Almost but not quite there…

Sometime ago, I got this from my friend in KL

Vegetarian bkt 1

…and the other day, I decided to give it a try.

I was thinking that if bak is meat and kut is bone and this isn’t going to have any of those in it, perhaps they should not call it thus but the English version is fine – vegetarian herbs and spices and incidentally, the A1 brand that we usually will use when we want to cook bak kut teh has been renamed. On the packet, it will just state “herbal soup” or something like that. I wonder why. Perhaps it is because there is neither meat nor bone in the packet and one would have to add one’s own?

Anyway, back to this one that I had on hand, I followed the instructions on the box to the letter…


and put the pouch of herbs into slightly a little over 1 litre of water and boiled that for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, I soaked the vegetarian meat…


…in water for 20 minutes before putting them in the soup. I had expected some of those that they serve at some vegetarian places, made to look like meat, but no, the one in the box was just some pipe/tube-shaped tauhu kee (bean curd sticks).

The instructions mentioned shitake mushrooms but there was none in the box so I just had to add my own. I also added a bulb of garlic as I cannot imagine bak kut teh without that but I did hear once that vegetarians do not take garlic, some probably because of some religious reason but others say it will cause some side effect and leave a lingering odour. I saw in the photo on the box that they had some wolfberries as well so I added a handful of those too…and I also threw in some chopped daun sup (Chinese celery) together with the soy sauce mix provided in a separate sachet along with the herbs.

Well, when it was done, I dished it out and tried…

Vegetarian bkt 2

Yes, it was quite nice though I was not too fond of the “meat”. It had a smell, something like the knotted bean curd sticks which are not my favourite either. I think if I had used the regular tauhu kee, it would be much nicer…and needless to say, old habits die hard – I certainly would prefer to have some meat in it as well.

But we just had it as it was…as an accompaniment/a soup to go with my fried rice that day…

STP's bacon fried rice

…with bits of bacon, thinly sliced mushrooms and French beans and tomato wedges and egg…and one thing’s for sure – you certainly would not see me rushing to the stores in search of another box of that.

But thank you all the same, Pete – it certainly was very nice and thoughtful of you to go through the trouble of sending me that…and I must thank my blogger-friend, Nick, all the way in Sungai Petani, Kedah too. It seemed that he and his family were at Kek Lok Si and he picked up this lovely postcard from there…

Postcard from Nick

…to send to me. Isn’t that so very sweet of him? Thanks, Nick! Yes, I’ve met Pete before and I do hope I can get to meet you in person as well someday. Cheers!