A Chinese soup commonly found on the streets of Singapore and Malaysia, bak kut teh 肉骨茶 is a dish that many crave on a rainy day. Directly translating to ‘meat bone tea’ in English, this pork-based soup is customarily prepared through many hours of simmering meaty pork ribs in a broth of pepper and garlic, amongst other herbs. Don’t be fooled by its name: the soup itself does not contain tea of any kind.
A popular dish in Singapore with its own heritage, here are 15 best bak kut teh in Singapore to indulge in a nutritious meal or save for a rainy day.
No stranger to Singapore’s bak kut teh scene,Founder Bak Kut Teh has been serving up bowls of piping hot sweat-inducing Teochew-style pork rib soup for over 40 years.
Comprising a long premium rib and two short ribs, Founder Bak Kut Teh (S$9.80) was indeed the epitome of the phrase ‘soup for the soul’. Packed with the rich sweetness of the pork broth followed by a strong peppery kick, their version is addictively nourishing.
2. Joo Siah Bak Kut Teh
With its affordable prices, it is no wonder that Joo Siah Bak Kut Teh has managed to win over a sizable number of loyal customers to its stall, located humbly within a hawker centre in Jurong East.
‘Cheap but good’ is usually the first thing that comes to mind when one mentions its name. Rumour has it that this stall’s Pork Ribs Soup (S$6.90) is good enough to rival some of the bigger players in the market, such as Founder’s or even Ya Hua’s.
Well, there is only one way to judge that!
The famous Kota Zheng Zong Bak Kut Teh from Johor Bahru and nestled in Holland Village. The original owner Mr Pang Kow first started his business by selling bak kut teh using a tricycle pushcart in Kampung Kelantan, Kota Tinggi, Malaysia.
The Herbal Bak Kut Teh (S$11.90) is made out of a curated blend of 18 different herbs and a variety of pork parts, creating robust and hearty flavours.
For bak kut teh lovers, this might become your new favourite.
4. Lau Ah Tee Bak Kut Teh
If you have ever tried Lau Ah Tee’s Bak Kut Teh, you’ll probably find that it tastes highly similar to that of Ng Ah Sio’s Bak Kut Teh.
Well, here’s a little backstory: Mr Sim Choon Lian (or Lau Ah Tee), the owner of Lau Ah Tee Bak Kut Teh, had actually learnt the recipe for the much-loved broth from his uncle, Ng Mui Song—the founder of Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh!
Interesting, huh? With their pork sourced directly from Indonesia, the broth is lovingly brewed with only three other main ingredients: water, garlic and pepper. How a simple combination could ever produce a stock of such outstanding nature is truly stellar.
5. Legendary Bak Kut Teh
The walls within Legendary Bak Kut Teh are filled with pictures of local and overseas celebrities who have graced them with their presence. It’s no surprise that the stall has made its way onto the list.
It has been said that Jay Chou enjoyed his bowl of Bak Kut Teh (S$8) so much the first time he ate it that he ordered for a takeaway the very next day.
Two days straight of Legendary Bak Kut Teh? Well, I can certainly understand why. Naturally sweet from pork juices, the soup finishes off with a nice peppery kick. Tender with great fats marbling, the generous slices of meat are also highly enjoyable once dipped in chilli sauce.
6. Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh
Having started operations in the early days of 1977, Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh has attempted to differentiate itself from its competition by boosting the peppery taste of its hearty broth.
Undoubtedly, this has worked very well for them. Legions of loyal fans swear by the unique, robust flavour of the soup which they have come to associate only with Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh.
If you’re a huge fan of full-bodied, almost-spicy broths, this living legend will be right up your alley.
7. Old Street Bak Kut Teh
One of my childhood favourites has to be Old Street Bak Kut Teh.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with the Pork Ribs Soup (Small) (S$8.60). The soup base served was well seasoned, not too salty. However it can get saltier on the palate after two to three refills, so drink up mixed with rice or drip the you tiao (fried dough fritters) in.
I really love how the menu includes Tau Huay (S$2.50) (beancurd in sweet syrup) and Minced Meat Rice (S$4.40). I mean, there are just some days that need that burst of variety, right?
To save you time thinking about what to order, just get Set Meal A (S$12.30) that comes with a bowl of pork ribs soup, rice, you tiao, and tau huay. Easy!
Located a stone’s throw away from Yishun MRT station is Old World Bak Kut Teh, a quaint stall situated in Hiap Hoe Eating House. Opened late 2020, the eatery (as its name suggests) specialises in traditional Teochew-style pork ribs soup.
Now, the Pork Ribs Soup (S$6) is one to shout about. Swimming in a light, clear broth were three audaciously huge chunks of meat. With layers of fats melting in between, the pork was faultlessly tender.
Its underlying sweetness, garlicky and slightly peppery broth, resulted in a bowl of goodness that undeniably steals the spotlight. A huge yes for me!
9. Outram Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh
Fancy a piping-hot bowl of comforting, peppery and full-flavoured soup for supper? Well, Outram Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh is here to take care of all your random supper cravings: this place stays open till 11.30pm through most days of the week.
Located in a pretty ulu area in an open coffee shop setting, this stall’s is well-known for serving up quite a powerful, flavourful and addictive soup.
If you’re one who fancies bak kut teh to veer on the spicy side, then you should give Outram Ya Hua a go. The good ol’ Spare Ribs Soup (S$8) and Braised Pig Trotters (S$7/S$10) will never fail.
10. Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha
A pioneer in Singapore’s hawker scene, Uncle Lim Hai Chay (林海星) has decided to come out of retirement and relaunch Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha with a hawker stall at Ang Mo Kio. With this relaunch, the outlet at Midview City will no longer be under Rong Cheng’s management.
The kind of bak kut teh served here belongs to the lighter, mild peppery soup, where the broth is clear and light enough to keep drinking without feeling overwhelmed.
If you seek a strong peppery taste on your hunt for good bak kut teh, this is where it’s at. Plus, the snaking long queue on the weekend mornings is a testament to how much the neighbourhood loves this.
11. Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh
Located directly above one-north MRT, indulging in a hearty bowl at Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh is akin to personally savouring the taste of traditional Teochew heritage.
The story goes that Mr Chua Ah Hua, the stall’s founding father, came to Singapore in order to better provide for his family back in the 1920s.
Originally a coolie (hard labourer) who enjoyed a bowl of piping hot bak kut teh which fuelled him for days of hard work, his interest in the dish eventually propelled him to find pupilage as a kitchen apprentice at a well known Teochew bak kut teh stall owned by his village elder, Uncle Rong.
And thus, through the combination of teacher and pupil’s names, Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh was formed.
Peppery with just the right amount of kick, the Premium Loin Ribs Soup (S$9.90) is one that’ll have you going back for refills.
12. Sin Heng Claypot Bak Koot Teh
Having served up bowl after bowl of hearty goodness since 1983, Sin Heng Claypot Bak Koot Teh offers the best of both worlds; the stall features both variations of traditional bak kut teh—Teochew and Hokkien.
Save the Bak Koot Teh (S$9.90) for a rainy day, and nourish up with this herbal dish, alongside other claypot dishes. Easties—they’re open till midnight too!
13. Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
40 odd years since its very first operation, Song Fa Bak Kut Teh has come a long way from its days of being sold from a humble pushcart stall.
Every stall’s interior is elaborately designed to remind diners of the 1960s roadside dining atmosphere—showcasing both Song Fa’s modesty and its promise to always deliver that authentic, Teochew bak kut teh taste.
Listed in the Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand, many adore their rendition broth for its clear, peppery and garlicky taste. On good days, the pork meat is also fall-off-the-bone tender.
If you’re deciding between the Prime Spare Ribs Soup (S$9.70) and Premium Loin Ribs Soup (S$13.90), opt for the latter. The extra dollars are worth it!
Tuan Yuan Bak Kut Teh is a family-run restaurant in the heartland of Bukit Merah.
The restaurant is modern, air-conditioned, and retains a casual atmosphere for comfortable, easy dining. It is extremely spacious, with seating both indoors and outdoors.
The soup served in the signature Tuan Yuan Bak Kut Teh (S$8/bowl) is rich and peppery, boasting quality ingredients like fresh (not frozen!) pork from Indonesia, Sarawak white pepper and old garlic. The bones are boiled for hours to get this richness.
Waiting times can get pretty long during the weekend, so do consider getting their app or calling for reservations. Westies, you know what to do.
Now, how many of us remember the case of a man who broke his Stay Home Notice (SHN) for Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh?
Whether it was out of ignorance or a genuine mistake (he claimed that he thought his SHN started the next day), it has sparked concern from many, especially foodies like you and I.
The Bak Kut Teh (S$5) was fragrant with the aromatic smell of pepper, garlic and pork ribs and altogether, familiar and comforting. Pair it with simple white rice, the bak kut teh was without bells and whistles, but still tasty in its simplicity.
Block 676B Woodlands Drive 71, #02-19, Singapore 732676
+65 9221 5967
Tue to Sun: 10am – 10pm
Closed on Mon
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