It was one of my favourite Bah Kut Teh. Not anymore, after this disappointing visit.
Now it’s part of the Jumbo Group, that included Jumbo Seafood, Jpot and Chui Huay Lim Teochew Restaurant. Mr Ng, an astute businessman, invested in Jumbo Seafood in its early days with the Ang family, but Ng Ah Sio BKT was “taken over” by Jumbo in 2010 and have since become part of the portfolio, and since the Group’s listing in 2015, they have been expanding to more branches and overseas. I chanced upon this alliance when I tried Jpot for the first time in 2009 when they opened in Vivocity and ordered their BKT hotpot and was presently surprised by the similarity of the soup base and Ng Ah Sio.
In the beginning of this alliance, the Rangoon Road HQ was still preparing the BKT in the shop. These days, everything is prepared in central kitchens to be distributed to all the locations.
This particular visit, I was quite disappointed by two things: the standard of the BKT and side dishes have dropped tremendously, and the shop is now catering to tourist groups and during the lunch crowd, bus loads of tourists came into the small and cramped coffee shop.
The drop of food standard was unforgivable. The soup was lukewarm and murky (instead of clear, peppery ones from yesteryears), the liver was overcooked, the side dishes braised until too salty and hard (overcooked), youtiao was soft. Overall, the food standard was really bad. I came a year earlier, and it was not that bad. I am surprised how much it has dropped over the span of a year.
The only redeeming factor was the service. The service was much better than the old days when Mr Ng himself was running the place. Due to fame or whatever reason, the service was atrocious, but we endured because the BKT was really good. Mr Ng himself has declined to serve the ex-Chief Executive of HK his BKT because Dr Tseng came on a wrong day when they were closed and could not product a small batch of BKT with the same standard. That was the insistence of the quality and standard of the food back then.
Reflection: we really need to look internally as Singaporeans on our attitude on customer service. There’s a reason why restauranteurs and F&B owners prefer to hire Chinese and Filipinos because they do provide much better service overall.
Looks like I will need to go to Ya Hwa from now on.
NG AH SIO Bak Kut Teh – Rangoon Road
208 Rangoon Road Hong Building, 218453
Tel : 6291 4537
Dated Visited : Jul 2018