I love anything served with a bowl of soup. Especially when it is piping hot and stuffed with deep flavour like the bak kut teh from Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha. Nestled in the outskirts of Tanjong Pagar and under a block of flats, it may be difficult for first-timers to locate the stall.
What I tried at Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha
As soon as I was seated, a young man placed a bowl of Dough Sticks (S$2.30) onto the table. Do note that you should inform them immediately if you are not intending to purchase the portion as it isn’t complementary.
They held a satisfying crunch upon each bite and maintained their fluffy interior throughout my meal. To fully utilise those air pockets present in the medium, I recommend drenching them in the peppery and herbal soup… which is what I had next.
The Spare Ribs Soup (S$9.70) came with 4 chunks of ribs submerged completely in soup. I tried the soup first. It was heavily seasoned with pepper with a hint of herbal flavours. As a personal preference, I tend to lean towards broths that possess a richer herbal flavour..
However, I appreciated the gentle spice buildup in my throat as I ingested more spoonfuls. On the order sheet, I was given the option to choose between fat and lean meat. The fatty option was an obvious choice for me.
The meat was chunky and succulent. It did not fall off the bone instantly but with a little tug, the tender pieces were scrapped off the bone effortlessly.
I enjoyed dipping them into the black soy sauce and red chilli condiment for extra saltiness. The freshly-cut chilli pieces were not extremely spicy but almost refreshing like a capsicum.
I paired the soup with Mee Sua Noodles (S$2.30) which were also submerged in the same peppery broth. I loved these noodles for their stringy consistency with little starchy flavour.
However, the noodles quickly soaked up the broth and inflated. Its unique texture was lost although it was still palatable.
As the broth focuses on its peppery and herbal flavours, it did not have much saltiness. Hence, I found the Salted Vegetable (S$3.40) to be its most fitting pairing. The vegetables were smaller than bite sized pieces which meant that I could pile them into a big spoonful of Rice (S$0.80).
I absolutely adore the subtle briny juices that burst from these tiny vegetable cubes! In comparison to other salted vegetable dishes I’ve had, these were also much softer.
I was also curious about the taste of their Liver/Kidney Soup (S$9.20). While the soup remains consistent to the rest mentioned above, the large cuts of kidney and liver could be seen peeking from the soup.
I was acquainted with the flavour of liver — incredibly meaty with a subtle hint of gaminess. However, it was my first time trying boiled kidney. They were presented in larger slices compared to the liver, adorned with criss-cross strokes across the meat.
I loved its texture — spongy and slightly rubbery. It was similar to blood cubes that I often eat in hot pots. This meant that it isn’t fully capable of absorbing the flavours from the broth but it did not deter me from indulging in its unique taste.
Braised Eggs (S$2.30) was the last side dish ordered. The eggs were thoroughly marinated in a deep brown-coloured gravy. Since almost all the dishes were served with the same soup as before, I assumed that would be the case for these eggs.
To my surprise, the braise was adequately seasoned and possessed a strong herbal flavour. If only there was a way to transfer some herbal flavour into the soups, that would suit my palate more.
All things considered, I still stand by my opinion that bak kut teh broths should carry a stronger and more pronounced herbal flavour. However, I was satisfied with my purchase of bak kut teh at Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha on this visit.
I would return for more of those salted vegetables, fried dough sticks and peppery broth combination whenever the cravings hit again.
Order delivery: foodpanda
Expected damage: S$9.70 – S$15 per pax
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