Sunday, February 05, 2012

Song Fa Bak Kut Teh

It was 8pm on Thursday, and all the tables at Song Fa were occupied - even the extra ones along the sidewalk. At first it was mostly office workers catching dinner before going home, with a few tourists. Then, gradually, the office workers were replaced by students.

Whilst pacing around waiting for my friends, I saw that there were two Song Fa shops close to each other, at 11 and 17 New Bridge Road. One was open-air and the other, air-conditioned. Besides this, I think the only other difference was that the pork ribs soup in the air-conditioned shop was 50 cents more expensive.

Kitchen and pictorial menu at the open-air shop (apologies for the low resolution of the menu)

The air-conditioned shop was the shop of choice for my friends, and we were immediately led to two joined-up coffeeshop tables with stools. After careful consideration by my foreign foodie friend, we finally decided to share the pork ribs soup, braised pig's intestines, braised beancurd skin with chicken feet and salted vegetable.

It did not take very long for all of the dishes to arrive, and we were excited to try them.

$6.50 for 3 ribs, $8.50 for 4 ribs.

Resting casually in a bowl of soup were our four long meaty ribs. The meat was so tender that I was able to use my chopsticks to peel a slab off the bone. In my mouth the moist meat fell apart without much chewing, just like pulled pork. The pork ribs soup was not at all oily. It had a lot of flavour and was slightly peppery, although its flavour was on the shallow side and was lacking in the kind of nourishing depth that bone broths have.

Most hawker centres and foodcourts sell pig's organ soup. Braised pig intestines is harder to come by, unless there is a kway chap stall. These smooth tubes soaked up the tasty black sauce and were done just right - fully cooked but not rubbery. Somehow their texture was different from the intestines that I have eaten before... I do not recall the inside of intestines holding that much fat. My foodie friend and I had almost half a plate each, and this dish was a stomach-filler.

$3.50 for two feet.

Chicken feet contain lots of bones and can be troublesome to eat depending on how they are cooked. The way they were done in the braised beancurd skin with chicken feet dish made our lives easier - the skin was hanging off the bone and we just needed to suck a little for them to completely separate.

Bak kut teh and its related food is something that I like eating but for some reason do not end up eating very often. However, the lovely ribs at Song Fa have persuaded me to make an effort at bak kut teh at least once every three months.

Note: Before leaving for Song Fa for dinner with my friends, I had drunk a total of 2 litres of water over the day. About 1/2 hour after the dinner, I felt very, VERY thirsty and downed another litre of water. MSG?

11 New Bridge Road (Tel: 6533 6128)
17 New Bridge Road (Tel: 6438 2858)
Singapore 059383

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