Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh
- < $10
Marina Bay Sands
Address: 2 Bayfront Avenue, #B2-50, Stall 11
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
10am to 11pm daily
Tanjong Katong Road
Address: No. 248 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437036
Tuesday to Sundays: 11am – 11pm. Closed on Mondays.
Serving authentic Teo-Chew style Bak Kut Teh, Ng Ah Sio has built on its reputation for the past two decades emerging as a popular pork ribs destination for Singaporeans and tourists alike. On the menu, there are other items like pig kidneys, pig livers, braised winter mushrooms and even a selection of chinese teas to compliment the intense tastes. Not to mention, the signature spare ribs soup that serves countless bowls a day. This humble eatery has also served various artists, and visiting ministers from neighbouring countries. With its recent renovation works, it is also more organised and comfortable as guests would not have to fight for places and sweat their lungs out in the heat while enjoying the savory bowls of soup.
When I first got there, I was pretty puzzled by the absence of the strong herbal Bak Kut Teh smell I was so accustomed to. When the bak kut teh came, I couldn't believe my eyes. The broth was clear. By then, I already wasn't expecting much, so the taste didn't come as a surprise. It was incredibly peppery and much less flavourful than the herbal variant. The pepper made my throat burn a little and was pretty unpleasant. None of the 'usual' aspects of bak kut teh that I'd come to know and love were there, except for the ribs. No claypot, no dark soya sauce, no herbs. I was shocked.
Thankfully, the ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender at the very least and the ambiance was pleasing. As for the prices, they were reasonable but definitely not too cheap.
Personally, I simply cannot see myself returning to Ng Ah Sio. It's not that their bak kut teh had the "wrong" taste. It's just not the right taste for me. To those who prefer the version with the clear broth, you might just fall in love with Ng Ah Sio's bak kut teh, but for those like myself who prefer the herbal kind, you'd be better off skipping this place.
I'm afraid I can't choose my favourite because all 3 dishes were so good! The Bak Kut Teh soup was peppery and the taste of the spices came through nicely. The pork was so tender and the two bones that came in every bowl had plenty of pork meat to enjoy with the rice, preserved vegetables and you tiao that came in the set meal. The Laksa was flavourful, and the serving was quite big. There were cockles in there along with many premium ingredients that made the dish wonderful. We decided to takeaway the chicken rice as there were only 3 of us and there were 4 meals. We also had to take away our Bak Kut Teh as we couldn't finish.
I had the chicken rice for dinner later that day, and the rice was really fragrant and the chicken so tender. I have to say it's one of the best chicken rice I've tasted. I'd definitely go back again, as the ambiance of the restaurant is really nice. Not your traditional road side coffee shop style, but an air-conditioned restaurant in a club. Although the food here is a little on the more expensive side, it'll be worth every penny! Do note that the staff there aren't able to speak English fluently, and speak more of Mandarin and some dialects!
Firstly, the place is incredibly clean and tidy. They've increased the number of tables they have and for a tourist, it's wonderful, because they provide a nice history of the place on their wall.
Balestier Road, which is a 2 minute walk from here, is best known for it's Bak Ku Teh. So even though it's not on Balestier Road per se, it is honestly, the best place for this dish. Their soup is wonderfully peppery but unlike many others, it's thicker, darker and full of strong flavours. They provide an excellent amount of meat and soup and can easily top up the soup whenever you ask for it.
Like the soup, even their other side dishes are stronger in spices than many other places. They salty vegetable dish is one of my favourites even though it's slightly more oily. Their pig tail is absolutely to die for. Their other vegetable dishes are a lot milder and simpler made but it provides a good balance with the strong flavours of the soup. Your focus, after all, is the pork ribs.
Incredibly efficient as always and they also sell the spices of their soup at the cashier which is wonderful for any tourist visiting and loving it. So if you're touring the historical road of Balestier, be sure to seek this place out for Bak Ku Teh.
Though I am not a fan of Bak Kut Teh as I don't enjoy spicy food, I was pleasantly surprised when I first tasted the soup. It wasn't as peppery as I thought it would be and I enjoyed it very much. However, the bowl that they served was very small and there wasn't a lot of soup. Though the soup is refillable, we got a little embarrassed after getting the staff to refill the soup for us for the n-th time. Other than that, the meat was soft and absorbed the flavours of the soup very well. Overall, a very delightful meal and I can now understand why my dad enjoyed visiting Ng Ah Sio for Bak Kut Teh.