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Lei Garden Chinese Restaurant, Singapore

What to do for lunchtime in Singapore? That was the big question. And our friend Laurence had the answer: Let’s go for authentic Cantonese cuisine. While I first thought we would hence go to a nearby foodstall (nothing wrong with that), I was pretty amazed when I discovered the setting of Lei Garden: it is more reminiscent of a glorious last century Parisian Brasserie than the (albeit clean) streets of Singapore. And more than that: it is part of a chain of Chinese restaurants whose Hong Kong affiliates have partly been awarded a Michelin Star ( I only found out later).

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Homemade Bak Kut Teh – Photo Recipe Puzzle

Many of you might not be aware of a dish called Bak Kut Teh. The apparent reason for it might be that it is obviously a dish with an obscure Chinese name only a Chinese would know. The backdrop though is, that many of the billion Chinese on this earth might not even know it for the simple reason that this is one of the Chinese dishes that actually stems from the multicultural country Malaysia. In fact the 3 main cultural groups in Malaysia: the Malay, the Indians and the Chinese all adapted, modified and developed the cuisine of their home countries, creating new dishes that account for the richness and variety of today’s Malaysian gastronomy.

So what is Bak Kut Teh? Bak Kut Teh literally means Meat Bone Tea (in “Hokkien” dialect) and is actually a very intense pork soup made with various spices. It comes of course with the pork meat and on the side one eats white rice, Chinese greens, chunks of fried dough called You Tiao or simply “ghost”, as well as minced garlic and chilies that you can mix into the broth.

I already reported once on a well known Bak Kut Teh restaurant in Kuala Lumpur which made me discover the dish. On my recent visit of the country (my brother lives there) though, our friend Waiyee offered to prepare this dish for us. Here’s the photo story of it. Hopefully it is in the right order and my little explanations are correct.

Bak Kut Teh pot
First one needs a nice big pot filled with water

Bak Kut Teh spice bag
Then, probably the hardest to get ingredient outside of Malaysia are those special Bak Kut Teh Spices. Some of them are already premixed in special teabags.
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