Last Updated: July 7, 2017
One of my favourite things to do during rainy evenings is to enjoy a piping bowl of peppery Bak Kut Teh (BKT), but most of the places tend to get a bit boring as they serve the similar dishes centred around the same soup broth.
But not for Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh. Located at Simpang Bedok, the establishment has up its game with a selection of zi char dishes with a twist.
Apart from having a spacious interior, the humble restaurant supports the Yellow Ribbon Project. You’ll find that the staff are made up of a team of ex-convicts too, so when dining here, you’re actually giving them a well-deserved second chance.
The hardships that ex-offenders face, as well as the support from the community that they’ll need, is best understood by none other than the founder of Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh, Mr Jabez Tan himself as he was also an ex-convict, who turned entrepreneur.
Social cause aside, you’ll have to try the Dried Bak Kut Teh ($7.50 for small, $15 for big), which is a unique twist on the traditional soupy version of Bak Kut Teh.
The clay pot was topped with dried cuttlefish, sizzling with an amazing wok hei aroma. Pleasantly coated with dark soy sauce, the bak kut (pork ribs) were bursting with flavours and were quite tender, which exceeded my expectations of a dry version of BKT.
Dried chilli and lady’s fingers were added for a tinge of spiciness and crunch. This dish will go perfectly with a fluffy bowl of rice and a small bowl of teh (soup) at the side.
I was expecting the Sambal Sotong ($10.90 for small, $13.90 for big) to arrive at our table hot, but it was slightly cool when served.
The dish was also far from what was shown on the menu’s photo, lacking the banana leaf, sliced onions and lime as seen in its presentation.
Taste wise, it was sweet and spicy with a strong hint of galangal. Dip into the chilli sauce for an added kick of heat.
If you’re ordering the Tofu Prawn w/ Chilli Crab Sauce ($12.90 for small, $15.90 for big), I’ll suggest adding on five pieces of Fried Mantou ($3.90) to dip them into the gravy.
Silky egg tofu was used and it has a similar outer texture as Tauhu Telur, a crisp Indonesian style bean curd omelette.
The sizes of the prawns were decent, but the dish presentation could be improved because the tofu looks more prominent than the prawns. Nonetheless, the chilli crab sauce was rather tasty with the beaten egg mixed in evenly.
The Seafood White Mee Hoon ($8.90 for small, $10.90 for big) at Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh is unlike any other noodle dishes you’ve ever tried before.
Using the same signature BKT broth to cook the bee hoon dish, the flavours were infused into the dish, making the other seafood noodles that we’ve tried pale in comparison.
Although the combination was delightful, the giant bits of pork lard would have been enjoyed better of it was crispier.
I felt that the Dried Bak Kut Teh stood out from the rest of the other zi char dishes at Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh. Having BKT without the teh was quite a refreshing experience.
Overall, this is a decent place to enjoy a simple local meal with your loved ones while letting ex-offenders know that the society is willing to give them a second chance.
Expected Damage: $10 – $20 per pax