Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh (佑记肉骨茶)

Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh
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Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh (佑记肉骨茶) is the most crowded restaurant in Gaya Street of Kota Kinabalu city after office hours, and throngs of local and tourists come to try their famous Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶 in Chinese), which is pork and organs simmered for hours in soup of herbs and spices (such as star anise, cinnamon, cloves, dang gui and garlic).

Yu Kee Bah Kuh Tea
The broth has nice aroma of traditional herb and the soup is thick and rich in meat sweetness. Once it enters your mouth, your body will send you a rewarding signal to tell you that it’s nutritious stuff.

Bah Kut Teh (佑记茶室)

Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶) literally means “meat bone tea” in Hokkien. It is introduced to Malaysia by Chinese labors and coolies of Hokkien origin in 19th century. As they are too poor to afford expensive herb such as ginseng, they cook the pork with herb and eat it as a supplement to boost their vitality.

Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh
If you eat alone, you can order the standard set meal, which costs about MYR15.00 (about USD4.50) and includes a bowl of Bak Kut Teh, white rice, soup, a teapot of Chinese tea and a few pieces of beancurd puffs (see photo above).

price list of Bak Kut Teh item
Pic: price list of Bak Kut Teh items (as of April 2015, 6% GST tax included).

Or if you eat with a few friends, you can order a few bowls of different items (see photo above) such as meat balls, kidney and liver and share the food together. The items and their prices per bowl are shown in the photo above (Note: RM is Ringgit, Malaysian currency). To balance your diet, you can order blanched lettuce with oyster sauce too, which is not listed. The prices are subjected change in future (prices listed here are updated on 8 Apr 2015).

meat balls
Pic: meat balls

blanched lettuce with oyster sauce
Pic: blanched lettuce with oyster sauce

different dishes of Bah Kut Teh
Pic: different dishes of Bah Kut Teh

Bah Kut Teh (肉骨茶)
Besides the meaty pork ribs & belly, there are intestines, liver and pig ear slices in the soup too. If you don’t like organs, you can tell the waitress that you want meat only (you can even ask for slim or fat meat only, or both), but I have to tell you that you will miss the best parts..

workers preparing Bak Kut Teh

workers preparing Bak Kut Teh
Above: workers preparing Bak Kut Teh. The restaurant is always packed with hungry customers, so they are very busy.

Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh (佑记肉骨茶)
The beancurd puffs (known as U Cha Kui or “油条” in Chinese) go well with Bak Kut Teh.

Yu Kee Bah Kuh Tea
Enjoying the fatty meal but it doesn’t really taste oily though. Bak Kut Teh tastes best when served hot, so I hope they will use heated claypot to store the soup. After 5 minutes of photo-taking, my soup was cooling down and affected the taste.

Yu Kee Bah Kuh Tea (佑記茶室)
It’s full of people even on weekdays. The shop address is No. 74, Jalan Gaya, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia (opposite Jesselton Hotel in Gaya Street). Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh opens from 4:00pm to 10:30pm daily and closed on alternate Mondays. To be sure, you can phone +60 88-221192 to check in advance. The owner is Mr. Yap Leong Tuck.


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many people in Yu Kee
Yu Kee Bak Kut Teh is so well-known that even foreign tourists, especially those from Hong Kong know it, so I think blogging to introduce it is not even necessary.

people sitting outside Yu Kee
You see. The restaurant is so crowded that some have to sit outside but everyone still looks happy. If you come after 6pm, you will have to stand and wait for your turn to get a seat.

Chinese tea (Tie Guanyin)
After a pork-laden meal, drinking Chinese tea can help to dissolve the excessive fat. They are serving Tie Guanyin (铁观音).

A little note for foreigners

boil water cleaning
The pot of boil water is for your to “sterilize” the dinner set. It’s not soup so don’t drink it.

chopped chilli and minced garlic
Above: the optional condiment for Bak Kut Teh. Dark soy sauce if you want it more salty. You may eat the meat with chopped chilli or minced garlic for extra flavor. Up to you. I like to eat it with a lot of garlic. Don’t do this if you will go for a date later LOL.

Bak Kut Teh is herb soup with “heat” property. Don’t take too much if you feel feverish.

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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  • Gbeejipp

    Certainly the best and most well-known Bak Kut Teh in town. I always come here whenever I feel like eating BKT. But I like the seafood Bak Kut Teh in Sandakan way way more. 😀

  • mysabah

    Ah yes~ Jipp, I heard about that seafood bak kut teh in Sandakan. I tried to go there last year but not enough time.