The first…

When I was young, bak kut teh (herbal pork bone soup) was something that was completely unheard of here in Sibu. Even when I was in Singapore in the early 70’s, I did not hear of anybody eating that…or at least, not that I can recall at this point in time. I don’t know who started it or where it started from…but I can positively remember eating it in Kuala Lumpur at some roadside stall along Bukit Bintang (the lane beside Agora Hotel) in the mid-80’s.

I do not remember when it made its first appearance in Sibu either but if I’m not mistaken, the first to break into the scene here was Ah Ling bak kut teh at the coffee shop right next to the back portion of HSBC. It was immensely popular and was always packed every day around lunchtime.

I was in the vicinity the other day and decided to stop by there for lunch. This was what I had…

Ah Ling bak kut teh, Sibu 1

…for RM8.00, inclusive of a bowl of rice. There were three huge chunks of meat (and bones) and some slices of pig innards, including bits of liver at the bottom of the claypot.

My daughter used to love it a lot and anyhow, we did not have much choice then. I have heard people saying, however, that it used to be nicer but the old man had passed away and these days, the children are the ones that keep the place running…and thus, it is not as nice as it used to be.

Ah Ling bak kut teh, Sibu 2

Personally, I thought it was somewhat light – not much of the herbal taste and a bit over-peppery and as far as this particular one is concerned, I would very much prefer what we usually cook ourselves at home…

Mrs STP's home-cooked bak kut teh
*recycled pic*

I wouldn’t know for sure but perhaps there are others around town that are nicer…

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

27 thoughts on “The first…”

  1. Yeah,I think homecooked bak kut teh is best n the beauty is that it is so easy to cook esp with the instant A1 pkt powder. When u bought from outside, they only gave u few miserable piece of meat. I think it is also an acquired taste like ‘kachama’ for some people do not really like it too.

    Many people do not like those Chinese herbal stuff…Probably that explains why they make it a bit mild in the shops…but bak kut teh taste is definitely easier to acquire than kacang ma.

  2. looks different from the ones in the west msia.

    Doesn’t taste as great either. Just goes to show that to enjoy the real thing, you have to go to the place of origin – like eating kampua in NZ. LOL!!!

  3. tried ah ling’s when i was back last year. not really nice, like u said its too peppery

    And very diluted. I think the one in the Kpg Datu vicinity is nicer. I heard the people were from West Malaysia, dunno now…

  4. I had my first “encounter” with bak kut teh in the 70s in KL when I was on my way to the UK. I could not understand why my brother Bobby even bothered to bring me to this roadside stall. I didn’t like it then but there were dozens of people there and they were all enjoying themselves. Two years later during a summer break, I went home and lo and behold, bak kut teh has reached KK. My second “encounter” got off to a very good start (but I was pretty sure the jugs of beer prior to that bak kut teh supper has something to do with how bak kut teh and I became friends). Now this dish has evolved to include Chik kut teh and even seafood. But it is still a pork dish.

    LOL!!! I don’t mind having it once in a while – something different for a change but you would not find me craving for it – not like babi hutan… Oooooo!!!! Haven’t had that for a while now – drool…drool!!!

  5. Ipoh has a few shops selling BKT… I don’t really like them…cos of the herbs.. but i can take u and try the Ipoh ones when you come next time… when and if… hahaha…

    Oh? You’re like Cleff, not a fan of Chinese herbs? No, thanks… I think I’d rather go for something else when/if I should happen to drop by Ipoh again.

  6. When I first tasted BKT in Klang, I thought it was a sweetened diluted version of the Foochow Pek tin yiok. Now I’m not sure which one I prefer, guess I like them both. Never had BKT in Sibu before, will have to try Ah Ling’s. But had some really good BKT in Kuching in July, in a coffee shop somewhere near the Four Points Hotel.

    Nah!!! Pek ting eyok has a totally different taste and I don’t really like it. Popular among the Foochows for cooking duck. Don’t bother to try Ah Ling’s – can go for the one around Kpg Datu…I would think that one’s nicer. I’ve yet to try a couple of other places here – will let you know if I find anything good.

  7. Aiyak… BKT smell repel me… no BKT for me, tankiu! LOL… But you can gv me fried prawns or sotong! Mwhahaha!

    You, of course! You don’t like Chinese herbal dishes…so no surprise that you don’t like bkt!

  8. Never heard of BKT back in the early 70’s not born then..not very keen with BKT. Would merely eat the veg, tau pok, yau char kwai and flooding the whole bowl of rice with BKT soup but lately beginning to relax a bit allowing the body to talk..If there is an urge for meat or BKT would go makan..usually not more than once a month.

    Once a month! I don’t think I’d even go for it once a year…but we do cook it ourselves at home once in a while. You were not born yet in the 70s – I thought you’re around my age – born in the 50s or 60s? That’s why you know all the old old songs? 😉

  9. i love bkt. With lot of stomach and intestine

    Most KL people praise it to the skies. I have to be careful when eating those innards even though I really love them – gout! 😦

  10. Got one time went back to Bintulu (East M’sia) also noted opened some new BKT shop there but the taste not as good as at KL.

    I guess they’re not so much into bkt over this side…so what we can find may not be as nice.

  11. Mmmmm….I love bak kut teh. I need to cook a lot this coming winter. I notice the first 2 pictures look like there’s no oil. Wonder how they make the soup. Maybe that’s why the taste is not there.

    Dunno why there’s no oil. Maybe they keep diluting the soup, hence the light/mild taste. Like one beef noodle place here – they say must go earlier in the morning as they keep diluting it, so if you go later in the day, there won’t be much beef taste in the soup left…

  12. The Singapore BKT also light and peppered but it’s a hit with the locals. I still prefered the herbal type as in Klang’s famous BKT. BTW, just had a BKT last wed in Spore.

    Maybe this is like Singapore’s… I prefer a stronger herbal taste and I’m not crazy about pepper. So you wouldn’t find me raving over this particular stall…

  13. Hi, this dish looks like nilagang baboy here in the Philippines, but I am not sure. This dish has many herbs.

    I want to try it one time. ^_^

    Yes, all kinds of herbs… I don’t mind having this…but it’s not something I would be craving for when I have not had it for a long time.

  14. 😦 Just had a horrid, terrifying experience in Skudai… GRRR… will blog about it and bring the issue to media attention. Grrr… got a group of bastards, claiming they’re police knock my door to ‘spot check’ my room. I was alone with my boy. Sked me like shit! But I ftold them off… told them to supply me ID, warrant and whatnot before checking my room. When asked for police ID, and warrant, they cannot supply it to me. They are not even wearing uniform…grrrr….realized now I could have been raped or even murdered! ARFGH! I shouted to them… told them I’m a journalist and demand for warrant and stuff…. den they terus cabut. WTF is becoming of Malaysia…. geram betul… nid to bring this issue to media attention. Could have been a robbery syndicate for all I kno! 😦 Pray for me and my family safety Cikgu. I nid it…. *sigh*!

    Where were you in Skudai? What were you doing there? Hotel room? Your hubby didn’t go with you? You shouldn’t have opened the door to strangers…

    1. My hubby was out in UTM, not wif us. Not open the door? I din open the door, actually.They were practically kicking it down. 😦 Upset me terribly. 😦 What was I doing? Sleeping lorr… LOL… wud else…me and anak sleep la… tired ma. The hotel ppl oso din accompany the ‘police’. Walao… I will sure buat bising about this when I go back. Now bising-ing at balai. Ishhh… wud a trip!

      Must complain to hotel people also – refuse to pay! Aiyor…so terrible over there, even in small places. Here, a lot safer and nicer – no such things will happen. You’re not doing anything – next time just ask your hubby to go alone lah. Nothing in Skudai also…better stay at home, relax.

  15. Nowadays bak kut teh is getting expensive. Used to be RM6 per pax but now can sell till RM9 – RM10 per pax. Anyhow, love BKT….. so nice to eat especially those served in claypot.

    Here also, RM8…so expensive. Can think of many other nicer things that I can enjoy with that kind of money, and a lot nicer even.

  16. for rm8, i can eat lot of kampua,hahaha..
    @cleffairy, stay safe ya, be careful..

    About RM4 plates of yummy kampua… 😉 No more sound from her – I guess she’s fine.

  17. I like it with strong herbal aroma! mmmmm, my favourite soup!

    The REAL bak kut teh lover… Without the strong herbal taste, it isn’t much more than meat in soy sauce and garlic soup.

  18. i dont like the spare parts while eating bak kut teh…

    You’re like my daughter then. She loved Ah Ling’s bak kut teh, maybe because she is not a fan of the herbal taste in bkt…but she would just want the meat…no innards.

  19. Ishmael Ahab, i guess it is more of the version of ‘bulalo’ in our country. yikes.. i really wanna taste bulalo again… it is perfect dish especially now that its cold outside…

    I googled both Filipino dishes and I think it is not like any of the two. “Bulalo’ is beef, no? And ‘nilagang baboy’ is boiled pork…but with cabbage. Bak kut teh makes use of many different kinds of Chinese herbs. Incidentally, in the Melanau (one of the ethnic races in Sarawak, Malaysia) language, we also call pork/pig “baboy”…or to be more precise, “babui”. 🙂

  20. omg…i think the last time I went to ah lim bkt must hv been what….16 odd yrs ago……have you tried dry bkt? proper addictive stuff

    Nope, don’t think they have anything like it here… Must google this up to see what it’s like.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at

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