Saturday, 6 November 2010
M;sia - Ah Sang Bak Kut Teh, No.531, Jalan SS9A/12. Seri Setia, Sungei Way,
Whenever we want to eat Bak Kut Teh, there isn’t much room for discussion as to where we’d go as this HAS to be THE best place for it in PJ / KL. Sure, there may be other more famous places in Klang which is famous for its BKT, but in my opinion, this version tastes better than any I’ve ever tasted.
If you’re into your BKT, then you’ll know what I mean when I say that some soups are just quite … airy-fairy. Without substance. Without colour. Without taste.
Ah Sang’s BKT is nothing like that. It has pizzaz! Ooopmh! A nice, dark soup with lots and lots of herbs, punchy tastes and such confidence to it that it struts down the alley with a delicious after taste that makes us go back time and again for more of that soup.
Despite the humble surroundings, actually, scrap that, it’s not really that humble for a BKT place. I’ve seen much worse, some without fans. This place has maintained the brightness, clean interior for as long as we’ve been here, and the yau char kuay / garlic counter seen above has remained in the same spot too – perfect for my frequent to and fros to get more garlic. Nothing much has changed here except for the fact that …
There is now a poodle at the counter watching over the tissue dispensers.
The last time we were here, the poodle was just a little pup sitting in a carrier bag, sniffing the air hungrily while giving little peeks every now and then.
My, how it has grown. Now, big burly men tip-toe their way to the side of the counter, their hands hesitant and quick – ready to swipe at the tissue dispenser when Poodle Doodle is not watching. He ain’t stupid, this one. Quick as a dart, he’s heard them, and barks / growls / stares meanly at the tissue-opportunists as they bid a hasty retreat back to their tables; still sweaty, slightly greasy, and very frightened.
Oh well, have another sip of iced tea hey?
While we wait for the main star to turn up, the extras slowly trudge up the red carpet. First, we have the rice which forms the base for the souper star (ha ha). There are 2 versions here – the normal white rice and the yau fan, which is rice cooked in some sort of stock which involves oil, I guess, since yau is oil.
After that, we have the other usual sideshow Bob, the yau char kuay. These little things are more commonly found in market, being fried fresh for consumption – really nice eaten with hot coffee. Kinda like Tim Tams dipped in tea, but more deep-fried. They’re also really great dipped in herbal soup, something about the soup squishing out of the now slightly soggy and chewy flour stick that is very appealing.
Now we come to the underdogs – the guys who don’t usually get the credit they deserve. Namely the garlic. Boy oh boy do I love garlic. Especially the raw ones. I know, social life? Not much, but nevermind hey. There is raw garlic here, everyone please bring the dark soy sauce, and clear the social calendar.
I could, and usually do, have about (and I’m not joking here) just slightly less than 10 little plates of these in one BKT meal. When I exhale, people look away. And these are people on the other table. In the other restaurant. I don’t know why I like it so much, might be something to do with the contrast of sweet from the sauce, herby from the soup, and sharp garlic which immediately brings out the beauty of the whole mixture.
The limo pulls up, the cameras are flashing, the heat is on (literally) – here comes the claypot Bak Kut Teh!
The claypot was full to the brim with meat, mushrooms, vegetables, and my favourites – the foo chuk, straw mushrooms and offal.
You can tell that these claypots have been well-seasoned, and have been churning out pot after pot of delicious, bubbling soups with meat.
The best bits, foo chuk and vegetables. We asked for extra and filled the pot to the brim again just as it was being depleted.
The meat was tender, and cooked well in the soup to allow all the flavours to soak through.
OK, so you might wonder what all this looks like in a bowl, when it’s just about to be slurped up? This was my bowl, and I tried to put a little of everything in here, but my mom kept adding more! (which is why there is another picture below this) The pai kuat (pork ribs) were tender, and falling off the bone just perfectly. The yau char kuay had absorbed the goodness of the soup, made all the more flavourful by the garlic and dark soy sauce.
Turning the bowl to another angle, we have the foo chuk which was not only crispy, but also managed to soak the soup up like the yau char kuay. Fabulous, fantastic, excellent choice for lunch. Would definitely recommend this, we’ve been coming here for years and each time, the food is consistently good, the people friendly as ever, and the overall meal, very enjoyable.