My Great Great Grandfather Chen Ah Bak came from the Chen (Tsang in Cantonese) Village near Guangzhou. He was a Hakka (means a guest) and his family was so poor that they could only afford to eat pork’s “spare parts” (i.e. internal organs such as intestines, stomach, liver, kidney) thrown away by restaurants.
He boiled the spare parts with some strong spices to overcome the “sou” strong pork smell, cheap herbs and Guangzhou tea – that’s how the original Chen’s “BaK Kut Teh” was concocted in Guangzhou. He sailed and migrated to Klang.
Before he moved to Ipoh for mining, a good family friend begged him for the simple, original recipe. He gave the secret recipe and the Hokkien friend opened a tiny hawker stall in Port Klang serving coolies in the dock. More nutritious spare ribs, elbow, half fat pork (poon fei sau) were added as choices to the original spare parts. And the rest like they say was history.