Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh at Simpang Bedok – Transforming lives with Bak Kut Teh
Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh (順發肉骨茶) is a business of a second chance. It was started in April 2013 by Mr Jabez Tan, who spent 12 years in jail for drug and theft related offences. During his imprisonment, he started off as a kitchen dishwasher but soon became the main prison chef and cooked for his inmates. Embracing his passion for cooking, he created a unique bak kut teh recipe for his shop.
Many of the staff in Soon Huat were hard-core criminals. Some were homeless, some had been involved in robbery and theft, whilst others participated in drug trafficking. Yet they share the same goal – to break away from their past destructive lifestyle and start anew. The eatery hopes to give ex-offenders and former drug abusers a new lease of life.
While the usual bak kut teh is served with a few pieces of pork ribs and soup, Soon Huat’s Bak Kut Teh ($5.90 for 1 pax, $11.90 for 2-3 pax, $22.90 for 4-5 pax) comes with pig innards. Kinda similar to the Malaysian version of Klang bak kut teh, but Soon Huat’s one is milder to cater to local palate. Don’t get me wrong, the broth is milder but still full bodied with slight sweetness. The pork used has also been switched to Argentinian pork is used which is firm but soft enough to chew. The natural sweetness and juices were evident.
Braised Tow Ki ($3.90) is a pleasant surprise. I thought it would be the usual soft tow ki soaked in a bowl of dark soy sauce. But I was wrong. It is crispy tow ki drenched in braising sauce. The tau kee they used is imported from Malaysia, and the quality showed. It is aromatic and infused with a little of the soy base. Very addictive and I welcome the change!
Ginger Sesame Chicken ($5.90) can do better with the addition of more sesame oil.
Braised Trotter ($6.90) has keratin-skin, a bit of jelly-like fat and pretty tender meat. They probably can do the sauce better.
Pig’s Liver Soup ($5.90) is much sweeter. The addition of hua diao wine gave it a nice whiff.
The gooey thick gravy in Dried Bak Kut Teh ($6.90) is cooked by reducing bak kut teh soup, dark soya sauce, and enhanced with dried chili, dried cuttlefish and lady finger. What makes this dish stand out if the strips of dried cuttlefish that gave the depth and a lovely punchy flavour that pleases our palate.
I love Soon Huat’s bat kut teh, be it soup or dry. I love its braised tow ki which has an aromatic crispy. Most importantly, I love that they give back to the society by hiring ex-convicts. Because everyone deserves a second chance.
Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh (順發肉骨茶)
Bedok Shopping Complex (Simpang Bedok), 302 Bedok Road
Tel: 6273 3338
Opening Hours: 11am – 930pm daily
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