[Kuala Lumpur] Sun Fong Bak Kut Teh

Apparently a “must-try” for visitors to KL, I hauled a friend down to Sun Fong Bak Kut Teh for their famous bak kut teh (pork rib soup, literally “meat bone tea”) one evening. Even with its considerably large premises, the place was packed when we got there. The walls were adorned from ceiling to floor with photos of Hong Kong and Taiwanese celebrities gracing the restaurant at different points in time, smiling politely alongside Sun Fong‘s beaming owner.

Most Singaporeans and Malaysians would be well aware that there are two main types of bak kut teh: the Teochew-style broth which is clear and peppery, versus the Hokkien-style dark herbal broth. Though I don’t mind the herbal broth at all, if asked to pick one I would definitely lean towards the Teochew soup because there’s just something so clean and comforting about drinking peppery soup, particularly on a rainy day.

Bak Kut Teh, RM24.00 for a 2-person serving.

Alas, what we have here at Sun Fong is a mean Hokkien broth in all its unadulterated glory. Flavoured with Chinese herbs like dang gui, Solomon’s seal and buckthorn fruit as well as loads of garlic, this pork bone-based broth owes its complex taste to hours upon hours of simmering. Definitely not one for those averse to the taste of Oriental medicine.

As you can see the ingredients in the claypot are rather different from the pork ribs-only bak kut teh we’re used to here in Singapore. Pork belly, pork ribs, intestines, pork balls – this was in fact a wimpy version of the soup, as we’d requested for the liver and kidneys to be excluded :/ Sigh, with each entry I further erode my credibility as a food reviewer.

All in all this wasn’t really my cup of teh (ha ha). I found the medicinal taste of the soup way too strong to be enjoyable, and the meat on the ribs turned out to be surprisingly tough. You’d think with so much boiling the meat would fall right off the bone with a slight shake. Watching a bus outside unleash a horde of hungry and excited tourists upon the restaurant, however, I don’t think Sun Fong requires my continued patronage to keep its business booming.

Sun Fong Bak Kut Teh
35, 37 & 39 Medan Imbi
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Opening hours: 5a.m. to 12 midnight, daily.
Tel. No.: +603-2141 4064/ +603-2148 0905

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