Call me by your name…

A friend of a friend of mine opened a stall in Kuching selling halal kampua mee, mee sua and bak kut teh. Actually, I know his father well, a Sibu Foochow and a Muslim though I’m not sure if he got converted upon marriage or whether he was already one before that. He used to run a halal Muslim restaurant serving Chinese-style banquets here and of course, it was very popular for all government functions/dinners especially when places like this are hard to come by.

Some kind of controversy arose over the inclusion of bak kut teh in his menu as many would instantly associate that with pork. Actually, if you look at the name, bak is meat and it can be any kind of meat. Kay bak is chicken, too bak is pork, gu bak is beef and so on and so forth so the direct translation of bak kut teh is meat bone tea, never mind what meat. There were places selling chik kut teh before, mostly hotel restaurants but this guy uses beef bones so in a way, it is something like the Malay sup tulang but cooked with all the bak kut teh herbs.

I would love a very good sup tulang but this stall is in Kuching, not here in Sibu so I can’t hop over to give it a try. I did see a lot of very good reviews of the things he sells at his stall though. Even the Minister of Health dropped by to eat, believe you me.

Moving on, today I would like to talk about the bak kut teh that my missus cooked…

…the other day.

Of course, she used pork, not any other kind of meat and she cooked that with those special herbs from Uncle James…

We use his char siew sauce to make our own char siew too.

Much to my surprise, she did not add anything else, other than the meat, a lot of garlic and some daun sup (Chinese celery). She never did that before – usually, she would add some dried shitake mushrooms, goji/wolfberries, tofu puffs and even bean curd sticks and if you look at the picture on the box, they even have the innards as well.

For one thing, whatever you add to the soup, it will affect the taste, at least a little, if not a lot. For instance, when there are those tauhu kee (bean curd sticks), you can detect the taste quite distinctively. I love tauhu kee soup and I do enjoy them in some dishes like tau eyew bak (soy sauce pork) but not so much in bak kut teh. If I am not wrong, you will never find them in those sold outside.

I enjoyed this one that we had the other day because of the pleasant taste and fragrance of the herbs in the pouches, two in a box, used in the cooking. All these years, we had bak kut teh quite regularly but the herbs never stood out so clearly and my guess was they were drowned out by everything that was added to cook the soup.

However, I was wishing the whole time that there was a bit of fat in the meat – it was all lean and bones…

For our vegetable dish for our simple lunch and dinner that day, my missus fried this plate of bitter gourd omelette…

We used to order that quite often when we ate out but since she can do it pretty well these days, we would just eat this at home.

Author: suituapui

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

One thought on “Call me by your name…”

  1. I have try this A1 Bak Kut Teh with 2 pouches in a packet but they are not to my liking, very mild in herbs taste, more like peppery taste. Since then I never buy packet BKT. By luck one day I went to Farley Supermarket to do grocery shopping and by chance I saw the real BKT herbs, the real thing one can get from the Chinese Medicine shop. I bought a packet to try and boy, I like it. Till this day whenever I want to cook BKT, I will only go for this one.

    I guess that was why I could not detect the herbs before…with all the added ingredients and that was why I was never into BKT. Will eat but many other things that I would prefer. This time, I could, not overpowering, just nice. I leave it all to my missus, just let her buy and cook whatever brand she wants since we do not have a favourite…plus we do not cook it very often either – not something we’d die for like kacang ma…or char bee lau.

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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