Recipe: Bak Kut Teh Hot Pot

by gigi on March 4, 2011

I saw on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that Ben from Chowtimes was planning a hot pot experiment using bak kut teh as the soup base. Jenkins introduced me to bak kut teh quite a while ago so I was really intrigued by Ben’s proposed experiment. After a bit of banter back and forth, we decided to do a joint post so we could report on our results. Click here to check out Ben’s post on bak kut teh hot pot.

For those of you who may not know, bak kut teh translates loosely to sparerib tea and is a Malaysian specialty. Pork ribs (and other cuts of meat and pork parts) are simmered in a broth flavoured with a variety of spices. The spices usually come in a packet (i.e. tea bag) and varies according to region and the store making the spice blend. It is a really simple dish but also very flavourful and tasty to eat.

bak kut teh hot pot

To prepare the broth, I used a packet of bak kut teh spices that my mother-in-law brought back from her last trip to Malaysia. I followed the instructions on the back but instead of spareribs, I used pork neck bones that I bought from T&T.

bak kut teh hot pot

After simmering the soup for about an hour, I strained and transferred the contents to a shallower pot for the hot pot. I invited my parents and grandparents over because hot pot is always more fun in a larger group. :) Everyone was really impressed with the great flavour from the bak kut teh broth. It was not overly heavy and really flavoured more bland things such as the chicken breast, tofu, and noodles really well. The broth was really easy to make beforehand and you knew exactly what went into it. :) I’d definitely do this again! Thanks Ben and Nanzaro for the great idea…what are we going to do next? :)

bak kut teh hot pot

To compare with what Ben from Chowtimes did with his bak kut teh hot pot, check out his post. He definitely had more variety in his ingredients than I did! :)

Ingredients for the broth:

  • 1 bak kut teh spice packet (we bought ours in Malaysia but my grandpa told me that you can go to any Chinese medicine store and ask them to custom make a packet for you)
  • 2L water
  • 1 whole garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy
  • 3 lbs pork neck bones

Ingredients for hot pot:

  • anything you want! :)
  • in our case, we had a variety of items including veggies, thinly sliced pork & chicken, mushrooms, squid and cuttlefish balls, udon noodles, vermicelli, and tofu puffs


  1. Follow the instructions on the bak kut teh spice packet. In my case, I added the garlic, soy, and pork bones to a large stock pot with water
  2. Bring the contents to a boil and simmer on medium-low heat for about 1 hour
  3. Turn the heat off and scoop out the bones and garlic. You can save the bones for eating later if you’d like. The garlic will also be very soft and goes great with rice.
  4. Strain the broth and pour into the pot you want to use for hot pot
  5. Bring the contents to a boil and start adding your hot pot ingredients!
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Nanzaro-Inspired Bah Kut Teh Hot Pot in Chez Suanne |
October 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm

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