I've never been that huge a fan of bak kut teh (pork ribs soup). Mostly because I'm always still hungry after the meal. I also don't like most of the side dishes that are usually served at such bak kut teh joints, such as garland chrysanthemum (tung oh), salted vegetables, pig's trotters, or pig innards. But, every once a while, I will feel like having some of the clear peppery soup, especially on a cold rainy day.
The BF has been patronising this stall since he was a little boy, so he brought me there to eat. The restaurant has undergone a minor facelift, so ventilation is much better and it looks less ramshackle. Please note that the coffeeshop is completely non-air conditioned, so it's probably advisable to eat there on a cooler day instead. Otherwise, be prepared to sweat it out.
We got the Spare Ribs Soup ($7.80), which was quite disappointing. I usually measure the tenderness of a spare rib by testing how easy it is to use a pair of chopsticks to pry the meat from the bone. The spare rib was not tender enough to warrant its $3.90 price-tag. I eventually had to use my fingers to tear the meat apart. The soup was alright though, rich with the flavour of pork bones without the overwhelming taste of pepper.
We got a side of Fried You Tiao ($2) to go with the soup, and this was served cold and limp. I would have preferred it crisp and fresh out of the fryer.
The cryptically-named Braised Winter Mushrooms ($5) intrigued me, so I ordered a portion. It turned out to be just shitake mushrooms in a watery soy-based sauce. This was fairly okay but a tad oily.
A special mention must be given to the manager's warm and attentive service (a bit ironic, as this was also the place that refused to accede to a request by then Chief Executive of Hongkong, Donald Tsang, to stay open past their opening hours for him to try their bak kut teh). He noticed the BF and I standing around after our meal (we were waiting for our change but we didn't want to sit any longer because we were both sweating through our underwear) and immediately came over to ask if he could help. He was such a warm and jolly fellow that we left with a much better impression than the one left by the food.
Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh
208 Rangoon Road
Tel: 6291 4537
Open everyday except on Mondays from 7am to 3pm daily