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Bak Kut Teh (BKT) Pork Soup Recipe - Singapore's Hokkien Style

The fragrance of this spice combination with pork ribs will instantly transport you around the world to Southeast Asia and onto the ground in Singapore.
Course Dinner, Side Dish / Lunch
Cuisine Asian


  • 2 lbs pork St. Louis style ribs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 head of garlic separated into cloves and skins removed
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 10 cups of water


  • Using a large chef's knife, cut the ribs between the bones to separate into individual ribs.
  • Gather the spices and grind up black and white pepper in a spice grinder. Break garlic head into cloves, remove skins, and trim bottom.  Crush the cloves with the side of the knife, but no need to cut or mince because they will cook down in the soup.
  • Place a large fry pan over medium heat add butter to begin melting.  Once the pan has warmed, add the ribs.  Turn regularly to brown on all sides, cooking for about 10-15 minutes. Once completed, but while still over medium heat, add a few splashes of water to loosen the browned bits on the bottom. Add the entire contents to the Instant Pot.
  • Add water, spices, and garlic to pot and stir to combine.  Place the pressure cooker lid on and set to cook on high pressure for 17 minutes.  Once cooking is complete, release the pressure with the rapid method.
  • Remove the ribs from the soup with tongs and set aside on a plate.  Ladle the soup into a large gravy strainer or soup strainer to capture the remaining hard spices and extra fat.
  • To serve, place 2-3 ribs in each bowl and fill with soup.
  • Serve with a side of rice or vegetables.
  • Let's Eat!

Alternative Method - Stovetop Slow Simmer

  • Increase heat to medium-high to bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 1.5 to 2 hours. When the meat begins to pull away from the ribs, the meat will be done. Skim some fat off the top for a lighter version if desired.
Keyword Pork, Singapore, Soup