I've been missing this Teochew style Bak Kut Teh ever since I first had it as a kid. It's distintive taste differenciate it from the Bak Kut Teh that we usually had here. Where most of my friends and family prefer the latter, I really loved the former. Sis brought us to Ng Ah Sio Pork Rib Eating House for this famous Singaporean dish.
This famous pork rib soup restaurant made headlines after it turned down Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang’s request to dine after its opening hours. Thaksin Shinawatra, the ex-Prime Minister of Thailand, also made his way here for lunch in 2007.
As one of the pioneers of this now-famous dish, Mr Ng Siak Hai’s(Nickname: Ng Ah Sio’s) father – Mr Ng Mui Song, began plying the pork-based, peppery herbal soup cooked in a distinct Teochew style in the 1950s at he current River Valley and Hill Street vicinity. These early servings of the Bak Kut Teh was accompanied by Chinese doughnuts (You Tiao) and a strong brew of Chinese tea and there was no chilli and soya sauce dips. One of the common beliefs of the origins of Bak Kut Teh is rooted in the early days of the Republic’s founding where large numbers of young men migrated from China to works as coolies at the godowns by the historic Singapore River. As their jobs involved much physical hardship and their meagre salaries could ill-afford the luxury of meat then, they used the bones of pork to brew their soups as a form of nourishment.
It is said that the Teochew labourers came up with the original version of Bak Kut Teh and their legendary stamina and strength after taking it soon led to other groups of Chinese coolies making the same with variations in the types of herbs added.
Other dishes served here include pig kidney soup, pigtail soup, preserved vegetable with garlic, and stewed pork trotters.