Kiang Kee Bak Kut Teh (强记肉骨茶) at Kota Tinggi
JOHOR BAHRU, MALAYSIA – It is difficult to say if Malaysia or Singapore has the best bak kut teh because the two versions are very different. The former has a herbal broth, while the latter is strong in white pepper and garlic.
It’s an open secret that I love bak kut teh. For me, I prefer the herbal kind which has more depth in terms of taste profile. When Hazel told us that she is going to drive us to Kota Tinggi for the famous bak kut teh, it got me really hungry and excited.
Located off Kota Tinggi, Kiang Kee Bak Kut Teh has a attap rooftop which looks like the houses in the 60s. As you walk past the open kitchen, you get to see the staff busy managing many pots of bak kut teh cooked under charcoal fire. While she adds ingredients into one pot, her hands were already preparing to remove another pot from the flame. I think she is a great multi tasker.
We were there about 10.30am, and the restaurant was packed with customers which patronize with locals and Singaporeans! That’s the reason the pork ribs will finish normally almost noon time. Hence, my advice for you is to go early if not some of the popular items may be sold out.
When the star arrived after a 40 minutes wait, the lingering herbal aroma from the bubbling pot almost had me dumped my camera aside and just dig in. Now let’s talk about the soup. Cooked in charcoal, the thick and cloudy soup has a comforting herbal flavour that we drank it all up. There was quite a distinct dang gui taste in the broth, together with a gamut of other flavours.
The naturally sweet pork ribs were slightly firm, cooked in robust herbal broth. While the bak kut is generous, the copious amount of side ingredients can be engulfing. You can exclude the pig’s organs and liver for more bak kut teh if you so prefer.
I think I have found my favourite bak kut teh thus far.
No bak kut teh trip is complete without ordering a side serving of pig’s trotters. The meat is really fatty and juicy. But if you prefer the leaner version, feel free to let them know. A side dish that is worth ordering is their otah otah with a thick layer of fresh minced fish with spices.
Kiang Kee Bak Kut Teh (强记肉骨茶)
Address: Batu 8½, Jalan Mawai, Kota Tinggi, 81900 Johor
Phone: +607 8821290
Opening Hours: 7.30am to sold out, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays