Malaysia – Bak Kut Teh

by Fauzan Anandika

For thousands of years, pork becomes one of human food. Pork can be cook in many kinds of ways, grilled, fried, soup, or smoked, choose how you like it. Pork also has some good nutrition compare to other meat. Pork contains less myoglobin than beef but higher than chicken. USDA treats port as red meat, and it contains high thiamin. Pork meat without fat still has higher cholesterol and saturated fat than other livestock meat.

Malaysia, home to 31 million people, create different cultures, tribes, and tradition. Assimilation happens between cultures and creates a new one. It also affects the cooking technique and ingredients. Pork dishes start to appear from the Chinese immigrant worker. They have a food shop that sells pork dishes. These food shops sell pork meatball, pork meat floss, pork meat bun, and the most favorite pork soup Bak Kut Teh.

Bak Kut Teh is a bony meat pork soup, usually use pork ribs for its ingredient. Cook with various spices like cinnamon, pepper, clove, and some other Chinese spice. According to local history, eating Bak Kut Teh was founded at the beginning of the 20th century. Eat by the port laborer, and they use bone part meat to make the price affordable for the laborer. There are three versions in Bak Kut Teh, Teochew, Hokkian, and Khonghu. The Teochew version uses clearer soup with more pepper, the Hokkian version use more salty soy sauce, and the Khonghu version has darker soup since it uses more spices. Bak Kut Teh eats with a side of Cakwe (fried dough food) and warm rice. 

Now Bak Kut Teh becomes one of the Malaysian iconic traditional dishes, tourists who visit must taste it before they leave. Making Bah Kut Teh needs some effort, especially to find some spice that only grows in Southeast Asia. Even you can substitute some of the ingredients, but it won’t taste the same. But don’t feel upset, you can eat the original one if visiting Malaysia. So let’s cook it with what we have on hand.

Rough spice Ingredient

  • 1 stick cinnamon 2 cm
  • 3 clove
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper seed
  • 2 Chinese fennel
  • Put all the spice in a spice bag


  • 2 clove garlic, don’t mince or sliced it
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon salty soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 500-gram pork ribs
  • 100-gram mustard greens
  • Celery for topping

Cakwe Ingredient

  • 2 teaspoon yeast
  • 200 ml of water
  • 250-gram medium protein flour
  • 50-gram low protein flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic blend smooth
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 300 ml Cooking oil

How to cook Cakwe

  1. Mix yeast with water, wait until 10 minutes.
  2. Mix all ingredients.
  3. Pour the yeast water into the mixture.
  4. Mix until smooth, cover it with a clean sheet, and wait for 15 minutes.
  5. Knead it and make into a big ball shape, cover it again for 6 minutes.
  6. Pour table with flour, flatten the dough until ½ cm thickness and cut it into 2 x 10 cm size.
  7. Pick the dough, pour a little bit of flour and stack it with one more dough.
  8. Press the middle part with a chopstick and pull until the stretch.
  9. Cook it until turning brown.
  10. Remove it into the serving plate.

How to cook Bak Kut Teh

  1. Prepare a medium cooking pot, boil the water.
  2. Put all the spice bag into boiling water.
  3. Put pork ribs and all the spice, cook until the meat tender.
  4. Adjust the taste with salt.
  5. Put in a medium bowl.
  6. Bak Kut Teh ready to eat.
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