Bak Kut Teh (Spiced Pork Rib Soup)

Plated sesame spinach noodles, topped with ground soy sauce chicken and garnished with greens
Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Bak Kut Teh is a popular soup served in Malaysia and Singapore. The name Bak Kut Teh is from the Hokkien Chinese dialect and literally translates to "meat bone tea." It is a herbal soup with pork ribs simmered for hours with medicinal herbs such as Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica), star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, and coriander for energy boosting properties. The Malaysian version is darker as it uses dark soy sauce and the Singaporean version is lighter in color and tastes more peppery.

For convenience, the Bak Kut Teh spice packet can be purchased on or at your local Asian grocery store. Simmer the bak kut teh spice pouch with water, lots of garlic, soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Usually, this soup is made with pork ribs hence, the name pork rib soup. This time, I decided to add thin sliced pork butt that is used in hotpot to make this soup super quick as pork ribs take much longer to cook. It is also served with a savory crunchy fried doughnut to dunk into the soup and iceberg lettuce with oyster sauce and shallot oil to toss. Finally, thin sliced chilis, garlic, soy sauce, and dark soy sauce is served as a dip for the meats with steamed rice.


  • 1 lb of thin sliced pork butt
  • 1 packet bak kut teh spice
  • 1 packet of enoki mushrooms, stems removed and washed
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 10 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Shallot oil
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
For Serving
  • Cooked rice (optional)
  • Chinese donut (optional)
  • Dipping sauce (sliced chili, minced garlic, soy sauce, dark soy sauce)


In a large pot, boil 10 cups of water. When it boils, add the bak kut teh spice packet, 10 cloves of garlic, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce.
Let it simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat.
Add thin sliced hot pot meat and simmer until cooked (about 5 minutes) and finally add the enoki mushrooms.

Cut the core of the iceberg lettuce and shred into smaller pieces.
Blanch the lettuce in boiling water for 1-2 minutes.
Take the lettuce out and place in a shallow plate or bowl.
Toss with 1 tbsp oyster sauce and shallot oil.

  • The Bak Kut Teh spice can be bought on or local Asian grocery store. I usually buy the brand "A1."
  • The fried donut is also usually available at the local Asian grocery store in the frozen section.