I was first introduced to herbal bak kut teh when Rae brought me the Hong Ji Claypot Bak Kut Teh in Marsiling. Subsequently, I had Liang Kee, Soon Huat, Pao Xiang and many others, all selling herbal BKT. There is just this indescribable charm about this dish, especially during cold days. Whenever I am in Woodlands, Hong Ji Claypot BKT would come to my mind. But guess what, they have already set up many branches and one of them is at Blk 107 Ang Mo Kio, which is walking distance from my house!
At night, you can see a young lady named Siqi cooking bak kut teh. She is the daughter of the founder and decided to help her dad after completing her studies in polytechnic. Together with her brother, each of them takes care of a few outlets. It is certainly very rare to see a young lady working in a hot and harsh hawker environment, but Siqi took it well and is very passionate about it. Coincidentally, we are from the same secondary school!
The special thing about this Bak Kut Teh is that it is the herbal type that is served in claypots instead of the peppery type commonly found here. It is herbal and flavoursome, with more than 10 herbs used such as dang gui and dang shen.
Siqi’s father learnt it from a Malaysian hawker and improved the formula to its current adaptation. Till today, he hand packs all the herbs into big bags and distribute to all the different stalls. These herbs are cooked for 6 hours into a aromatic broth which is light and not overpowering.
You might think that the soup would taste very herbal like a medicinal brew because a wide array of herbs are used. But the herbal flavour was actually quite mild as compared to other BKT brands like Pao Xiang. The soup was pleasing, savoury and tasted good with rice.
The tender pork ribs are also cut into more manageable pieces, such that they are easier to eat. The soup also comes with other ingredients such as tau pok, mushroom and lettuce, which gives it a needed variety. We had the mixed bak kut teh which also has the intestines. Cooked and presented in a claypot, the herbal Bak Kut Teh here is perfect for a rainy day.
The pig trotters were actually very well cooked and flavorful. It was tender inside and very well presented as a whole.
The braised intestine is a necessary sidekick! It is chewy with the porky smell.
I think this is a nourishing take on Bak Kut Teh, what with the use of so many herbs in making the delectable soup. The pork parts are well cooked, tender enough with some bite. It has a feel-good factor! The stall is written in Chinese characters, so it is best to look out for the claypot BKT photos if you can’t find it.
Another reason for going to Hong Ji is that the price is a steal. I went there thrice with my Grandpa and each time we ordered a bowl of $10 bak kut teh with mixed intestines. The portion is good enough for 2 of us, we keep eating but there are so much ingredients and we always can’t finish! My Grandpa loves it much that he recommends his friends here!
Hong Ji Claypot Bak Kut Teh
Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, St 11, Blk 107 #01-38 Singapore 560107
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 9:45pm
Marsiling Lane, Blk 19 #01-329
Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 3, Blk 6006
Geylang Lor 21A, 205 Sims Ave
Sin Ming Road, Blk 22, #01-210