"Bak kut teh" (肉骨茶) is a popular pork-rib soup in Malaysia and Singapore, originating from Southern China. In Malaysia, the Hokkien or Fujianese (福建) version predominates, with Chinese herbal soups; whereas in Singapore, the Teochew or Chaozhou (潮州) version is more popular, with its peppery, garlicky soups.
Klang, a seaport town with a population of 1.1 million, situated 25 miles from Kuala Lumpur is considered the "bak kut teh capital" of Malaysia, with literally hundreds of "bak kut teh" outlets in the town. Klang is as Hokkien as KL is Cantonese. The Klang version of "bak kut teh" also tended to be stew-like - thicker and darker than the KL version, which has lighter soups.
I decided to explore two popular "bak kut teh" spots along Old Klang Road in Kuala Lumpur this evening: Ah Wang Bak Kut Teh at 32, Old Klang Road, and Fatty Bak Kut Teh at A-5, Old Klang Road. The two places were literally 5 minutes' walk from each other, separated only by Tesco supermarket & mall in-between.
First stop, Ah Wang - huge zinc-roofed part al-fresco restaurant with 40 tables. Business was brisk. Their "bak kut teh" came with pork-ribs, pig's intestines, button mushrooms and beancurd sticks ("foo chok"). The soup was herbal but very light. The "yau char kwai" or deep-fried crullers were oily and stale - a disappointment. It operates from 4pm till 11.45pm, and saw a steady stream of customers the entire time we were there.
Ah Wang Bak Kut Teh
32, Batu 4 1/2, Jalan Klang Lama
58000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6013-2282288 or +6016-2341319