When the children of the founders of Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha 欧南园亚华肉骨茶 wanted to set up a shop on their own, they were not allowed to use the original brandname.
In a bold move, owner Mr Gwee Song How wanted his children to learn more about entrepreneur and hardship from ground zero, Thus, this new Bak Kut Teh shop at Tiong Bahru Kim Tian Road is called “Tuan Yuan Pork Ribs Soup 团缘肉骨茶” instead, which symbolizes reunion and togetherness.
Tuan Yuan Bak Kut Teh occupies a space previously occupied by a kopitiam, which cost the family $4.75 million and another $500k in renovation and equipment. The shop is briskly occupied by many families on a weekday’s night visit.
It is BKT looking a lot more modern – you can take orders on an app before arrival, orders are done electronically, the eatery is fully air-conditioned, service crew in uniforms.
The vibe given was also friendly and lively, with the staff coming repeatedly to every table to ask if they need more stock.
Menu includes the Tuan Yuan Pork Ribs Soup ($8), Spare Rib Soup ($10), Premium Spare Rib Soup ($20), Sliced Tenderloin Soup ($8), Pork Ball Soup ($8), and Fresh Sliced Garoupa Fish Soup ($12).
Even though Tuan Yuan is related to Ya Hua, the Bak Kut Teh tasted like there were differences – the stock is ‘cleaner’, not as peppery and salty, and I was more willing to have my seconds and thirds.
Also, this is one of the few times when we were served You Tiao (doughsticks) both crispy and fluffy. Fresh-tasting, unlike what some BKT eateries may offer in reality.
While the pork ribs were still tender (I requested for a more fatty version), I thought that the portion could be larger.
Perhaps they wanted us to create some space for its side dishes – Braised Dried Beancurd ($2), Braised Fried Beancurd ($2/$4), Braised Tau Kee ($2/$4) and Braised Peanuts ($2/$4). Note: slightly to the salty side.
There are ambitious plans for Tuan Yuan Pork Ribs to go further, to make it the one-stop shop for a Bak Kut Teh outing. I think it has the potential.
Tuan Yuan Pork Ribs Soup 团缘肉骨茶
Block 127 Kim Tian Road #01-01 S(160127), Singapore 160127
(Tiong Bahru’s MRT station, Exit B, take the escalator up & take Bus 121 from Tiong Bahru’s Plaza bus stop. Alight at the next bus stop)
Tel: +65 6684 0123
Opening Hours: 8am – 3am (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon