It has been a while since I last visted Joo Chiat and I was glad that I was back to this lovely enclave of cultural heritage as well as many eateries and restaurants in the area. Walking down the rows of shop houses along Joo Chiat Road, I noticed a couple of new establishments in the area. One such new kid on the block is Wang Jia Shan Jiao Bak Kut Teh (皇家山脚肉骨茶).
Pork Ribs 3.8/5
The Bak Kut Teh here is the Teochew version in which the soup base is clear and peppery. The Pork Ribs ($5.50) came in a bowl of 4. The pork ribs was nicely cooked to a nice tender that fell off the bone with ease. While I could taste the garlic in the clear soup base, I thought it was lacking in the peppery aroma of a typical Teochew bak kut teh. You Tiao ($1) is also available for those that likes to dunk it into the hot piping soup.
Prime Ribs 3.5/5
For those that prefer the better quality cut, the Prime Ribs ($8.50) comes in a pair. Like the previous bowl of pork ribs, the soup was lacking the peppery aroma. The restaurant explained that they have toned down the pepper level after receiving feedback to cater to the majority of the diners. While it is good to listen to feedback but I thought it lost the character of a typical bowl of Teochew bak kut teh. After tasting the 2 bowls of bak kut teh, my preference went to the pork ribs. I felt that the prime ribs was a bit tough and dry compared to the pork ribs.
With all the meat on the table, the plate of greens was definitely a welcome sight to add some balance to the diet.
Pig Trotter 4.2/5
It is quite common to have Pig Trotter ($5.50) selling along side the bak kut teh in most stalls. The pig trotter was slow braised beautifully absorbing all the marinade. The best part is the collagen loaded skin that basically melted in the mouth.
Pork Belly 4/5
The next 2 dishes are a bit interesting which are not commonly served in a bak kut teh restaurant but rather at Teochew porridge restaurant. Nevertheless, I am sure patrons do not mind the varieties available on the menu, the more the better.
The Pork Belly ($5) was once again nicely braised and packed with all the lovely flavours. I could not help comparing the dishes like a game of chess. The black (braised meat) won my palate over the white (bak kut teh) during my visit.
Steamed Fsh 4/5
Steamed with just salted vegetable and slices of chilli, the Teochew style Steamed Fish ($12-$18 each) was fresh, light and moist.
Competition can be tough for Wang Jia Shan Jiao Bak Kut Teh as there are another 2 Bak Kut Teh restaurants in the area. Offering a different Teochew style version and opening until the wee hours at 2am, it gives foodies more choices as well as putting their palate to the test. Who will be the best Bak Kut Teh in Joo Chiat? Only time will tell.
Wang Jia Shan Jiao Bak Kut Teh
169 Joo Chiat Road
Tel: +65 63488158
Nearest MRT: Paya Lebar (EW Line, CC Line), Dakota (CC Line)
Tue-Sun: 10am - 2am
(Closed on Mon)
1) Alight at Paya Lebar MRT station. Head south towards Geylang Serai Malay Village. Cross Geylang/Changi Road and continue onto Joo Chiat Road. Turn left into Joo Chiat Place. Journey time about 20 minutes. [Map]
2) Alight at Dakota MRT station. Walk to Bus Stop at Blk 99 (Stop ID 81181). Take Bus 33 towards Bedok Bus Interchange. Alight 5 stops later at. Cut across the car park and walk to destination. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]