[SG] Beng's Old School Bak Kut Teh | 明明旧式肉骨茶 | warm bowl of goodness

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Stoked by the name of this humble Bak Kut Teh stall, we simply had to get down to understand a little more about their food and philosophy of running the business. The founder, more affectionately known as Beng by its faithful customers, has more than three decades of experience in preparing this classic local dish. This coincides soundly with the name of the stall since Beng's Chinese name is 明 and similarly his son too!

Starting out initially in one of the famous Bak Kut Teh shops at Rangoon Road, 旧式 in the name simply refers to old matters which spelt perfect sense given the history. Interestingly, if you read aloud the Chinese name of the stall, it actually sounded like 明明就是肉骨茶, 那...明明就是啊!

If you are a fan of the traditional Singapore Bak Kut Teh, read on!

Prime ribs bak kut teh | S$7/-

Taking absolute pride in serving nothing short of fresh pork daily, Beng prepares his food in the early hours of the morning before starting service at 7.30am. Do not be surprised if you taste a more peppery broth on a rainy day because Beng took the extra conscientious effort to adjust the heat level of the broth in accordance to the weather! That being said, given a visit on a sunny day, expect a more composed offering which packed all the rich flavours of the pork bones while consistently reminded of its peppery after-taste.

With various types of offerings, we had the prime ribs which are highly regarded in the space of Bak Kut Teh since typically each pig only has about 12 to 14 prime ribs to offer. The prime ribs had obviously seen laborious hours of cook-time as it was moist and fall-off-the-bone tender.

Braised pig trotters | S$4.50/-

Like the Bak Kut Teh that was served, the pig trotters were similarly freshly cooked daily. In fact, this commands longer cooking time as it involves braising. What we particularly enjoyed about both pork dishes was the simple indulgence that it did not have that unpleasant porky smell.

Tasting the braised pig trotters for the first time gave me a very warm and homely feeling as this was one of my mum's signature dishes too. We loved the gravy that was beautifully spiced yet not overpowered by the base dark soy sauce. More importantly, the moist and soft skin complemented a layer of fats and tender flesh, making an entry into our must-try list!

To complement the meal, have a dish of preserved vegetables (S$2/-) or a bowl of youtiao (S$1/-). A simple dish done right, the preserved vegetables is usually the neglected hero on the table but I felt that it deserved credit for careful attention had been paid to the dish in getting the salinity right. The level of fermentation was spot-on and it achieved the desired balance in flavours without being overly overwhelming on one's palate.

Located within Hup Choon Eating House, it is one of those humble looking coffee shops that are easily overlooked if you travel down Upper Bukit Timah Road. While Beng only serves from 7.30 am to about 3 pm (usually they are usually sold out by about 1.30 - 2 pm), this area is more commonly known for their tze char at Ga-Hock Seafood next door. In terms of ambience, there is nothing spectacular to shout about but do expect a friendly and homely service by the owners. While this is not the more commercialised Bak Kut Teh names around in Singapore, they are good at what they do and offer their customers nothing but the best.

Overall Verdict: 7.5/10

Beng's Old School Bak Kut Teh | 明明旧式肉骨茶
794 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 678133
Tel: (+65) 8600 0168
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday; 0730 - 1500hrs

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