Seafood Bak Kut Teh

Nam Chai Seafood Bak Kut Teh (南財肉骨茶) of Sabah

Bak Kut Teh is a delicious Chinese soup of Malaysia. Normally pork is used as the main ingredient to be simmered in a broth of spices and herbs, like the one introduced in my earlier blog. When someone told me about the Seafood Bak Kut Teh in Sandakan, I thought it was a crazy idea, “Seafood is fishy. Isn’t it ‘incompatible’ with the smell of herb?” For me, it sounds like someone trying to fry cucumber with chocolate.

I was wrong. Seafood Bak Kut Teh rocks! Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶 in Chinese) is officially recognised as one of the Malaysia heritage food in 2024 so now you have more reasons to try it.

front of Nam Chai Bak Kut Teh
I’m talking about Nam Chai Bak Kut Teh (Chinese Name: 南財肉骨茶), a Chinese restaurant over 2 decades old in Sandakan city. Its Bak Kut Teh is so good that it’s full during meal time.

Nam Chai Bak Kut Teh (?????)
I came early so I got a seat. Later more diners come and they have to stand around to wait for their turn. In fact, their loyal customers don’t mind to wait at all.

menu and price list
Pic: the food menu and (old) price list
Though their specialty is Seafood Bak Kut Teh, they also sell very good traditional (pork) Bak Kut Teh. You can order rice, noodle and vegetables (cabbage, spinach and mustard greens) to go with your Bak Kut Teh too.

cooking in progress
Every morning the owner buy the fresh pork and seafood at market, to ensure the best quality of his food. When you order, they will ask you if you want the soup more spicy. If you say yes, your soup will have stronger pepper flavor.

Tour package to Danum Valley

Nam Chai Seafood Bak Kut Teh
We order two rabbitfish (Chinese Name: 泥鯭), one bowl of sliced fish (grouper fish) and one prawn. The soup is darker than the traditional Bak Kut Teh and with aroma of pepper.

Seafood Bak Kut Teh
The rabbitfish of Sandakan is the best in Sabah. Its white meat is sweet and tender. The rabbitfish of other places doesn’t taste as good and I don’t know why. They use pepper, scallions and ginger to remove the fishy smell, and this also enhances the sweetness and freshness of the fish.

prawns of Seafood Bak Kut Teh
Look how big are the prawns. I use a spoon as a scale.

close-up of prawns
I really can’t describe how satisfied I am with a mouthful of big fresh prawns.

grouper fish
The sliced fish of grouper. Taste yummy too.

close-up of grouper fish
Pic: Close-up of the sliced fish

The address of this restaurant is No.1 Block D, Bandar Nam Tong, Sandakan (see Location Map). They open from 9:15am to 1:45pm and 5pm to 8pm, Tuesday to Sunday (close on every Monday). Their phone number is +60 11-65612603.

Probably you had tried grilled and steamed seafood. But Seafood Bak Kut Teh will be a pleasant surprise to you, when your tongue learns another way to appreciate seafood. And you will come back for more again for this taste.

Photos taken in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

4 thoughts on “Nam Chai Seafood Bak Kut Teh (南財肉骨茶) of Sabah

  1. My fav restaurant in Sandakan! I used to go there a lot. These dishes are just so addictive. LOL! They actually have a branch (or a competitor) in Mile 4 but I don’t quite remember the name. At least it’s nearer because this one is quite far located in the old town of Sandakan. But both restaurants serve super yummilicuos seafood bah ku teh. This is one of the things I miss most about Sandakan ;-(

    1. Sorry to make you home sick Jipp. Though Peninsular Malaysia has many seafood Bak Kut Teh, too bad I haven’t found one in Kota Kinabalu..

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