Restoran Ban Lee Bak Kut Teh (萬利肉骨茶) does not have the most impressive shopfront. But over the few days in Kuala Lumpur, we have sort of gotten used to the fact that the best eats in town are often not from the swanky looking restaurants. This traditional restaurant operates from early mornings till late nights, dishing out claypots after claypots of delicious hot simmering pork rib broth round the clock.
Although Ban Lee is famed for being one of the few restaurants in Kuala Lumpur that still insist on preparing their Bah Kut Teh over charcoal fire, it seems that they have finally decided to ditch old traditions and adopt the modern gas fire. With no prior food tasting during the days of charcoal fires, we would not be able to tell how much the shift has affected the flavour of their broth.
We took a table closer to the entrance of restaurant as it is more cooling. The restaurant interior was pathetically bare and the only decoration was this red plaque which was probably received ages ago.
Sauces and other popular condiments were made conveniently available for diners.
It did not take long before our steaming hot pot of Bak Kut Teh was delivered to our table! Unlike our Bah Kut Teh in Singapore, the Malaysian version was served generously covered in crispy fried beancurd skin.
The broth commanded dark tone and a rather strong herbal flavour. To be honest, it tasted more like Chinese herbal soup than Bah Kut Teh. The pork is tender after long hours of cooking and slide off the ribs cleanly. I love the addition of golden needle mushroom as one of the soup ingredient.
Ban Lee Bah Kut Teh was totally off my Bah Kut Teh stereotypes. The broth deviated way too much from the Bah Kut Teh versions I have tasted in Singapore and Johor Bahru. I personally feel that the herbal soup base together with the pork ribs was just alright but some of my friends really loved the fried beancurd skin. If you are interested to check out the restaurant, here are the full information:
Restoran Ban Lee
Address: 222, Jalan Ipoh Batu 2, 52100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Next to Dynasty Hotel)
Tel No: +603-4045 3009 / +6012-203 6865
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