Song Fa Day & Night Bak Kut Teh
There are bak kut teh places and there are bak kut teh places. To local BKT groupies, this particular brand, having been around for decades, is among the better exponents of a very quintessential local dish. This new outlet has opened a stone’s throw from the Singapore River and just a couple of doors down from its coffeeshop equivalent. Having previously avoided the other place because of the thronging office crowds, we were curious to see how different this was. And, well, apart from the air-conditioned comfy-ness, it didn’t seem all that different. We walked in on a busy weeknight, and a table was quickly found for us (service, though not too warm, has always been fast and efficient); we set about ordering straight away. We of course went for the standard (Teochew-style peppery) bak kut teh ($6.50) and a couple other dishes. Before we touch on the latter, a couple of quick words on the main event here: Just blah. Yup, you heard us. It was a bit of a disappointment. We’ll admit to being fans of the darker herbal-ish soup version, but we dig the peppery equivalent, too. This seemed a bit ordinary, and we dare say a little MSG-laden. We had to keep pairing it with the cut chili condiment to give it some kick. But it wasn’t a complete write-off; the meat, at least, was tender and went down well with our rice. We also ordered the braised pig trotters ($6) and the mee sua with sliced fish ($8). Surprisingly, both were better options than our BKT. We loved the braised meat and rice combo; it was both tasty and hearty without being too overpowering. Although the fish was standard stuff, the mee sua itself was tasty and soft on the bite—just how we like it. Overall, while we have nothing bad to say about this joint, there aren’t too many praises to be sung about it either. It’s merely a convenient place for the office workers in the area to have slightly-pricier-thanusual lunch.
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