Food has this magical power of bringing people together and through this food blogging I have met a lot of new friends who shared the same interests. Recently I have learnt that food can also change a person. During one of the makan sessions, the foodie friends brought me to Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh at Simpang Bedok which opened in April 2013. I was introduced to a ex-criminal turned entrepreneur, Mr Jabez Tan who is the main chef/owner of Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh. It was through the love of food he has found a new aim in life and in a good cause he is also giving ex-offenders a second chance in life.
You can read about Jabez's inspiration story at the restaurant on how he turns over a new leaf and worked from ground zero washing dishes all the way up in the prison kitchen. Sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment, he found a new lease of life in God. Coming up with his own Bak Kut Teh recipe, he started his F&B business in 2011 and employs mainly ex-convicts to work at the restaurant giving them a second chance in life. The current restaurant at Simpang Bedok is his own venture after parting ways with his previous business partners.
Bak Kut Teh 4.2/5
I have not tried the Bak Kut Teh in the previous food establishment but accordingly to my fellow foodie friends, it was quite bad then. However just like giving ex-offenders a second chance, he tried the Bak Kut Teh ($5.90/$11.90/$22.90) again after 2 years. This time the recipe has been fine tuned and improved. Soon Huat uses Argentine pork for the Bak Kut Teh. The pork ribs was nicely cooked until it fell off the bone with ease. The soup is a in between of the peppery and herbal versions, in a way creating his own style. Judging from the crowd when I was there 2 times, the soup is well received by the customers.
Braised Trotter 3.8/5
Whenever I have Bak Kut Teh, I will usually ordered Braised Trotter to go along with my bowl of rice. The Braised Trotter ($6.90) here was nicely braised with the meat absorbing all the lovely flavours. The meat was still a tad tough to my liking but my second visit was much better.
Braised Tau Kee 4.5/5
Jabez shared with us that the Braised Tau Kee ($3.90) was not originally in the menu. A customer has requested for the dish and he was very apologetic that they did not serve it at the restaurant. With an open mind and listening to customer feedback, he experimented and introduced this delectable braised Tau Kee dish into the menu. Now the sheets of crispy beancurd skin have become one of their popular dishes.
Dried Bak Kut Teh 4.5/5
The signature item at Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh has to be there Dried Bak Kut Teh ($6.90). Using the same soup from the Bak Kut Teh, it was reduced in a concoction of soy sauce and oyster sauce coating the pork ribs with its sweetness with the dried chilli giving it a nice kick in spiciness. The whole enjoyment is rounded off with the aromatic topping of the fried cuttlefish. This is a must try.
Just a note not to be confused with another Bak Kut Teh chain with a similar name with the character Xin in front. Jabez's new Bak Kut Teh restaurant, Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh (順發肉骨茶) is located at Simpang Bedok.
Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh (順發肉骨茶)
Bedok Shopping Complex (Simpang Bedok)
302 Bedok Road
Tel: +65 62733338
Nearest MRT: Tanah Merah (EW Line)
Daily: 11am - 930pm
1) Alight at Tanah Merah MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk to bus stop at Tanah Merah MRT station (Stop ID 85091). Take bus number 2 or 9. Alight 2 stops later. Cross the road at the traffic light and turn right. Walk towards the end of the shop houses or Jalan Chempaka Kuning and turn left. Walk all the way in to the back row of shop houses to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]