knows how much meatballs to give me and how much meat that I need to make me 'burp'. The place is easily found in one of the small lanes off Datuk Keramat road. The stall is just at the corner and can be easily spotted while driving along the main road. Yeah... it's at Trem Road. The place is closed on Tuesdays. On other days, sometimes there aren't many customers but sometimes you can't even get a place to sit. You'll probably have to wait for awhile before a table has been cleared off. There are many parts of a pig with different names. I don't know most of the parts so I'll just show some pictures...

This is 'yau char kwai'.... the strips of fried dough... can choose to chew on the crispy dough just like that but I prefer soaking the 'yau char kwai' into the 'bak kut teh' until they become soggy. My usual bowl of 'bak kut teh' with yam rice... it's so delicious... I'm salivating for some now... shouldn't have blog about it... makes me so hungry now... the aroma of the herbs of the soup and the taste mix with my bowl of yam rice. Oh... oh... *dreamy eyes* my favourite of all... MEATBALLS~! I can just order the whole bowl with meatballs floating in the soup. Do you know how to rate whether the food is delicious or not? Look at the empty bowls and plates...


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