My better half was feeling “gian” (or yearning in the Hokkien dialect) for Klang Bak Kut Teh (BKT). Specifically Teck Teh’s BKT. Well, the ever curious me decided to check out the other popular BKT places in Klang instead. Anyway, I was guessing that most of the better known BKT restaurants would be closed on this day, the 3rd day of the Chinese New Year. I was right.
For the record, I found out that Seng Huat and Teck Teh were closed. The other BKT place I was planning to visit, Lai Choon, was also not open. I suspect this would be the standard practice, that these restaurants would remain closed at least up to the 3rd day of the Chinese New Year. So, if you’re wondering if you could visit any of these three, then you better have a back up plan. No worries though, because you will definitely be able to satisfy your craving for BKT during the Chinese New Year, as it is said that there more than 400 BKT restaurants in Klang, and some of them are bound to be open.
My food trail in Klang was planned such that I would visit the next nearest eatery on the list once I encounter a restaurant that was closed. First on the list was Lai Choon, which was not open. They’re supposedly well known for their dry version BKT. I chose this place because they have generally good reviews on Foursquare. By the way, I passed by Eng Ann Kopitiam (very nice Kopi and toast) enroute to Lai Choon, and it was closed as well.
Next on the list, Cheong Foh Kopitiam. Closed.
Next, Peng Heong Hakka Paikut Restaurant. Brimming with people. The service was really quick, as the food was mostly pre-cooked. Even though they do heat up or cook the food in claypots before serving, I was put off by the not-so-fresh overall feel. Nevertheless, the signature dish, the Paikut (spare ribs) gets my thumbs-up. It is marinated in a unique sweet herbal blend that I’ve not tasted before. If only i could taste it hot off the oven. Peng Heong is worth a try if you’ve been to Klang more than a few times and no longer need to place BKT as your first priority. As with most of Klang, the food here is considerably cheaper than in KL.
Next stop, Telok Pulai BKT. This is one of the most famous BKT in Klang, going by online reviews. We went to the original outlet along Jalan Telok Pulai. Here, you will also find another long running BKT restaurant, Lek. It was rather empty unfortunately, but i’m sure they serve pretty good BKT as well.
Telok Pulai BKT was packed, and it was about one hour from the time we were seated until we got served. You wouldn’t believe why it took so long – they didn’t have enough stoves to do the cooking!
We ordered both the wet and the soup version, as most people would do. The dry version wasn’t the best we’ve sampled. I would have preferred it to be darker. The soup version was pretty good though – balanced in taste, without any element being overwhelming. It was better than Seng Huat’s for sure. As it was probably cooked to order, the cooking time may have been less than optimal. The meat, mostly consisting of pork trotters, was a little bland, and the texture was harder than desired.
Compared to Teck Teh’s, which is cooked in a big pot, well, it’s just beyond comparison. Teck Teh’s soup is thick and collagen-y, and the meat is marinated through and through, being submerged in the pot throughout. Teck Teh reigns supreme, despite the many naysayers you may find online. Some complain about the poor service at Teck Teh, but i’m just thankful that Teck Teh is staying put and preserving this very important piece of food heritage and serving me the best BKT ever. I’m resolved to visit Teck Teh every time i’m in Klang, the benchmark for every other contender.
Chong Kok Kopitiam would be our last stop in Klang. Since Cheong Foh didn’t work out, we were very pleased that Chong Kok was open. We desperately needed our Kopi.
The friendly co-owner of the Kopitiam was very intrigue with the Batik i was wearing, as he noted that Batik is no longer being made the traditional way in Malaysia, and seldom worn these days among Malaysians. He was right. I got my Batik from Surabaya. We all have our part to do in supporting traditional art and culture, and Chong Kok Kopitiam is indeed doing their part in keeping their 77 years old Kopitiam running. Thriving.