J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise: S$6.50 herbal bak kut teh done just perfect at Hougang coffeeshop

No, the ‘J-KL’ in J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise in Broadway Coffeeshop doesn’t stand for Johor-Kuala Lumpur. The meaning behind the name is much sweeter— they are the initials of the lady hawker’s children. I was intrigued by her name— ‘Toon’ is distinctively Thai and pleasant to pronounce.

jkl - storefront

Toon is also owner of Im Thai Kitchen at Our Tampines Hub Hawker Centre, which previously earned a 5-star review from us. J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise has only been open for about a year but has a loyal following.

jkl - hawkers working in kitchen

The menu features a combination of Thai and local fare. Apparently, Toon wanted it to be exclusively Thai but she was not given a permit to do so by the coffeeshop. I think it worked out better for everyone— Thai influences in our local food and vice versa makes for some interesting dishes and I was intrigued.

What I tried at J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise

It was a wet day when I visited and my eyes were immediately drawn to the Herbal Premium Bak Kut Teh (S$6.50 for small, S$14 for medium). I ordered the small and, judging from the pretty generous amount of ingredients in that bowl, believe the ‘Medium bowl is for sharing. I added a bowl of Rice (S$0.50) to my order.

I don’t know if it was the thunderstorm roaring away that morning, the steady pitter-patter of rain or the gusting winds but my Herbal Premium Bak Kut Teh— with steam rising from the special clay pot and mass of multicoloured ingredients gracing its surface— looked like the most wonderful meal in the world.

J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise - Premium Herbal BKT

J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise serves this with chilli sauce and soya sauce (with chilli) in little resealable plastic tubs, great for takeaway. I should clarify that the photo can be slightly misleading— there seems to be very little rice but that’s only because this stall uses rice bowls that are almost twice the size of other stalls. It was more than sufficient.

My long, deep inhalation of the beautiful aroma from the pot sent an electrifying dose of herbal goodness down my throat. Even before tasting a drop or morsel, I could distinguish many of the flavours the meal contained, especially the heavenly scent of coriander.

I took a gentle sip and was rewarded with an even more intense infusion of herbal goodness. The soup was truly wonderful and its peppery flavour was a welcome relief from the cold weather.

Fishing around and pushing the cabbage and coriander aside, I found myself 3 pieces of pork ribs, 3 pork liver pieces and a cluster of enoki mushrooms. They were accompanied by 2 premium pork balls.

jkl - pork balls closeup

This last ingredient was the only difference between my S$6.50 Herbal Premium Bak Kut Teh and the cheaper Herbal Bak Kut Teh (S$5.50).

Once you take a bite, it’s easy to understand why this is the ingredient that makes the bowl ‘premium’. Fresh, good quality pork balls absorb flavour and every last bit of these ones were packed full of tender, juicy goodness and elevated by the herbal soup.

jkl - bowl of bkt

I found the pork ribs to be tasty and not too fatty. On the other hand, I have never been a fan of liver so I did not particularly enjoy them.

J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise - Premium Herbal BKT - pork liver

However, they were nice to chew on with my rice, and I quite liked the way the flavours mixed when I added enoki mushrooms to the mix.

J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise - Premium Herbal BKT - enoki

I had wanted to try more dishes but ended up slurping every last bit of my soup and having no place for any more. Oh well, that just means that I’ll have to return!

Final thoughts

jkl - location

It was just good luck that the weather was so perfect for herbal bak kut teh that day and it was S$6.50 very well spent.

While I was more than happy with my meal, I think I should try and explore more of the Thai dishes the next time I visit J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise. Toon especially recommends the Thai-style Pig Organ Soup (S$5.50).

From the tantalising images on the menu, I am also eager to try out their Moo Ping (S$8 for 3) as well. The ones I tried at the Parkway Parade Pasar Malam have me hooked.

I think I’ll always associate J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise with the great experience I had with the Herbal Premium Bak Kut Teh on that cold morning. However, I am hoping to revisit soon to expand my exploration of their Thai flair.

Expected damage: S$4.50 – S$14.50 per pax

Other articles you might like:

Hua Xing Bak Kut Teh: Cheap and authentic hawker BKT that hits the spot

Fried Rice Boy: “International” fried rice hawker stall with 5 different flavours in Hougang

Price: $

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise

644 Hougang Avenue 8, Broadway Coffeeshop, #01-02, Singapore 530644

Our Rating 4.5/5

J-KL Bak Kut Teh & Thai Paradise

644 Hougang Avenue 8, Broadway Coffeeshop, #01-02, Singapore 530644

Telephone: +65 9224 5992
Operating Hours: 9.30am – 9.30pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 9224 5992

Operating Hours: 9.30am – 9.30pm (Daily)