This is a personal favourite of mine. I'm sorry my Muslim friends, this soup is made from Pork Spare Ribs. The soup made from a lovely concoction of White Pepper and Garlic.
The Singaporean name for it comes from Hokkien and Teochew dialect meaning "Pork Ribs Tea". Traditionally, and as I recalled my childhood memories, the typical Bak Kut Teh store (usually a standalone shophouse in Chinatown) serves this soup accompanied with bowls of fragrant White Rice, You Tiao, Salted Vegetable cooked in Soya Sauce, Beancurd Stick in Soya Sauce, Braised Peanuts and of course the most important is to top off the dish with a few cups of Tea. That explains probably its name association with Tea! Not to forget the dipping sauce for this Pork Ribs is a thick and sweet dark Soya Sauce with lots of chopped red chillies!
Wikipedia has its own article on this dish as well if you are interested to read about this dish variant in other countries.
This dish is equally enjoyed over the Causeway in Malaysia. There isn't too much difference between the two countries Bak Kut Teh. But I have to mention that there are variants in the ingredients of the soup. Each stallowner has his own special spices that he adds to his Bak Kut Teh and that is why each stall creates its own unique Bak Kut Teh flavour. Those special spices can vary from the typical 5 spices (as in 5 spice powder ) to the use of dried Shiitake mushrooms, Garlic and even Soya Sauce!
And definitely Ur Resident Chef loves my Bak Kut Teh with lots of Pepper. If I could change the name of the soup, I would call it Pepper Soup!