One of the biggest local favourites, it's hard to find a Singaporean that does not like bak kut teh. Thanks to that there has never been a shortage of bak kut teh stalls, with the bigger names like Ng Ah Sio and Songfa BKT having multiple outlets across the island.
Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha is one such stall. A big name in the local bak kut teh scene for decades, their original Havelock shop has expanded to include other locations like the Keppel outlet I've visited. Unlike the Havelock shop this branch along the fringes of our CBD boasts a larger seating capacity, sadly without conditioning. Still this does not seem to be deterring anybody.
Fried Dough Sticks ($3)
A bowl of what we locals affectionately call you tiao is placed on the table the moment I was seated, so do remember to tell the staff if you don't want it; or else it'd be automatically added to the final bill. Points for not being overly oily, which make them perfect for soaking up all that peppery soupy goodness.
Spare Ribs Soup ($8)
Ya Hua serves one of the more peppery soups around, with the spice hitting you almost immediately. Flavourful, steaming hot and spicy, it is an amazing bowl of soup to chuck down during a cold rainy day, or when a simple pick-me-up is needed. While I do prefer Songfa's soup which has more depth and complexity, Ya Hua isn't too bad an alternative.
Braised Peanuts ($3)
Braised Tau Pok ($3)
As important as the broth are the accompanying (usually) braised side dishes. Served with their lightly sweetened braising liquid, the braised dishes were cooked perfectly. The peanuts were soft without turning mushy, and the fried tofu puffs retained that bit of crunch while oozing out all that delicious liquid.
Salted Vegetables ($3)
Not overly salty, decent - nothing much to shout about. They offer a slightly bigger serving at the same price point compared to their bak kut teh competitors, but I do prefer Songfa's which has a bit more tang and a stronger garlic aroma.
They may not be my favourite, but with their history of consistently good soup and sides Ya Hua is definitely one of the best bak kut teh restaurants in Singapore. Most importantly they are opened till really late so us poor souls can satisfy our bkt cravings in the wee hours of the morning.
Outram Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha Restaurant
Tanjong Pagar PSA Complex
7 Keppel Road
Tuesdays to Sundays: 7am-3pm; 6pm-4am
Closed on Mondays