The famous Song Fah Bak Kuh Teh chain of Singapore has expanded their presence internationally, with store fronts opening-up on the bottom floors of Shanghai’s high-end shopping malls. Needless to say, the experience of dining at these mall-based chains are far from the experience of dining at the original chains in the Singapore street-side. They do try and make an effort though, by lining up the restaurant walls with a drawing of the original street-side restaurant, as well as descriptions of how the bak kuh teh (pork ribbed broth) is made (brewing in a mix of spices for 8 or 9 hours apparently). Authenticity aside, let’s talk about the food.
You can’t come in here and not order their signature bak kuh teh, and luckily, the place offers free refills of broth once you’re down slurping in your fill. Other than that, there’s also a selection of porridge, broth, and noodle dishes, along with some side dishes that would go well with the main course. Thus, I ordered the bak kuh teh along with a plate of marinated tofu. What erks me a bit about this chain in Shanghai though, is that they charge an additional 10rmb for a small plate of tough fritter (though not much, is still overpriced for what it’s worth), which is usually offered for free at the chains in Singapore to go along with the broth.
I have no complaints about the tastes of the broth, as they probably use the same ingredients as the ones in Singapore, but it’s the display and artificial atmosphere of the store that I do not like. I guess once you’ve had the original, you can’t compare replicas of it against it.
This place is definitely on the affordable end of the restaurants you find in these high-end malls and service is top-notch.
SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.