Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh on Havelock Road


It all started when Simon commented that the Bak Kut Teh (BKT) in Singapore is nothing but pepper pepper pepper and a bit of garlic, quite unlike the version you get in Malaysia which is flavorful with a dark liquor.

This sparked an outraged Tony who decided that Simon’s view has to be corrected by experiencing one of the best Bak Kut Teh restaurants in Singapore.


Possibly the best pork liver I’ve tasted in a long time

There are two Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh places in Singapore. The one on Havelock Road is run by Ms. Gwee and the other in Outram is run by her brother. The story is that when the Havelock Rd restaurant closes at 2am, the BKT stock is transferred to the Outram outlet which opens in the day and vice versa when the Outram outlet closes for the evening.

This means that the BKT stock has been bubbling away for a very long time. That is ultimate flavor.

Chai Bey (Pickled Mustard Greens)

Chai Bey (Pickled Mustard Greens) that was melt-in-your-mouth

We went to the Isetan Building on the basis that it is slightly better; after all, Ms. Gwee was Ng Ah Sio’s right-hand person. Another reason is that the accompaniments to the pork rib soup were exceptional.

My absolute favorite that night was pork liver. I have never had a more perfectly-cooked pork liver anywhere else. There is a thin “crust” that gives way to a creamy, soft center that is reminiscent of biting into a perfect macaron. Gout-sufferers would do well to stay away from this. I slurped down two bowls.


Thickly-sliced and perfectly-cooked kidneys

Typically, the Chai Bey (Pickled Mustard Greens) provide some form of green in the predominantly brown, white and yellow BKT spread and not much else. However, as recommended by Florence, the Chai Bey at Ya Hua was melt-in-your-mouth good. You scoop a generous mound of Chai Bey onto your rice and before you know it, your bowl of rice is empty. It was addictive and exceptional.

Not everyone likes pork kidney but it is Florence and Tony’s favorite because they are clean-tasting and come in perfectly-cooked thick slices, tender to the bite; something you don’t find easily elsewhere.

The Braised Pork Trotters are on the light-side of things and I prefer the whole chunk of trotter with its taut, bouncy skin and delectable gelatinous jelly instead of the small cuts you get at Ya Hua.


Deep yellow broth

But what of the actual Bak Kut Teh? The pork rib we ordered had just the right amount of fat to keep things interesting and the color of the broth is quite unlike the paler versions that we are used to. The broth was strong, peppery and had a nice sweet depth that’s lip-smacking. Do remember to break the garlic out of its shell and enjoy the creamy, slightly sweet interior.

Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh serves really flavorful Pork Rib soup, but you are in danger of being distracted by the side dishes. This is not a bad thing because they really are good. Having said that, the prices are above your average coffeeshop but on par with the other late-night supper spots of Singapore.

And what was Simon’s verdict of the Singaporean Bak Kut Teh? Well, that’s a story for another time.

Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh is at 593 Havelock Road #01-01/02 Isetan Office Building, Tel: 6235-7716. Open daily from 11am to 2am.


Intestines with a drop or two of dark soy sauce in the broth


Stewed peanuts with a light soy taste


Bak Kut Teh is not for people who fear garlic


My favorite way of eating dough fritters is to dip it in the BKT broth






Posted on 16th Aug 2010 in Food and Drink, Teochew


There Are 10 Comments


alkanphel commented on August 16, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Didn’t expect to see the wine there! But this BKT looks really good, I’m gonna have to try it someday!


stargirl commented on August 16, 2010 at 7:05 pm

hooray i’ve always been wondering where to get flavorful BKT soup in singapore (: i adore pork liver too..gotta visit ya hua someday!


ivan commented on August 16, 2010 at 7:52 pm

@stargirl: Wait till you hear Simon’s review. 🙂

@alkanphel: It was a BYO; it’s sorta SOP thing with us.


Su-Lin commented on August 16, 2010 at 9:21 pm

That BKT looks outstanding… and those peanuts!!!


Mr Noodles commented on August 17, 2010 at 3:45 am

I went to the Outram branch of this place but we didn’t get garlic with our bak kut teh and the ‘tea’ didn’t look as nice. I also enjoyed the sides of kidney and liver but my fave side was probably the fish slices.


Nicholas commented on August 17, 2010 at 7:29 am

I thought I spied ??…

I prefer it in soy milk. BKT broth probably wouldn’t be too far off though. 😉


Clare @ Mrs Multitasker commented on August 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

Oh my goodness you have me hungry now. I LURVE white peppery bak kut teh, and can down a whole bowl of liver and kidney all by my lonesome.

Oh this looks soooo goood….. maybe I’ll go get lunch there today….


ivan commented on August 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm

@Mr Noodles: That’s why we went to the Havelock outlet; we thought it was better.

@Nicholas: It’s great even on its own!

@Clare: Do share your thoughts on your lunch trip there!


anony commented on December 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

that bowl of intestines with the powdery stuff inside. why do some bloggers call them fallopian tubes? can you confirm?


ivan commented on December 23, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Hi! I can’t speak for all bloggers but the ones I had were pig intestines.

As for fallopian tubes, here’s a picture (from a dinner I had in Seremban): http://is.gd/jiXmp

They are usually stir-fried.

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