MELBOURNE | One of my favourite Malaysian soups is Bak Kut Teh (“BKT”). It’s a Hokkien dish popular not just in Malaysia, but in Singapore, Indonesia’s Riau Islands, and Southern Thailand.
The name literally translates as “meat bone tea”, and it’s a very apt name. While no tea is actually used (the “tea” in the name comes from the oolong tea that’s traditionally served with BKT), the complex broth of herbs and spices used is very aromatic and has certain tea-like qualities. Combined an assortment of slow cooked pork cuts and mushrooms, it’s a brilliant dish. The most recent version I tried was from Lapar.
Ernest Leow is a Malaysian born chef who is skilled at cooking a variety of cuisines. He’s worked at some of Melbourne’s top cafes and restaurants (Aunty Franklee, White Mojo, Long Grain, Il Bacaro, and Albert Park Hotel to name a few) and, like many in the industry, has a lot of free time due to Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdown.
He started Lapar as a side hustle that he plans to keep going while he’s waiting for normality to return. Through Lapar, Ernest wants to connect Melburnians with the flavours that he likes. This can be through his brilliant BKT, which harkens back to his homeland, or his tasty wagyu kimbap (essentially the Korean version of sushi), which he just loves.
With five more weeks of lockdown do go (fingers crossed there’s no more), and the winter weather well and truly settling in, it’s the perfect time to try some of Ernest’s BKT. Head over to the Lapar Instagram and flick through a DM to order. Delivery is out of Melbourne’s CBD to a wide radius of suburbs.
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