Literally translated as “meat bone tea,” bak kut teh is an aromatic pork rib broth found in Singapore and Malaysia, and an idea has floated around my subconscious for some time: Why not enrich this “tea” with actual tea leaves, specifically of the smoked Lapsang souchong variety?
But then a friend suggested I try iribancha, a roasted tea with a rich, fireside flavor (owing to its leaves being heated to their smoking point) that’s beloved in Kyoto.
Bak kut teh is a soup that gets served with sides, but Okinawan soki soba adds ribs and wheat noodles to the broth for a meal in a single bowl. This recipe is a mashup — the spiced rib broth meets smoky tea and kombu for depth and noodles for bulk. It’s worth noting that Okinawan soba does not use buckwheat, a common allergen found in most varieties of soba.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.