*This story was written by our local friend from Bruneian Eats.
Growing up in Brunei Darussalam, I’ve only ever known one type of ‘Bah Kut Teh’ (pork rib dish cooked in broth). However, after travelling to Kota Kinabalu (Sabah, Malaysia) and Singapore, I’ve been exposed to different variations of this beloved dish.
Where do I get my ‘Bah Kut Teh’ fix in Brunei?
Knowing ‘Bah Kut Teh’ in Brunei as a dark coloured, herbal soup dish packed full of different cuts of pork, it has always been one of my familiar favourites. One of my go-to places for ‘Bah Kut Teh’ in Brunei is Yit Sum, located at Bangunan Menglait 1, Kg Pengkalan Gadong.
Always served bubbling hot in a claypot, it is guaranteed to warm me up on cold nights. Furthermore, the herbal flavours are often just strong enough to leave a hint of bitterness in your mouth.
When combined with the soy sauce added in the soup and sweet soy sauce served on the side, the flavours balance each other out nicely.
Perhaps the most pleasant was that the offal in the soup also had no foul smells and were cooked to tender. That being said, other more meaty cuts did tend to be a little on the tough side.
How about dry ‘Bah Kut Teh’ in Kota Kinabalu?
At Da De ‘Bah Kut Teh’, located along Jalan Pantai, Kota Kinabalu and close to the Gaya street markets, my idea of a soupy ‘Bah Kut Teh’ was laid to rest.
Though their neighbouring restraurant, Sin Kee was popular, a local driver told us Da Dee was equally great and less touristy. Furthermore, we managed to try their champion, award-winning dish of dry ‘Bah Kut Teh’.
This dry version consisted of various cuts of pork, mainly pork belly, mixed with cut okra and some dark sauce. The sauce coated everything evenly to produce a sticky, slightly bitter, sweet and salty film. Having been served in a sizzling claypot, it also had a charred aroma and pleasant burnt bitterness which added further depth of flavour to the dish. Furthermore, every bite of meat was tender with no offal smell.
Soupy ‘Bah Kut Teh’ in Singapore
Although my idea of a soupy ‘Bah Kut Teh’ was brought back to life in Singapore, the version they served at Outram Park, along Keppel Road, Tanjong Pagar Complex, was rather different. Other than being given a choice of preferred meat cuts (I got pork ribs and loin), the soup was lighter in colour and almost clear. In terms of the flavour, the soup had a lighter and smoother taste with a prominent white pepper flavour and very mild herbal undertones. Moreover, the meat on the pork ribs were fall-apart tender and juicy while the loin had a softer and more succulent texture. My preferred way of eating the meat was to dip it in some dark soy sauce they provide on the side to add an extra level of sweetness and saltiness.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed these three versions of ‘Bah Kut Teh’ and was beyond thrilled to have tasted such variations of one dish.
Have you tried out the ‘Bah Kut Teh’ at any of the places mentioned? Did I leave out some of your favourite ‘Bah Kut Teh’ spots? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to ‘Neue’ via their social media accounts such as Instagram and Facebook.