I took my time to hop onto the bandwagon, but now that Song Fa has opened their 2nd branch precariously close to my office, it's probably time to make a 'comparison', which will hopefully help you make a decision based on your preference.
Song Fa - Bak Kut Teh with 50 years of heritage
Started in 1969, exactly 50 years ago, Song Fa is one of the original Bak Kut Teh names in Singapore. If you ask me where to go for Bak Kut Teh in Singapore, I will always say Song Fa, because it's consistent, has good cuts of rib, good control of meat done-ness, and has well-drilled service staff who happily makes sure your bowl is full of piping-hot soup at all times.
|With this Mega Bang Na branch, it is closer to me in Bangkok than it has ever been in Singapore.|
|The must-order at Song Fa. Not bad, but I thought the cut would be even more impressive.|
|Mee Sua is the other item that Song Fa is pushing in Thailand.|
I appreciate the focus on Song Fa's menu. Go to a Bak Kut Teh shop to eat Bak Kut Teh is the message.
Food came within minutes, and the service was just as prompt as I remembered it was in Singapore, topping up piping hot (important) soup until you tell them it's enough.
Soup was tasty but not overly peppery, meesua was springy (a pleasant surprise), and the dough fritters were plump and crispy.
They did the basics right. One might not be jumping for joy at Song Fa, but might find it hard to fault their effectiveness in feeding the crowd with heart-warming peppery pork bone soup, unless its rather steep price that puts you off. I guess my tip will be not to over-order, stick to the ones I mentioned, remembering this is technically a soup-buffet.
Old Street Bak Kut Teh - The Original Shopping Mall Bak Kut Teh of Singapore
Unlike Song Fa, Old Street started out much later in Singapore, focusing on accessible locations in malls. Its success and rapid expansion brought it to Bangkok, blessing tired shoppers in MBK.
I have to say though, that one can be forgiven if he forgets to order Bak Kut Teh at Old Street, such is the variety on its menu. It's technically a full-fledge restaurant, more like a "tze-char" in Singapore, as we like to call it. You can have multiple meals at Old Street without repeating a single dish if you wanted to.
|Old Street packs a spicier punch compared to Song Fa, the cuts of meat are quite ordinary though. Soup is also free-flow.|
|Dry Bak Kut Teh that stole the show.|
|Peppery Bak Kut Teh Seafood Congee is another legitimate choice.|
|Really enjoyed the traditional bean curd, which reminded me of my childhood days.|
For me, Old Street is still very much a Bak Kut Teh specialty shop. Those who like a stronger peppery hit might enjoy Old Street's soup more.
I don't particularly fancy Old Street's dilution of its concept with many other menu choices as the non-Bak Kut Teh dishes were a bit of a hit and miss during my 2 visits (as can be seen from my recommendations above). I believe customer satisfaction will be higher in general if you only order Bak Kut Teh dishes at Old Street.
That said, Old Street remains a very welcome addition to the culinary landscape in Bangkok!
So, Song Fa or Old Street?
Ermmm, just go to the one nearer to you I guess?