Having a taste of Kota Kinabalu’s specialty dishes is one of our main goals. Personally, I want the city to melt in my mouth. So we geared up for the day’s itinerary with food covering a large part of it. Popular among tourists and locals is Sin Kee Bak Kuh Teh, which offers the best-tasting Bak Kut Teh in the land (IMO). It considers Yu Kee restaurant its toughest competition but there is a reason why the former has my vote. Although Bak Kut Teh is all over Malaysia, you would want to make your eating experience excellent so pick these two and you won’t regret it.
Bak Kut Teh is meat bone tea in English. Meaty slices of pork rib is the star of this soup that originated in China and served commonly in KK and neighboring countries like Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan. Of course, each country has its own variation of the dish but the original process of cooking it is preserved and enhanced to help you identify the soil you are standing on. The prominent tastes of spices and herbs in Bak Kut Teh are perhaps the same spices that set the Armada de Molucca to sail in 14th century and the same spices that led to the demise of Magellan and his team during the Battle of Mactan. Spices used
to be as precious as oil back then and now I know why.
Originally, the pork ribs are boiled for several hours in a mixture of strong spices such as pepper, garlic, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves, and tea herbs and then served with rice noodle soup or rice. The tea herbs and garlic make the dish taste less fatty since it is pure pork.
History says that Bak-kut-teh is a health-boosting food or dish among the early Chinese people. Malaysia’s version has added dried ingredients like dates, chillies, and squid with herbs and other spices that enhanced its thick sharp taste. Malaysians would eat Bak Kut Teh not just to quench hunger but also to relieve hangover, which is the interesting part. That’s why my Dad loves it.
Bak Kut Teh is a richly flavored deli that is unforgettable. It stole my heart the moment I tasted it. Imagine getting so much for less. Actually, Malaysia offers a host of cheap meals and street food. Food-lovers will not hesitate to splurge a little especially when you have to pay a small price for each item on the menu. If you are into oriental stuff, they are all worth checking out, I must say.
At Sin Kee’s
At Yu Kee’s
I found ordering at Yu kee’s to be quite complicated. You have to choose which meat or insides you want — spareribs, pork, intestines etcetera…At Sin Kee’s, you just have to order the dish and that’s it. Everything is included.
More on our KK adventure next time…