Song Fa Bak Kut Teh

Breakfast, because I am a late riser, is a bit of a novelty for me. Had the night before not been so singularly debaucherous, had I not woken up in a friend’s room and schlepped the way back to my own to change into fresh clothes, I would not have stopped at Song Fa at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

In Korea, tradition prescribes eating ginseng chicken soup on the hottest day of the year to replenish nutrients lost to perspiration and heat. Bak kut teh contains neither ginseng nor chicken—but on that day the sun was merciless, and I was dehydrated and in the nascent stages of a cold, and, honestly, anything soupy and herbal and vaguely nutrient-replenishing would do just fine.

They sat me at an outside table that sidled up next to the street where pedestrians passed by on the starts of their days. I ate numbly, expectantly, waiting for the soup to radiate energy through my body. A queue formed beside my table. Its constituents, I’m sure, were impatient for me to vacate my seat. I did not care. I had a headache. I was getting sick. One does not rush the healing process.


A classic of Singaporean cuisine, bak kut teh—pork ribs stewed in a peppery broth made unctuous with dissolved fat—is the star attraction at this well-known chain of restaurants. Enjoy it with rice, braised meats, and a side plate of vegetables. Song Fa Bak Kut Teh’s Clarke Quay location is the most frequented, but several other outlets, including one just a short walk away in Chinatown Point, are available should you want to avoid the crowd.

11 New Bridge Road, #01-01, Singapore
Tue-Sun: 09:00-21:15
6533 6128
Around 12 SGD per person

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