p Picks and Pecks: review: 宝香绑线肉骨茶 (bao xiang bak kut teh)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

review: 宝香绑线肉骨茶 (bao xiang bak kut teh)

Address: Lot 6.38, Level 6, Pavillion KL (No 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang), Kuala Lumpur
Phone: +603 2148 6388

A friend from Hong Kong sent me a message - "I'll be in KL tonight! Let's do dinner!". I thought, "Oh cripes - where do you take someone who lives in one of the best cities in the world for food!?" 

It is a great responsibility trying to be an adequate ambassador for your local food, no matter where you might be. Add to that, my friend was on a business trip so I did not want to go to the more "savory" (or is it unsavory?) places in KL, in case my friend did not make it to her meeting the next day! Fortunately, my friend was very obliging and asked for bak kut teh before I had to rack my brains.

We met up in Pavillion and went to Bao Xiang - this was only my second time at the restaurant. The menu had a wide variety of cuts to choose from, and was (luckily) illustrated for easy selections. However, there were also a lot of "prime" ingredients, designed to bump up the final bill, like sea cucumber. Since when is there sea cucumber in regular BKT?

I added another friend to the mix, since BKT is always better shared. Between the three of us, we ordered... well, you can count the number of bowls below. Quite a lot! 

Halfway through the recitation of "Ok I want the shank... add yau char kwai... add the pig stomach... don't forget the intestines", guilt suddenly hit us and we added a plate of veggies to the mix. You can see that it pales in comparison to the meat feast below.

The verdict? Meh. The soup was rather thin (I prefer the thick version of BKT), lacking that herbal oomph that usually comes with good BKT. And somehow eating it in elegant surroundings does not feel quite the same. Moreover, as the restaurant was not full, the air conditioning was pretty cold so the fat on the top of the soup started to coagulate - something the tiny tea lights below the bowls could not prevent. I really wonder if this sort of detail is necessary...

Also, quite a few cuts of meat were not available when we requested them. Perhaps the restaurant only makes one serving of BKT at the start of each day, which limits the supply, but I would prefer it if they concentrated on a few popular cuts rather than try to provide everything.

Overall, I would still drive to Klang for my BKT. The price and sub-par soup do not make this place worth it.

Address: Lot 6.38, Level 6, Pavillion KL (No 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang), Kuala Lumpur

Phone: +603 2148 6388