Bak Kut Teh (Meat Bone Tea Soup)

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Ready : 2 hr 20 mins [Prep : 20 mins † Cooking : 1-2 hrs † Not Inclusive Of Mushrooms Soaking Time]
Serve :  4 with Plain rice
Generic :  Boil/Simmer
Level :  Moderately Easy
Idle :  1-2 hrs Printable Recipe.

Aromatic Delicious Herbal Tea Meat Soup

“Bak Kut Teh” is a very popular Chinese meat (pork) soup. Basically, there are two common variants of Bak Kut Teh; namely the TeoChew style and the Hokkien style. The Teochew style, which is light in color but uses more pepper and garlic in the soup while the Hokkien style, uses more soy sauce resulting in a darker soup. As far as the dish is concerned, it’s really all about the herbal soup which is an infusion of a variety of Chinese herbs !!! You can easily get the herbal mix from most Chinese Medical hall or the pre-packed stuff from Supermarket. Well, its a matter of preference as far as the flavor/taste is concerned because every mixture tastes a little different. Being a meat soup dish, it is usually served with a plate of blanched vegetables, mixed with Oyster Sauce, Light Soy and Shallot/Garlic oil. Two other very common side dishes are “Tofu Pok” (Fried Tofu) in very light Soy soup and Braised Dried Shiitake Mushrooms. Here’s The Viand’s take on Bak Kut Teh.




  • Meat – Pork Belly, trim off any excess membrane with skin on. Ribs and Pork knuckle. Smashed Ginger and  Garlic (get the roasted type). OR, U can simply use one kind of protein.
    Any green Vegetables and mushrooms as a side dish. The VianD used fresh Shiitake and Enoki Mushrooms.
    If U r using Dried Shiitake Mushroom – soak over-nite and destemmed.


  • Pre-packed herbal mixture. Salt, Sugar and good quality Light soy – U need quite a generous amount of Soy as this will formed part of the soup-base. All to taste. ** Note : Just dash of everything, if U prefer a stronger intensity of an ingredient flavor, simply add a little extra of that ingredient/spice – no rocket scientific measurement here. Always taste your Seasoning !!!



Preparing the soup and meat


  • Step 1 : Start by blanching all the Meat in hot boiling water for abt 5-mins – just to get rid of any impurities. Set aside.
  • Step 2 : Bring a pot of water to boil – this will be ur soup. Add the Herbal-mixture, a generous amount of Light Soy, Garlic and Ginger. Add in the blanched Meat and simmer till meat soft – abt 1-2 hrs, depending on the heat, size of the meat/what kind of meat and ur preference level of softness.
    To test for preference softness, simply poke the Meat with a chopstick. Dish out the meat when U r happy with the level of softness (to avoid overcooking) and set aside. Continue to simmer the soup for abt another 30-mins, so that the pre-packed herbal mixture can further flavor the soup. Sieved the soup when it’s done.
    U can boil the meat and soup in advance. Simply reboiled when ready to serve.

Preparing the Mushroom and Vegetable


  • Step 1 : Veggies – Simply blanch Greens in hot boiling water for abt 2-3-mins. Drizzle with cooking oil or if U like saute, some Garlic oil and Light soy. It’s done. Do this just before U serve else U will have soggy Veggies..*LoL*.
  • Step 2 : Dried Shiitake Mushrooms – While U can simply dump the Mushrooms to boil together with the meat but if U want good soft, tender and smooth Mushrooms, here’s how U do it.
    Simply boil with water on high heat with a piece smashed Ginger till Mushrooms soften and sauce slightly thickened – abt 45-60 mins. Season with Salt, Sugar and Oyster sauce to taste.  A little of Cornstarch mixture just to aid the smoothness, if U want. It’s done.
    If U R using fresh Shiitake and Enoki Mushrooms like The VianD is doing here. U do not need to do much, except simply clean them. Simply dump them into the hot boiling soup for a few mins before serving and U R good to go.
    Bear in mind that dried and fresh mushroom gives U a totally different profile of flavors and texture, but both taste good! But braising the dried mushrooms takes a much longer time.



  • Step 1 : When U R ready to serve, slice/chop ur pork/rib/knuckle to the desired size, simply reheat everything, assemble and ur bowl of aromatic delicious herbal Tea, “Bak Kut Teh (Meat Bone Tea Soup)” is ready !!! Serve hot and I mean, boiling hot soup!!!

Copyright © 2014 The VianD · All Rights Reserved

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