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5 Different Styles of Bak Kut Teh You Have to Try at Least Once!


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Source: Nomadette & Forever in Hunger

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Recently there’s been talk in parliament to consider Bak Kut Teh as a Malaysian heritage dish but this was heavily debated as the Chinese local dish contains pork. In the sitting, Opposition Langkawi Minister, Datuk Suhaimi Mohd Abdullah said that heritage food must be able to be eaten by all ethnic groups in Malaysia, eliminating Bak Kut Teh’s potential from making it to the list.
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However netizens have brought up the fact that some of our heritage dishes like Rendang contains beef which Hindus do not eat, but that somehow doesn’t make Rendang unqualified to be considered a heritage dish.
Further debate in parliament about this broth led to Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Khairul Firdaus bin Akbar Khan to say that Bak Kut Teh could be considered if it was the halal version, Chik Kut Teh (substituting halal chicken for pork).
Considering the heated discussions that’s been surrounding this dish, we’ve decided to showcase the different variations of Bak Kut Teh, from halal to seafood – a diverse dish that can still be enjoyed by all ethnic groups in Malaysia.

1.Chik Kut Teh (Halal, chicken version)

Butterkicap Chic Kut Teh 1024X683 1

Bak Kut Teh means “meat bone tea” in Hokkien, so it’s not that far off to use another type of meat, in Malaysia’s case – halal chicken. It’s also largely believed that Bak Kut Teh actually originated as a beef stew dish from Fujian, China so maybeee it’s still considered similar (ish) to use chicken instead of pork in this version of the dish.

This halal version is said to have been made specially for Muslims to be able to experience the much loved soup. The herbs all remain the same like our classic Bak Kut Teh but uses chicken bones and drumsticks.

Chik Kut Teh is typically enjoyed with steamed rice or accompanied by a side of Youtiao (Cakoi) for dipping into the flavorful broth. There’s even readily available halal packets of the spices for this special broth.

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2. Dry Bak Kut Teh

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This version of the Bak Kut Teh is way less soupy, and has more of a thicker, gravy consistency to it. Typically served in a claypot, this version has a powerful spicy flavour due to a combination of dark soy-sauce mixture and lots of dried chilies.

Fried or dried cuttlefish, dried shrimps, and plenty of of bak kut teh special herbs provide the most kick in flavour out of the others on our list. This dish typically uses pork but there are beef and even seafood versions of it.

Kheong Kee Bak Kut Teh

Pork ribs and belly are simmered till tender, then mixed with the gravy, stir-fried in garlic, onion, and usually okras for a mouth-watering meal!



3. Seafood Bak Kut Teh

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Third on our list is the Seafood Bak Ku Teh, the same version just inclusive of prawns, clams sometimes chunks of fish, fish balls with pork belly and ribs. This version branches out to many versions, evolving the dish even more. In Klang, seafood Bak Kut Teh can be found in both dry and soupy versions.


Meanwhile usually in Sabah, the Bak Kut Teh swaps the pork meat out and opts to focus a fish or prawns as the main meat and serves it in the typical pork bone broth.

As you can see, there’s so many ways to use the base herbs and spices of Bak Kut Teh while still not trailing too far off from the original versions.




4. Teochow Bak Kut Teh


Teochew style of bak kut teh is a much lighter coloured broth compared the typical darker coloured broths you mainly see around. This version is more famous in Singapore and is made by boiling pig ribs, bone marrow in garlic with heavy use of white pepper.



5. Hokkien Bak Kut Teh

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In Malaysia, Hokkien style Bak Kut Teh or the Klang Bak Kut Teh is most popular. It’s made using a variety of Chinese medicinal herbs and spices, as well as a combination of light and dark soy sauce to produce a darker coloured broth.

The ingredients are a plenty with button mushrooms, Goji berries, Dong Gui (Chinese Angelica Root), star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, ginger, garlic and others. This special combination is what basically makes the broth earthy and comforting. Local non-halal eaters definitely rate this dish highly as one of Malaysia’s traditional dishes.

Now that we’ve made it to the end our list, do you think we should still consider Bak Kut Teh as one our country’s heritage dishes? Share your thoughts in the comments, we’d appreciate hearing from you! 




Also Read: 5 Interesting Facts About Bak Kut Teh: Exploring Klang’s Best Dish

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Source: Butterkicap
Source: Nomadette
Source: Tallypress
Source: KYSpeaks
Source: MySabah

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