Sunday, 7 July 2013

Nameless Bak Kut Teh – A taste 10 years in the making

Black & White Kopitiam, Jalan PJU 8/5c, Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

It seems appropriate to begin my first food post with something close to home.

I’ve been regularly getting my bak kut teh fix from this stall for about 10 years.

It would be natural to assume, based on what you know so far – and especially if you’re a fan of kung fu comics – that this is some mind-blowing stuff we’re about to talk about here. A bak kut teh stall so legendary, it does not need anything so commonplace as a name for its hordes of fanatical fans to identify it. A taste that’s been honed and perfected over a decade, probably involving a few years’ meditation in some cave in Pahang. A bak kut teh master of such fearsome skill that other, lesser bak kut teh cooks feel nothing but an intense self-loathing when they compare their mediocre abilities to his; not deeming themselves worthy to even speak his non-name aloud, only to whisper it in hushed and terrified tones. You don’t come here as a customer expecting a good meal, you come here as an unworthy supplicant begging him for the privilege of giving him your money in exchange for a taste of something truly heavenly.

Well, actually, no.

I eat here regularly because it’s within walking distance from where I live, and the guy now reliably does a solid job serving up a bak kut teh meal.

Mind you, it’s not always been like this. When I started eating here, he could be quite inconsistent. Sometimes the soup is too bland, or tastes somehow different from the way it usually does; sometimes the meat has an overpowering porky smell, or is too tough, or has fat that’s too chewy.

But he’s a nice guy and he’s been steadily improving his food over the years. Now, every time I eat there, I can rely on the fat to be deliciously melty, the meat to be tender and the soup to taste the way I expect.

But he still hasn’t bothered to give his stall a name.

Tender meat and melty fat in generous amounts... and just RM10 per person!

All right, I confess that I still add soy sauce to my soup to get it to taste just the way I want, but that’s just because I prefer overly salty food. Regular folks should like it just fine.

Teh-on-teh action: iced Chinese tea is a must for me whenever I have bak kut teh.
Now, the most important question. Should you take a special trip to try it?

Probably not.

But if you’re in the neighbourhood; and it’s a cold night; and you’re in the mood for hot, porky, herbalicious goodness; and you don’t feel up to driving all the way to Kepong or Jinjang or Klang or Puchong or wherever one of those famous bak kut teh places are; this nameless stall will serve up some pretty good stuff to satisfy your craving.

Gotta have rice and cili padi and garlic with bak kut teh. I prefer my garlic with light soy sauce instead of the dark soy sauce that most people seem to favour. 

Bonus: because it really is as anonymous as its non-name suggests, there are no crowds, no long waits for your food, no overpricing and definitely no prima donna attitude from the stall owner.

Pretty good deal, if you ask me.

A picture of the kopitiam and the stall itself. Tried to get a picture of the stall owner too, but doesn't want to be photographed. Maybe he's a secret agent and this bak kut teh thing is just a cover?

Because one can never have too many gratuitous bak kut teh shots, here's one more for the road... :)

Snack-sized review
Good, solid bak kut teh that’s steadily improved over the years. Probably not worth a special trip but if you’re in the neighbourhood and have a hankering for bak kut teh, you can count on this stall to serve up a satisfying meal.

Hours: About 5pm to 11pm daily (usually closed on Sunday)
Price: About RM10 for one person’s portion including rice, but without dough fritters (yau char kuai)

1 comment:

  1. Burrrrrpppp!!! No name Bak Kut Teh is the name!!!