Friday, December 12, 2008

Song Fa Bak Kut Teh @ New Bridge Road

In the days of primary five, a teacher once told us that certain bacterium in pork causes the skin to develop mole-like black spots as one ages. And for that, we should try to abstain from consuming this piece of pink meat. While other friends started to plan for a reshuffle in their choice of meat (in fear of turning into one of those reptile aliens from V), I knew he was just teasing. The teacher’s statement traumatized many to a point where my breakfast (which usually consisted of bak kwa or dried meat, sandwiched between slices of white bread and filled with pork/chicken floss) was labeled as poisonous and became the laughing stock of the class.

Yes, the kids were mean but I didn’t blame my friends for they were afterall, just kids. But this incident did make me think for quite a few recesses and here are some interesting thoughts that came out of an eleven years-old during that time of mental turmoil.

1. I am a babitarian (think pork as what greens are to vegetarians).
2. I must excel in Science to prove the teacher wrong.
3. I should respect my friends of different beliefs.
4. Should my next pork belly be braised or roasted?

Versatility should be the porcine’s middle name. From stew to grill and smoke to roast, the subtly pinkish meat does it all, provided it’s fresh. I wouldn’t recommend raw though as that perhaps, will lead to those black spots. Or other more lethal diseases for that matter.

And Bak Kut Teh is definitely one of sunshine meat’s greatest hits. It has evolved from the very fundamental Chinese tea/meat soup to now, an avant garde pot of everything possible including abalone.

I was glad that Song Fa kept the menu simple and rather conservative. All the basic needs for a pleasant Bak Kut Teh experience.

We started with a dip of the cut dough fritters (S$2.00) into the herbal soup. Could they have imposed corkage charge on the dough fritters, I would have gladly brought my own from the infamous yaw char kway stall at Rochor Road. Then again, the ones they offered were not bad, just ordinary.

Fat and lean pork run together perfectly along the beach at sunset, provided they are well-cooked. Sensuous Romantic and delicious. Same goes to the braised pig’s trotter (S$8.00). Although the fatty part could have been softer, it was smooth enough to slide well into the throat, hand in hand with the flaky lean portion of the meat. The dense, glistening soy sauce-based braise went well with the white rice too.

There’s something about intestines that make them irresistable. To me, it’s the soft, slightly chewy texture of the linings. Think not what it contains and you’ll be off a happy diner. Superficiality has its merits sometimes. Song Fa’s braised intestines (S$5.50) were not too bad, given the soft texture and the nice braise (which was almost identical to the trotters’). A while longer under the heat would have softened the intestines even more.

Bak Kut Teh can never do without pork ribs, claypot or not. Here, the ribs come in a rather huge portion, at S$7.50. The highlight was definitely the soft, flaky meat with bits of fats still kept intact. Slightly tea-like, the soup base was mildly herbed and sweet. Certainly lacked that something that raises an eyebrow. A missing herb, perhaps?

The Teochew-styled salted vegetable (S$2.00) was crunchy and of course, salty. Not too oily as well.

Here’s a rather paradoxical question; do we need a larger shopping mall or a taller tower? That aside, how about a larger piece of rib? Yes, yes, yes. From the loins, the ribs at S$6.50 were huge and looked promising. It was not too bad but would have been better had the meat came without a tad undercooked taste.

A pleasant experience with affordable prices. Okay lah.

I wonder if my teacher is still telling his students the same old tale. One thing’s for sure; he must be very disappointed in me. Vice-versa, I guess.

Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
11, New Bridge Road
(Upper Circular Road)
#01-01
Singapore
Tel: (+65) 65336128

24 comments:

Xiu Long Bao said...

I only took one piece of that intestine. Too imaginative at that point of time, thinking of what used to pass thru it.

I suppose you've not developed black spots to date? Does other side effect count? Like loss of ... hmmm ...

Selba said...

Sometimes what the teachers said in the old days can be still traumatized until these days... unbelievable.

Believe it or not.. I've never eaten bak kut teh! hehehe...

Life for Beginners said...

LOL at Interesting Thought #4.

Eh, what ever happened to our Babitarians Anonymous group, Pakcik Nic? Hmm...

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

pls..edible meh? the soup is sweet?? cant be right..

u knw after klang bkt..i actually cant bear to stomach dwn kl bkt..

looks like sg bkt is a big noooo...

Live2Talk said...

That's one porky post sweetie but i only like the soup and not too fancy the meat, so ...
1) You are still a babitarian.
2) I'm sure you excelled in science.
3) All of us should respect others.
4) Doesn't matter if the next pork belly is to be braised or roasted, I'm sure it is still delicious to you ;P

Tummythoz said...

Gosh u must habe been a most attentive pupil. Then again, I never had a teacher that talk about food, good or otherwise.
=,(

Nic (KHKL) said...

xiu long bao, loss of memory? LOL! at least not lost of direction hor? ;P opppsss......

selba, oh, i agree! haha! but they do make learning fun, i guess. and oh, you must check out bak kut teh when you visit malaysia or singapore. it's one of the best dishes around! ;)

kenny, anytime! let's do our AGM soon. errrr, i guess hafta wait til early next year lar. should we start a group on FB? hmmm, where should we have our first meeting...that siew yoke place at pudu or el cerdo?? hehehehe...

joe, yeah, the soup is sorta sweet, well, in a mild way lar. actually, singapore bkt has its distinctive taste as well, which is cool. klang bkt is more hokkien-style and is heavier on the herbs. teochew style is milder and has a more natural taste. the babitarian loves both! hehe...

live2talk, sweetie, da cool one! especially on note 3!! ;) and yes, i lurve pork no matter how they are cooked...well, not raw lah..haha! and errr, my science was not that good. but i lurve biology! ;)

tummythoz, haha, i am only interested in certain subjects, like history and biology. and i'm an engineer. can you imagine?? weird right? haha!

J2Kfm said...

you made me crave for BKT now.

but bet Spore's version's nothing like Klang's greats. =P

and btw, I DO think about what's IN the intestines while chewing them. hard to escape my mind lah ...

fatboybakes said...

i must go there for breakfast on friday...

Albert said...

Introduce u this: http://www.calculator.medicwonders.com/

Hope that it will be useful for u

CUMI & CIKI said...

the black sauce on the rice is in a concentric pattern... ! wow.. even rice got style!

Simon Seow said...

I haven't try Singapore bah kut teh before. Will sure go and try when I go down south again.

ice said...

woa you can still stomach SG's BKT? I haven't tried M'sia style BKT but I can bet you my life our BKT is nothing compared to Klang's! This one must have tasted nasty...

Maybe Founder's would have been a better bet. :)

backStreetGluttons said...

Its because they cannot partake of this fatty wonder that they took our meney to erect the tall towers , albeit with reat ghelp from the great porcine lovers nevertheless.

But then again where you now are, its conseidered an ntelligent paradise where tigers and pig roam with sensuous abandon, day and especially nights.

Is the superflous debate still raging on as to the origin of this savoury satanic dish on both ends of the crooked bridge ? At the least while this futile controversy goes on , you have the immense pressure of lapping up the skin and bones and intestines of this Godly animal.

Hail the meat of all time ! spots or not

thenomadGourmand said...

BKT still better in Msia right??

Shell (貝殼) said...

To be frank, i dun really like Bak Kut teh..i only like the braised intestine^^

ling239 said...

hahahaaaa.... i guess u dun get to order bkt like u are in Klang !!
either small bone, big bone or flower bones!! hahahaaaaa.... :p

Nic (KHKL) said...

j2kfm, we all lurve our porkie soupie, dont we? hehehe....oh, i think the flavour is different between Spore's and Klang's. Spore's is similar to that famous one at Imbi in KL, which is milder while Klang's heavy on herbs.
haha, dude, you just gotta close your eyes, enjoy the texture and the intestines will have you craving for more! ;)

fatboybakes, ohhh! if you are in that area, i recommend the famous bak chor mee at hong lim food centre. got other good stuff as well. ok, will let ya know when we meet! ;)

albert, cool. thanks!

cumi & ciki, hehehe...actually, i made that concentric pattern myself...lurve that slight bittersweet/salty taste that goes well with the rice. actually, i do that to chicken rice as well. ;)

simon, yeah, i think there are a few famous ones in singapore. this one is strategically located across clarke quay. can have hokkaido ice cream after that as well! ;)

ice, haha. well, song fa is not too bad, actually. all the right elements for a hearty BKT, sans that kick that makes it superlative, i guess.
and yeah, i've been reading your BKT trail and am definitely gonna visit some of those you recommended! awesome! ;)

Nic (KHKL) said...

backstreetgluttons, when they say, save the cheerleader, save the world, i am sure the porcine lovers do share the same vision and dream but sometimes, as empty as it seems, we are considered the porcine trapped in a claypot with fire that will smoke of porky goodness, just before we vanish into blue, thin sky air. we cry.

lions and dragons roam about night, day, rain, shine. and now, reindeers also.

the debate has just begun on the questioning questionable q q q q unfallenable bridge. and if it'll take a million seconds to get to the side that calls for a denser BKT, i think i will be sad. and so will the millions of others bkt lovers.

HAIL! HAIL! HAIL!

thenomadgourmand, well, i guess malaysia is more famous for it's bkt than singapore. that's for sure. the klang version has been sweeping across the causeway while both countries share a preference for teochew style as well. but if i were to make a choice, i'll say KL's!!! cos there's where i was born! ;)

shell (貝殼), yay, another intestine kaki! ;) well, i'm sure you will like the stomach as well cos it's equally smooth and crunchy! oh, i like meatballs as well! ;)

ling239, ya lor, yalor!!!! you are absolutely correct! haha! when i had my first klang bkt, i was confused with the order..i din know the meaning of small/big/flower bones back then...haha! now, i must learn hokkien also, just to understand klang bkt better! ;)

jan said...

your photos are more delectable than bkt. :P

Nic (KHKL) said...

jan, no lar....*shy* the bkt is really not bad. hey, you should try the one near kepong carrefour. they said it's a branch from that famous jalan raja laut bkt stall! ;)

mimid3vils said...

I had BKT right after my Sarawak trip as supper coz 4 days didn't take pork :P

Nic (KHKL) said...

mimi, haha! i know what you mean! usually, it's hokkien mee for me if i come back from a trip..hehe...ok, bkt oso lar. ;)

Big Boys Oven said...

walio, we should had that! lol! soooo yummy!