Founder Bak Kut Teh 发起人肉骨茶 at Hotel Boss - Review [Media Invite]

When it comes to Bak Kut Teh, or pork ribs soup in Singapore, the accolade of 'the best' has been one that is fiercely debated. The common consensus for the most part, is on the available styles of bak kut teh. The 2 main styles are the peppery broth, typical of Singapore, cooked from a mix of spices, whereas in Malaysia, the dish has a darker broth that is more herbal in taste than peppery, owing to the addition of herbs. 

In Singapore, the scene is dominated by a few big names for go-tos, though of course there are the standalone stalls who serve their version. Founder Bak Kut Teh, is one of the names that come to mind for a local name's version. They have 3 outlets, in addition to the original outlet's. 

For the record, this isn't managed by the Founder and family directly, as they are focused on the flagship in Balestier. The 3 outlets are set up by a food entrepreneur who is determined to preserve local flavours. The taste, we are assured, is very similar, if not completely identical, as the entrepreneur was taken through by the Founder on how they cooked it at the flagship. 

Salted Vegetables ($4.80/5.80)
A common accompaniment to pork ribs soup, the version here is not overpoweringly salty and has a slight sweetness. This is as the salted vegetables come from Thailand, we are told, where the salted vegetables produced are sweet. 

Premium Pork Ribs soup ($11.80)

There are 3 choices of pork ribs, with the recommended one at a price at a premium price of $11.80. Pricey you'd think, especially when you can easily get a bowl of bak kut teh at under $5 from hawker centres. Rather than pick the usual ribs, this would be one of those things where the quality is justified by the cost. The premium bowl has two pieces of long ribs that yield easily when you take hold of the bone end and bite. 
The meat retains the chewiness and sweetness. Dip the meat into the thick, mellow, sweet dark soy sauce with a spoonful of rice. Then wash it down with a spoon of the hot broth, which is refillable. The soup here is sweet with some depth; the pepper that hits after is not overpowering. 

Pacific Clams ($15.80)

The soup base is different from the pork ribs soup's. It is a brown broth with a slight seafood sweetness to it. Decent, but not a must. 

Steamed Cod Fish ($18.80)

I dismissed this initially, because I didn't think that fish at a place focused on bak kut teh would be of mention. Surprisingly, the fish was very fresh and this became our favourite dish apart from the bak kut teh. The price may seem a little steep, but take into account this is codfish and the portion is good for 4 to share with other dishes.

Ngoh Hiang 

Apparently, this is made by hand using their own recipe. Each golden piece is slightly crispy on the outside, while the meat filling inside is flavourful. Not bad. 

Other items we tried included the steamed minced meat ($6.80), tang o (garland chrysanthemum vegetable) soup ($6.80), and of course you tiao (dough fritters - which we'd like better if more crispy - $2.50), which one can consider as side choices. 

Founder's Bak Kut Teh Menu
Overall, it makes for a great warm, casual and tasty meal. Not sure exactly where it stands among the names, but I honestly wouldn't mind returning for this. The best part? They are open for supper daily till the wee hours and start early from 11am. 

A fascinating tale and kudos to the people who strive to preserve, ensure the continuation and make local heritage flavours more accessible to everyone.

Many thanks to Founder Bak Kut Teh for the invited tasting. 

Founder Bak Kut Teh
500 Jalan Sultan, Hotel Boss,#01-09, Hotel Boss, 199020
Open daily from 11am-5am