Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh: One Man Flouted His SHN for This — Was It Worth It?

In this COVID-19 pandemic, every precaution is taken so we can stay safe and healthy, both for ourselves and those around us. However, news of a Singaporean flouting his Stay Home Notice (SHN) for a bowl of bak kut teh has been spreading like wildfire on the internet, so much so that Law Minister K Shanmugam addressed the issue in parliament and reassured worried netizens that this man would be investigated for his careless actions, if not charged

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 those staying near this particular bak kut teh stall.

Feeling intrigued about whether this special bak kut teh was worth the fine and how the stall’s business has been affected, I made my way down to Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh at Kampung Admiralty Hawker Centre

Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh 6

When I arrived at the stall, business seemed quite slow, with only about five other customers patronising Xi Wang during the time I was there. However, this mood didn’t seem to affect the owners of the stall, a friendly Chinese couple who cheerily made me a bowl of Bak Kut Teh (S$5) with Rice (S$0.50)

Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh 5

Apart from bak kut teh, they also serve other pig parts, braised duck parts, and noodles, but I was there to try their infamous signature dish. The stall owner generously drizzled some duck sauce on my rice and offered me a soup top-up when she saw I was getting low on broth. That was very considerate and very service-centric. 

The bak kut teh was fragrant with the aromatic smell of pepper, garlic and pork ribs, but I know the best way to judge a bak kut teh is by its soup.

Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh 3

I took a sip of the clear, brown-tinted broth, and the strong peppery taste immediately kicked in, emphasised by how hot the soup was, creating a warm and pleasant sensation as it went down. Once the broth had cooled, I was able to discern the taste of garlic and pork ribs, familiar and comforting. 

Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh 1

Four large pork ribs were generously served up in the soup, along with two garlic cloves—simple and unruffled. I was grateful that the pork ribs weren’t dry at all, unlike other pork rib dishes I had tried before, and tender enough to fall off the bone. 

Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh 2

The garlic cloves melted in my mouth and added a robust flavour and a change of texture compared to the savoury pork ribs. Paired with the simple white rice, the bak kut teh was without bells and whistles, but still tasty in its simplicity. 

Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh 4

After my filling meal, I struck up a conversation with the stall owners, asking them if their business had been impacted by this man’s actions. They confirmed my suspicions, telling me that their recent customers had questioned the cleanliness of their stall and continually asked if they had touched the man’s hands.

Despite the owners reassuring customers that they had sanitised everything in their stall, their regulars have still been hesitant to buy from them. 

My heart went out to the couple, knowing that they were helpless in this situation and could only wait out the storm before business picked up again. As for the bak kut teh, though it wasn’t life-changing, for someone coming back from overseas and craving a bowl of their favourite comfort food, this bowl was more than enough to whet anyone’s appetite. 

With the ever-changing climate, more and more livelihoods are being detrimentally affected, especially small hawker stalls like Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh for which there are many other alternatives. Hopefully, society as a whole will be more conscious of their actions and make a collective effort to minimise losses for families and businesses alike.

Expected Damage: S$5 – S$7 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh

Blk 676B Woodland Dr 71, Kampung Admiralty Hawker Centre, #02-19 , Singapore 732676

Our Rating 4/5

Xi Wang Bak Kut Teh

Blk 676B Woodland Dr 71, Kampung Admiralty Hawker Centre, #02-19 , Singapore 732676

Telephone: +65 9221 5967
Operating Hours: 10am - 10pm (Tues - Sun), Closed on Mon
Telephone: +65 9221 5967

Operating Hours: 10am - 10pm (Tues - Sun), Closed on Mon