Listen or download the podcast for this week’s makan session with Chef Damian D’Silva, Judge on Masterchef Singapore!
This week, our Makan Kaki is Executive Chef of Singaporean Heritage Restaurant Folklore & Masterchef Singapore Judge Damian D’Silva! A self-professed true blue Singaporean, he loves slurping soup, and eating with his hands, that’s why he’s recommending we try his favourite Klang-Style Bak Kut Teh. Generally, you’ll find two kinds – the dark, herbal kind and the lighter, peppery kind. What’s wonderful about this particular stall in Upper Changi, is that their Bak Kut Teh is a unique combination of both the herbal and peppery, giving you a beautifully balanced dish that is not too herbal nor in-your-face-spicy!
What you’ll also notice the soup isn’t overpoweringly porky, which is surprising, considering the sheer number of piggy delights included in a portion! Using a judicious selection of herbs (which you can see lined up in jars along the front window of the stall) and boiling the soup for hours overnight, the resulting broth is naturally sweet and clean-tasting.
Another unique feature of this particular Bak Kut Teh is the unusual selection of other ingredients not commonly found in others. Chef Damian calls this a “Value-add”. Take for example the mushrooms – button, enoki & shimeji varieties soak in their bath of broth, adding another meaty dimension and earthy flavour, along with with great texture.
The inclusion of Tau Pok (tofu puffs) is also, in Chef Damian’s opinion, a very clever idea to add texture and also, imagine those puffs soaking up the soup and when you pop them in your mouth, flavour explosion!
The standard pork ribs you find in the soup are tender and just that bit of fatty so that the meat virtually falls off the bone.
And the thin slices of fatty pork belly add another dimension of melt-in-your-mouth lusciousness!
But really, the pièce de résistance of this Bak Kut Teh is what they are best known for – the powder intestines! Chef Damian has a weakness for innards and he thinks these small intestines are of such excellent quality – plump, soft, pillowy, bouncy and without too much of that offal aroma or taste. These clean tubes of textural delight are also great with the strips of pig’s stomach you’ll find in the soup.While we enjoyed this Bak Kut Teh as a takeaway, but truly, nothing beats having it on the spot, as it was intended – served piping hot in a claypot. Chef Damian says the temperature of the soup is vital to its flavour and enjoyment. And when you get that sweet spot of heat, the intensity and tastiness of the broth increases by at least 2 times! So please, Bak Kut Teh lovers, do go try this unique version that combines the best of both worlds and gives you so many more ingredients to enjoy! The trip far East is also worth it because of the other delicious dishes this stall serves, including claypot yong tau foo and red wine chicken.
Klang (Jln Meru Lim Kee) Bak Kut Teh
59 New Upper Changi Road, S(461059)
Mayflower (Changi) Eating House
Open: 11.30am – 9pm (closed Tues)
Tel: +65 90601289