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Food

Hong Ji Claypot Herbal Bak Kut Teh: Affordable Light Herbal Bak Kut Teh Since 1996 At Ang Mo Kio

Last Updated: March 12, 2020

Written by Stacey Hong

I’m not usually inclined to opt for herbal bak kut teh over peppery bak kut teh, but I decided to give Hong Ji Claypot Herbal Bak Kut Teh a shot because of its low price point and how it has been highly-raved about by my friends and family. 

Tucked in an ulu corner of Ang Mo Kio, Hong Ji Claypot Herbal Bak Kut Teh resides at a neighbourhood coffee shop—perfect for residents around the area looking to patronise the stall on a rainy day. 

Hong Ji Claypot Herbal Bak Kut Teh Singapore

Opening his first outlet at Marsiling in 1996, Mr Lim has since roped in his family to help out with the business—and that includes four of his children, some even dedicating their time and effort amidst their studies to help keep the business going. 

At the Ang Mo Kio branch, I spoke to his only daughter, Si Qi, and she gave me some insights on how long the business has been around. At 32 years old, she had been working at the Ang Mo Kio outlet since she graduated from polytechnic. She even hinted that she and her siblings were willing to continue the business for a second generation in the future. 

I didn’t want to waste another minute idling around, so I dove right into the food that was already waiting for me back at my table. 

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I ordered the Original Claypot Bak Kut Teh, the Claypot Braised Pig’s Trotter, the Claypot Braised Fen Chang and a bowl of Plain Mee Sua Soup

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Still bubbling when it was served, the Original Claypot Bak Kut Teh (S$5.50) came piping hot, with a light, herbal aroma wafting from it. With lettuce, mushrooms, tau pok and bak kut (pork ribs) thrown into the mix, the soup was cooked and served in a clay pot—a refreshing change from the porcelain bowls at commercial bak kut teh joints. 

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I definitely didn’t expect the pork ribs to be as tender as it was. The meat came off the bone very easily, and it didn’t require much jaw work. In fact, I felt that the quality of pork ribs here was almost comparable to commercialised outlets’ version of “premium pork ribs”. 

Hong Ji Claypot Herbal Bak Kut Teh Singapore 10

Like a sponge, the tau pok absorbed the warm, herbal broth and provided a burst of flavour when bitten into. This was a nice addition to the dish overall, and I personally feel that it is a staple ingredient for herbal soups like this. 

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Interestingly, the herbal soup didn’t taste overly medicinal like I expected it to taste. Boiled for five hours before serving, the broth consists of more than 10 herbs including dang shen and yu zhu. These herbs are all hand-packed into bags by Mr Lim before being distributed to the three branches. 

Even though it contained so many herbs, the flavour was subtle and it seemed like the herbs all blended together perfectly. Nothing was out of place to me—it was absolutely soothing and delicious. 

I wouldn’t have pegged myself to be on team herbal bak kut teh over team peppery bak kut teh but there I was, slurping up the soup as if I had been starving for days. 

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I ordered the You Tiao (S$1.20) separately because I felt like it is one of bak kut teh’s famous staples. The deep-fried dough fritters absorbed the warm soup, adding a nice crunchy texture to the dish.

However, I felt that it wasn’t as enjoyable with herbal soup as compared to the peppery soup. Something about it just didn’t click for me—I felt like it could be because I wasn’t accustomed to having herbal you tiao

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I had the opportunity to sneak behind the scenes and see how the Claypot Braised Pig’s Trotters (S$4.50) was prepared, and truth be told, I was overwhelmed by the fragrant aroma in the kitchen. Before the pig trotters were even ready to be served, I was tempted to just eat it off the stove because of the strong ambrosial scent. 

Hong Ji Claypot Herbal Bak Kut Teh Singapore 6

For S$4.50, I felt that the portion was extremely generous. As compared to what you can get at commercialised bak kut teh outlets, there was hardly any bone and a massive amount of lean meat and fats in the Claypot Braised Pig’s Trotters. 

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This just might be one of the best braised pig trotters I’ve tasted in Singapore, because it was just so well-braised and tender. I was impressed at how it fell apart so easily in my mouth and how well-marinated the meat was. If I had to pick the best dish out of this whole experience, this might be it. 

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Aside from the pig trotters, I ordered the Claypot Braised Fen Chang (S$5.50) as a side as well,  which came in a large and generous portion. I couldn’t wait to savour this crowd favourite and see how it fared compared to the other dishes. 

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Braised well, it was so soft and tender to the point where I couldn’t tell if it was chewy. Of course, since it’s an offal dish, there was a gamey taste overall and a slight aftertaste. I would say that it’s gamier than other places I’ve tried, so if you like fen chang, you should definitely try this out. 

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There were many carb options I could choose to have with my bak kut teh apart from rice, so I ordered a bowl of Plain Mee Sua Soup (S$1.50) just to see if it made a difference. Other than mee sua, there were also Plain Maggie Mee Soup (S$1.50), Plain Ee Mee Soup (S$1.50) and Plain Yellow Noodle Soup (S$1.50) for you to take your pick. 

The soup for the mee sua tasted heavier, and the herbal flavours were intensified—so much so that I thought it was a different soup base altogether! However, I learnt that it was the same broth, but with water added to neutralise the saltiness of the mee sua. I found that I preferred the saltier and heavier version over that of the normal soup, so if you’re more drawn to bolder flavours, be sure to check this out.


During my dining experience at Hong Ji Herbal Bak Kut Teh, I especially loved the Claypot Braised Pig’s Trotters and the Plain Mee Sua Soup. Everything I ordered was really good and I would try it again, simply because of how flavourful everything was. 

Head down to Hong Ji Herbal Bak Kut Teh for a taste of exceptional herbal bak kut teh. From a simple comfort meal you can have on a rainy day to a surefire hangover cure—this meal is definitely one you shouldn’t miss. 

Expected Damage: S$7 per pax

 

Price: $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

Hong Ji Claypot Herbal Bak Kut Teh

Blk 107 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 Street 11 #01-138, Singapore, Singapore 560107

Price
Our Rating 5/5

Hong Ji Claypot Herbal Bak Kut Teh

Blk 107 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 Street 11 #01-138, Singapore, Singapore 560107

Telephone: +65 9682 2614
Operating Hours: 8am - 9.30pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 9682 2614

Operating Hours: 8am - 9.30pm (Daily)

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