A lot of people cook their meat tied in strings. It is mainly done for roasts. I have not heard of anybody boiling their meat this manner. Except a Bak Kut Teh chain of restaurants. We chanced upon this place in Glenmarie, Shah Alam. We have been frequenting this area for food recently. The area hosts many makan outlets - coffee shops, noodle houses, famous Meng Kee char siew from Jalan Alor, and many more. We had tried a noodle shop there and quite liked the place. On a Sunday morning, we decided to revisit it. But the place was closed. So we kicked in plan B, and walked next door into the Pao Xiang (宝香) Bak Kut Teh Restautrant.
The restaurant is located on Jalan Jurureka U1/40, Section U1 in Glenmarie, Shah Alam (N03* 04.874' E101* 34.936'). It is off the Glenmarie main road, Persiaran Kerjaya; on the left hand side if you drive from the Subang Airport road towards Batu Tiga and the Shah Alam stadium. But if you cannot find this place, no worries. For there are nearly 20 Pao Xiang outlets in the Klang Valley, Penang and even Singapore. Visit their website to find one nearest to you.
The place in Glenmarie was tastefully set up - with a contemporary Chinese aura. A very friendly man took our orders. And as we considered the various choices of meat for our breakfast, he went on to explain why they tie the meat with strings. Apparently, tying the meat prevents the inner sections of the meat from "dissolving" into the soup and that in turn retains its flavor and makes it firmer in texture. I am no expert in string-tie cooking. I guess it is plausible.
They serve 2 types of BKT - Klang style and Teochew style. The Klang style is in thick dark gravy while the Teochew is in light clear soup. The BKT were very nicely presented. They came in nice porcelain bowls on a matching porcelain stand that housed a small wax flame. This kept the BKT nice and hot.
Our first bowl was the lean meat. It was Klang style. The meat was not extraordinary in spite of the strings and what not. I did not detect any enhanced flavor nor the texture any better. But the gravy was very good. It was almost like the BKT we had under the Klang bridge. I think they come quite close to the "original". As we tucked in, it certainly reminded me of the bridge experience.
The same was true of the knuckles. This bowl had a lot more fat in it. It was in the same Klang style gravy. Again the meat was good but not extraordinary. I enjoyed the soup more.
This was a bowl of pork ligaments. I like the texture. I don't think they could tie these ligaments.
We didn't like the straw mushrooms. They tasted kind of stale. I didn't think they were entirely fresh.
Four bowls seemed like a lot for 3 people. But we didn't have enough. It wasn't that we were very hungry. The bowls were just very shallow. There was not very much BKT in each. We decided to add on another bowl. We opted for the Teochew style. It was a much bigger bowl of mixed stuffs. In it was ribs, meat, tofu and button mushrooms. The Teochew was much lighter that the Klang. The taste wasn't bad at all. I enjoyed it. But I preferred the Klang style.
The thing I like best in Pao Xiang was their yew char kueh (油炸鬼). For BKT, yew char kueh is a must. Pao Xiang make their own YCK. The YCKs were short and stubby. And they were freshly fried when served. They were crispy yet soft inside. Truly great stuff. We had 2 servings of it.
Finally, we had this plate of choy sum (菜心) to accompany all the meats.
The Pao Xiang is worth a visit wherever you are. But be prepared to dig into your pocket a little. For they are not cheap. Like I mentioned, the bowls are small. You may have to order a few more. And they are pricey. Our damage that morning was nearly a hundred bucks. My wife was somewhat amused when I paid the bill. It was the first time she saw me use my credit card for a breakfast.