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Bak Kut Teh and Friends, What Could be Better?

A night out with travel friends…does it get any better than this?

Traveling brings people together, especially when it comes to food.  A few years ago, I was eating in my absolute number one favorite Turkish restaurant, Dibek in Cappadocia.  It’s a cozy place where customers take off their shoes and sit on the floor.

There are wooden banisters to separate the tables from each other, but the banisters do not hide the other customers or block their conversation so each time we’ve gone, we’ve struck up conversations with people from all over the world.  On this particular night we met three Singaporeans, Jaclyn, Chris, and Richard.  We talked and talked.

Bah Kut Teh Friend

We talked about Singapore and how much it had changed since the last time I was there, deciding Jim and I had to go back. We made a plan to meet up with our new-found friends.

Bah Kut Teh Friend

This we did!  Jackie and her boyfriend, Kim, took us on a walk around Clark Quay and out for dinner for Bak Kut Teh, which they said spoke to them as one of the more traditional foods of Singapore.  The restaurant they took us too was popular and crowded.  You can always tell a great restaurant by the line outside waiting to get in, and we waited for about 15 minutes.

Bah Kut Teh Friend

Like many restaurants and businesses in Singapore, we walked down a few steps into a long narrow room filled with small tables with bowls of steaming liquid.  The atmosphere was busy and the waitress came quickly to take our order.  The restaurant really only served Bak Kut Teh, but in many varieties.

Bak Kut Teh is basically a pork rib soup.  The words mean “meat bone tea” as in many Asian countries, you don’t “eat” soup, you “drink” it.  The small bowls of boiled pork, and greens, were put on the table, and the waitress came around with a large teapot to pour in the broth.

Subtle flavors of various Asian spices like  cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds and coriander hit you every once in a while. The meat was melt in your mouth tender and the broth was sublime. What else can I say?

Bah Kut The

We slurped our way through conversations about the ethnic history of Singapore, about the economic statuses of Malaysia and Singapore, about food, about family, …It was great conversation with wonderful people, and it certainly was the highlight of our return trip to the most cosmopolitan of Asian cities.

Bah Kut The

A great resource for Singaporean dishes can be found at the Your Singapore website:

What are some of your favorite meet up stories?  Where did you meet up?  Please tell us about it in the comments.

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

Suzanne Fluhr

Thursday 20th of March 2014

One of my favorite things about declaring myself a travel blogger and joining some on line travel blogging groups has been the opportunity to meet some of my virtual friends as we visit their home turf or they visit ours. Speaking of Singapore, I had a lovely lunch meeting with a young Singaporean travel blogger when we were there in January and 3 travel bloggers have arranged to meet with me here in Honolulu where we are for 3 months while my husband does a sabbatical here. I had meet ups with Kristin Henning and Tom Bartel (Travel Past 50) and with Larissa Milne when they were in Philly and with Dyanne Kruger and Nancie McKinnon in Chiang Mai, Thailand. My most audacious meet up was when I invited myself to stay overnight at the home of Montecristo in Ottawa, Canada. Montecristo is a 3.5 pound travel blogging long haired chihuahua. His people are nice too. Fortunately, they turned out not to be ax murderers.

Corinne Vail

Monday 24th of March 2014

Suzanne, It's true. Visiting with other travel bloggers is definitely one of the perks! Have fun!


Thursday 13th of March 2014

Oh wow, the food looks so delicious! :D

When I backpacked across Australia a few years back, I became friends with a lot of backpackers from different countries in it's been fun meeting up with them now that I'm living in Europe :)

Corinne Vail

Thursday 13th of March 2014

Michelle, It it fun! I think it's one fantastic benefit...meeting like people!