Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh was founded by Mr Yeo who has kept his business striving for 30 years. He recognized the importance of service and quality of food even to the slightest detail. He would rather jeopardize on his profit margin and spend more on quality rice than to allow his customers taste low quality grains. So popular has their New Bridge Store opposite "The Central" being, they have opened a second store just a few units away from the first. BUS SERVICES: 2, 12, 33, 54, 147, 190, 851, 961 MRT STATION: NE5 CLARKE QUAY
However, the taste was just not good. If you asked me to describe, I will only say peppery soup with overcooked rib. It was so spicy that we couldn't finished it. The meat on the rib was just too hard and dry. It is just not tender enough to melt in your mouth. The pricing for the Bak Kut Teh is just not right. I remember only 3-4 pieces for S$7? It is quite expensive in my view but given the aircon environment so I guess one have to pay for it. We ordered the mei cai and you tiao too. Mei cai was quite nice and well done but the you tiao was a bit soggy. It felt like it was done quite some time.
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh is conveniently located just across the street from Clark Quay MRT station. I couldn't be more thankful for that because it meant a direction-dummy like myself would never lose my way. I reached the eatery slightly before 7pm and both were already packed with hungry diners and busy staff. Chatters and noises made the place lively.
There are two outlets, one with air-conditioning and the other, without. Being the kind of person who would choose to dine in air-conditioned places whenever possible, I had to find out whether the prices differed, just so I could decide which outlet I should queue at. Cheers to them having the same prices! The queue at the one without air-conditioning was slightly shorter, so my friend and I decided to forgo the comfort, or so we thought. We were seated inside a cramped space, but the strong fans kept us cool.
We ordered two cups of lime juice, two bowls of rice, one large bak kut teh (which included 4 pieces of tender ribs), a medium plate of preserved veggie, one small youtiao and a small plate of kailan. All these came up to only about $22 for two pax!
The food was not too shabby and I like the fact that the broth was hearty and not too peppery. Coming from someone who often avoids garlic, I would not mind coming back for more as the smell was not too overpowering. While the 'Home-Made Lime Juice' tasted more like a concoction of cordial syrup and water, than actual home made lime juice, it was refreshing nonetheless. Skip the kailan if you aren't a fan of strong-tasting vegetables.
Extra brownie points for the friendly, efficient staff who kept acceding to our requests to have our soup refilled!
We noticed that there was an air-conditioned Song Fa a shop away from the main Song Fa shop, so we settled for the air-conditioned one. We were ushered to a small, cramped corner directly beside the counter. Although the tables were not filled up, there was a 'reserved' sign on all the tables, which we shortly found out why - tour groups.
I ordered the basic bak kut teh ($7) set with rice and it was served soon after. Everything was decent, but $7 only got me 3 pieces of ribs, which I felt was a tad too little. The ribs were edible, but not incredible. I do appreciate the free flow of soup nonetheless.
I highly doubt I'll be returning any time soon. Maybe it's high time I pay Founder's Bak Kut Teh a visit!
One thing to take note though, is that the food is rather oily. I usually go for no.1 on the menu coupled with some side dishes. The pig trotters, ground nuts, barley/lime juice is usually enough to make me walk out "a little hunched"!
Our normal order consists of 2 soups, normal ribs and gizzard(standard size). The latter (which my wife likes) being an acquired taste. Having tried the pricier loin ribs on other occasions prior, we have since stuck to the normal ribs, which in our opinion is tastier, although I understand the former was supposed to be more tender and juicier due to it being lined with some fats. We, however, preferred the leaner option, more for the taste than anything else, though it is a healthier option. The soup base is lightly peppery and yummy, preserving necessary flavour and not hiccup inducing. To top it off, endless refills are provided upon request although the polite way would be to have a rib and/or some soup left in the bowl when requesting.
Next, we also order the intestine and trotters. Both, braised to perfection and heavenly with white rice, couple with the Chinese parsley and some fresh chilli for the former and ground chilli for the latter. Yummy! The trotters is a personal favorite of mine as it has a good blend of fatty and lean meat, making it a flavourful presence in one's mouth as the fat so easily melts. This in my opinion is superb as so often this dish when badly done can easily sway from yummy to yucky, especially when the fat is rubbery and gamey. For the sides, we ordered the salted veg which was only mildly salty which goes well with the rice as well.
Finally, we come to the chilli. Song Fa provides 3 types. 2 freshly chopped(padi and normal) and the grounded type in some vinegar. My recommendation is to eat the ribs and intestines with the freshly chopped chilli and dark soy sauce whilst have the trotters with the grounded chilli. As for the Padi, avoid it altogether. Being so spicy, it robs the taste of the food. However, the waiting staff tend to only provide a very stingy portion of the freshly chopped chilli, which causes one to constantly ask for a top up, which often comes delayed. Other than this, the service is acceptable. In fact, one of the waitress took special attention that I had a baby with me and reminded her colleague to be careful while topping up the soup. I thought that was very considerate. Overall, I would recommend Song Fa to anyone who wants to try value for money Bak Kut Teh in Singapore. Final point to note, it is commendable that Song Fa manages to maintain a standard taste and quality across its branches. Well done.
We ordered the normal Bak Kut Teh (not particularly outstanding but soup is refillable!), pig intestines (this one was super delicious), pig liver (not that tasty), steamed peanuts, vegetables (very very good!). It came up to a total of about $10 a person which was reasonable for the amount we ordered. The shop is also quaintly decorated with old shophouse details that I enjoyed admiring while eating. Overall a good experience!
This place also serves sliced fish in bak kut teh soup, which actually tastes pretty good. Those looking for a change might want to try it. The usual side dishes such as youtiao, salted vegetables and braised peanuts are available and go well with the meal.
Location is very convenient - this place is right across the road opposite Clarke Quay MRT station.
The pork ribs had the right texture, a good balance between tenderness and firmness. The soup was a little too peppery for my liking, but when eaten with the rice it was fine. My friends who enjoyed sucking the bones said it was good! The best part of it was that the soup was refillable! Hooray!!!
But nothing will beat the legendary Bak Kut Teh from Malaysia... In overall, the Song Fa Bak Kut Teh is one of the better few in Singapore do try it if you're in town area!
When I finally got to try the famous Bak Kut Teh, it did not disappoint me. The peppery soup was salty and piping hot.Just the way I like my soup. It was so good my friend and I asked for a refill! The soup came along with two long pieces of pork ribs. The meat was soft and came off easily. Together with the black sauce provided, I tasted a glimpse of heaven.
Even though the service was average, and the service crew mostly spoke in mandarin, making it rather difficult to communicate with them, overall it was a good experience.
They have two shops there, one was renovated more like a restaurant. I had not tried that, but judging from the renovation, I was afraid that the pricing may be different. That may be the one for the tourists that demanded better dining ambiance. For me, the corner shop is more suitable for me, it is like those old coffee shops that I frequented when I was a kid.