Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Restoran Pao Xiang Bah Kut Teh

The bak kut teh broth was originally made with tea, hence the name. Over the years, it has evolved into a consommé of complex herbs and spices to cater to the growingly complicated and demanding tastebuds. Still, the very essence of the comforting combination of tea and meat never left us. And it’s evident on every table in any bak kut teh restaurant.

Is it true that Chinese tea actually washes away fat, a line we so want to believe and as advised by the elders? Well, let’s see - it doesn’t contain much fibre to absorb the heart-clogging triglycerides we all love nor acidic/hot enough to cause the saturations to disintegrate. So, had our parents lied to us all these years? I don’t think so. They’d probably heard it from their parents as well. I came to a conclusion that it’s no more than to make us feel less guilty after that surrendering act of biting into a seductive cut of belly and letting the aroma that can only be described as impossible take us into momentary divinity.

There’s now a healthier alternative. Don’t stretch your imagination too far because it’s not to the extent of going manic organic or popping some new anti-bkt pills. Nothing vegetarian meat of sort too. There’s just less fat in every bowl that will, hopefully, prolong our lives by another 10 minutes with each sip of the soup or a bite of the fat. And that, I think, it’s already a new milestone for bkt.

It was also at this very restaurant that I learnt of a new side dish that had lived among the Hokkiens for the longest time. It’s called ju yau gou or lard cakes. Made mostly of lye water, it was meant to simulate the same texture of cooked, semi-solid lard. The cubes are independently bland but once dipped into the bkt broth, give this feeling of biting into that sensuous layer of pork belly that has been well-simmered. It's fake orgasm at its best. Of course, there will be people who question the usage of lye water and….the fun of a fake orgasm. What do I think? As long as it yummy...

I did say that there's less fat in every bowl. Now how on earth is that possible? Apparently, the meat is tightened using strings before being infused with flavouring ingredients. This method causes the exertion of higher pressure on the meat, and with sufficiently high heat, is able to squeeze out the molten fat between the skin and the meat. The heat also reduces the broth to give a richer taste. And if that's not healthy enough, the soup is supplied with herbs of medicinal purposes although I couldn't detect any but the usual Chinese angelica and 5-spice powder. It's good morning mental exercise in this restaurant too, as customers strategize to secure any of the limited tables.

There's one question on my mind, still. Now, if the oil's been extracted from the pork, does that mean that it's now IN the broth? The subject of evaporation is of no relevance as the smoking point of lard is somewhat between 120 to 220 degrees Celcius, which by then, would have mostly dried up the pot. So, how healthy is it, really?

(The above load of crap scientific analysis came from, yes, the same person who had 1 bowl each of spare ribs, pork knuckle and trotters to himself.)

Regardless of the fat-washing tea myth, the high smoking point and the lye water, I think the fact that the soup is flavourful and the flaky meat falls off the bone easily and that the collagen (or fat) literally melts in the mouth should guarantee another visit.

*Alerting fellow babitarians*

Lard cake cubes

Gigantic spare ribs

Individual serving of knuckle

Individual serving of trotters

Restoran Pao Xiang Bah Kut Teh
No. 45, Lebuh Bangau
Taman Berkeley
41150 Klang
Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: (+6012) 263 8869 / (+6010) 278 7230


J said...

LARD cake cubes? O_o ERm....
(How does it taste? My arteries are clogging up just thinking about it! Haha... )

Selba said...

I always got "lost" when I read BKT posts... coz' I've never eaten it! kekeke....

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

respect..3 bowls? then again i go for claypot 2 ppl portion..got to get rid of the cravings once n for all!

sc said...

of that many times i've been to klang for BKT, i never heard of lard cakes! how come my pasang friends never told me? :( so the cakes are made of lye and..? lard?

J2Kfm said...

i have my doubts. lye water itself is already a big NO-NO. i'm not a fan of yellow mee, or the nyonya dumplings for a reason.

Ciki said...

but i LIKE manic organic ..! and think of how easy it would be .. if lets say you were stranded in India or ROME for like 1 week.. at least you can carry around the handy BKT pills to pop.. you might not taste it.. but ur body will tell u to stop craving it.. mwuahahha:P ok, dats it.. my imagination has run ahead of me again.. i better go catch up:P

Precious Pea said...

Lard cake...wow! Must try!

backStreetGluttons said...

you must have stumbled onto the 1 of the 8 heavenly fatted porks in town , with 3.5 inches long curved ribs and drumstick knuckles bigger than kfc 2x ! Well done

UnkaLeong said...

Lucky I had my share last week when I visited mom and dad :) Heheheh...According to a friend of mine who stays in Klang, her family has BKT 3-4 times a week!

fatboybakes said...

GASP, at first i was sure that fake lard MUST be singapore.... but its here, right in thamby's hometown!!!! gosh! i am shattered, disillusioned. [making stabbing motion]. gorgeous pics as usual.

~Christine~Leng said...

Ta tmn Bekerly?
I think I know where :)

Leon Koh said...

love your blog.. am your regular reader

btw wish to share my latest blog entry with you.. about my niece nini’s ear piercing ceremony.. I love the seris of pictures.. check out at http://hanleong.blogspot.com/2009/10/ninis-ear-piercing-ceremony-at-sri.html

3 hungry tummies said...

looks absolutely amazing!!!

jason said...

O_o" lard cakes??

Rebecca Saw said...

Nvr a fan of BKT but I'll make an exception for this!

Petite Lass said...

Gee, I feel like a bowl of bak kut teh now!!

Jun said...

this post either converts non-pork-eaters to bkt fanatics, or omnivores to full-time vegetarians ;p

Pureglutton said...

They have another outlet in Centro Mall (next to Hokkien Association) in Klang - I just passed by it last weekend, but have yet to try it. Lard cake? Sounds damn fattening already!

HairyBerry said...

j, actually, those are mock lard cubes made of lye water. not artery clogging at all. dunno abt other side effects though..hehe. oh, it tastes bland, so must be dipped into the bkt soup for flava! :)

selba, when you come down to kl/sg, you must try it! they come with chicken as well, if u prefer chicken. yummy stuff!

joe, OMG!!!! u da man! claypot for 2 for 1! omg, got eat with rice or not? haha.

sc, yeah, i was not aware of such thing also. until my relative, a pure Hokkien, told me about it. it's actually lye. like the skin of angkoo kuih. so, it's bland on it's own. no lard involved. :)

j2kfm, haha, i guess once in a while is ok la. i'm not a lye water fan too but had to do it once la, to see how it tastes like. interesting, actually. :)

cumi & ciki, haha, i survived on vegetarian thali in India and pasta in Rome for more than a week!i even forgot abt bkt! but of course, when i get home, bkt is one of the must-haves la. after things like Hokkien mee, of course.

precious pea, very near your place! check it out when you are back!

backstreetgluttons, ooohhh, there are 8 heavenly porks in town? i must find out abt them! just the thought of the huge ribs make me high. and very very hungry.

HairyBerry said...

unkaleong, woah, 3-4 times a week is a bit too much for me d. shd slot in some Hokkien mee, blr, maggie goreng between the bkts la..hehehehe.

fatboybakes, thanks so much for the compliment, man! aiyoh, no need stabbing la. we shd do a berkeley (in klang) tour la when i get back. but we must bring a Hokkien friend along la. Unka, Jackson..is AWOL Hokkien?

christine, haha, i think you should be familiar with this area. :) must go there early cos the crowd's crazy! have fun! :)

leon koh, thanks for the support! sure sure, will visit your link! :)

3 hungry tummies, hey, thanks for stopping by! do check the ribs out! :)

jason, actually, it's not fattening at all. and the fact that it's rare makes it more special. :)

thenomadgourmand, yupe, and be rewarded with a nice breakfast of meat, soup and the rare lye lard-alike cubes! :)

petite lass, me too! especially when it's raining so heavily now. :)

jun, how come omnivores to full-time vegetarians leh? i was thinking of printing more application forms for babitarians already wor..hehehehe.

pureglutton, oh yeah, you are right! it was written in their name card as well. that's the main shop, i think. haha, the lard cake is actually made of lye, not lard. so, non-fattening. do try it out!

rokh said...

whoa, first time i see lard cake! dare i try? (with copious amount of tea of course!)

HairyBerry said...

rokh, haha. i'm sure it's fine cos basically, it's nothing of lard. but i dunno about the chemical reaction towards lye though...hehehe. once in a while, i think it's ok lah. :)

pang said...

No need 2 go 2 Klang. They just opened one in Puchong Jaya. Add: G12-14, Jln Kenari 12B, Bdr Puchong Jaya. Tel: 8075 3288.
Another one soon in Pavilion 6th floor (December). I've tried almost
all d top 15 or "reputable" BKT in Klang. Tried their Klang HQ branch years ago. I am suprised tis yr, Pao Xiang really "expands in a BIG way" unlike some of d "creme de la creme BKT stalls" in Klang. Taste wise commendable. I like thick herbal broth n serve in ceramic bowl; it is a no, no 2 me in claypot. Cheers!

HairyBerry said...

pang, thanks for stopping by and supplying the valuable info! appreciate it. ;D omg, they are opening in pavilion? looks like the proprietors are some really marketing savvy people, eh? hahaha. i like both claypot and individual ceramic types. i just like pork..hehe.