Archive for the ‘Tea Foods’ Category

So the Emperor wrote this post about pork rib tea, surprisingly I found myself being mentioned in that post too! As mentioned in his post:

pork rib tea is just pork rib soup served along with a cup of tea and cup of rice and just to make sure there is no tea in the soup.

Then he mentioned that I, the Empress, have been drinking pork rib tea. Well, that’s not true.

Before clarifying the matter, you might want to know first, if pork rib tea is not tea but soup, what’s in it?

Pork rib tea – a delicious dish from South-Eastern Asia

Pork rib tea is a very famous and delicious dish from South-Eastern Asia. It is also called bak kut teh locally, which literally means “meat bone tea”, pronounced in the dialect of Fujien province in China. Pork rib contains both meat and bones, thus offering both nutrition and calcium for human body, especially after it is simmered for long time with Chinese herbs and spices. It is usually served with rice or with noodles.

There are different versions of bak kut teh as mentioned in Wikipedia:

In Singapore, there are three types of bak kut teh. The most common variant is the Teochew style, which is light in color but uses more pepper in the soup. The Hoklo (Hokkien), who prefer saltier food, use more soy sauce, which results in a darker soup. The Cantonese, with a soup-drinking culture, add medicinal herbs to create a stronger flavoured soup.

Here you can see slideshow of pork rib tea from Flickr:

Just as Emperor said, I do make every now and then pork rib soup served with a cup of rice and a cup of tea, but the “pork rib soup” I make is far from the “pork rib tea” discussed in this post. While the taste of pork rib tea is in my opinion relatively greasy and strong (thus the need for a cup of tea for a balance), my pork rib soup is usually very light without needing to balance the taste with a cup of tea. Below is my pork rib corn soup, NOT the same as pork rib tea you see in slideshow.

The ingredients of the pork rib tea are pork spare ribs, white peppercorns, garlic, mushrooms, coriander leaves, dried liquorice root, red chili dark soya and light soya, while the ingredients of my pork rib soup are pork spare ribs, sweet corns, carrots and salt, sometimes I add apples as well. One can find bak kut teh in Taiwan without much difficulties, but it is still more prevalent in South Eastern Asian countries.

As you see, although both recipes are some kind of “pork rib soup”, one is bit saltier with distinctive strong taste, while the other one is lighter with somehow sweet flavour thanks to the sweet corn. Chinese are good in achieving balance in our diet and in different dishes, and a soup with almost the same name in English can be completely different dishes.

However, I can’t blame that the Emperor mixed up these two different dishes, after all, he might have not tried the famous “pork rib tea” which is part of the Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines. He does end up drinking often my home-made “pork rib soup with sweet corns” which is a common dish in Taiwan.

Interestingly, despite of being two different dishes, both are said to be good for human health. You see, we Chinese often approach dishes and their ingredients from the health aspect. The purpose of mixing various ingredients in different versions is to achieve balances both in taste, colour and health benefits. Cuisine is truly an art form in Chinese culture.

How to write pork rib tea, bak kut teh, in Chinese:

Finally, you might want to know how to write bak kut teh in Chinese to order it in Chinese world. While you might see bak kut teh written in menu in some South Eastern Asian countries, in Taiwan we don’t use bak kut teh as a dish name at all, instead we write it in Chinese characters.

In Chinese, meat as a character consists of pieces of dry meat wrapped in a bundle. it is written like this, pronounced as “Rou”:

Meat character above also evolved into a character part like this:

So many characters with the supplement part on the side or within, have something to do with “flesh” and “meat”.

Bone is written like this, pronounced as “Gu”:

It combines the part of bone,

and the part of flesh:

Because the bone forms the framework of human body and closely connected with flesh, so from bone as a character you actually see both bone and flesh.

As have introduced in this post, tea in Chinese is written as: (pronounced as Cha)

So pork rib tea = bak kut teh = (literally: meat bone tea) Pronounced as Rou Gu Cha.

Now you know perfectly how to order it no matter where you visit, enjoy!

Dec 30

Pork rib tea

I can be slightly experimental with my tea tasting, but I get nowhere near the level of the Empress or what would you say about drinking pork rib tea? I’d put it to the same category as liver tea or kidney tea both of which get a baffled expression on my face. How about you, would you like to take a sip of pork rib tea?


Well, let me tell you more about pork rib tea. It is not as bad as it sounds. In fact the pork rib tea is just pork rib soup served along with a cup of tea and cup of rice and just to make sure there is no tea in the soup. Chinese culture really knows how to balance the food and you can read more about the pork rib tea over here.

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