iPhoneOgraphy – 29 Aug 2016 (Day 242/366)
A filling station is a facility that sells fuel and engine lubricants for motor vehicles. The most common fuels sold in the 2010s are gasoline (gasoline or gasin the U.S. and Canada, generally petrol elsewhere) and diesel fuel. A filling station that sells only electric energy is also known as a charging station, while a typical filling station can also be known as a fueling station, garage (South Africa and United Kingdom), gasbar (Canada), gas station (United States and Canada), petrol pump or petrol bunk (India), petrol garage, petrol station (Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and United Kingdom), service station (Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom), a services (United Kingdom), or servo (Australia).
Fuel dispensers are used to pump petrol/gasoline, diesel, Compressed natural gas, CGH2, HCNG, LPG, Liquid hydrogen, kerosene, alcohol fuel (like methanol, ethanol, butanol, propanol), biofuels (like straight vegetable oil, biodiesel), or other types of fuel into the tanks within vehicles and calculate the financial cost of the fuel transferred to the vehicle. Fuel dispensers are also known as bowsers (in some parts of Australia), petrol pumps (in most Commonwealth countries) or gas pumps (in North America). Besides fuel dispensers, one other significant device which is also found in filling stations and can refuel certain (compressed-air) vehicles is an air compressor, although generally these are just used to inflate car tyres. Also, many filling stations incorporate a convenience store, which like most other buildings generally have electricity sockets; hence plug-in electric vehicles can be recharged.
The term “gas station” is widely used in the United States, Canada and the English-speaking Caribbean, where the fuel is known as “gasoline” or “gas” as in “gas pump”. In some regions of Canada, the term “gas bar” is used. Elsewhere in the English-speaking world, mainly in the Commonwealth, the fuel is known as “petrol”, and the term “petrol station” or “petrol pump” is used. In the United Kingdom and South Africa “garage” is still commonly used. Similarly, in Australia, the term “service station” (“servo”) describes any petrol station. In Japanese English, it is called a “gasoline stand”. In Indian English, it is called a petrol pump or a petrol bunk. In some regions of America and Australia, many filling stations have a mechanic on duty, but this is uncommon in other parts of the world.
The first places that sold gasoline were pharmacies, as a side business. The first filling station was the city pharmacy in Wiesloch, Germany, where Bertha Benz refilled the tank of the first automobile on its maiden trip from Mannheim to Pfirzheim and back in 1888. Since 2008 the Bertha Benz Memorial Route commemorates this event.
The increase in automobile ownership after Henry Ford started to sell automobiles that the middle class could afford resulted in an increased demand for filling stations. The world’s first purpose built gas station was constructed in St.Louis, Missouri in 1905 at 420 S. Theresa Avenue. The second gas station was constructed in 1907 by Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) in Seattle, Washington at what is now Pier 32. Reighard’s Gas Station in Altoona, Pennsylvania claims that it dates from 1909 and is the oldest existing gas station in the United States. Early on, they were known to motorists as “filling stations”. The first “drive-in” filling station, Gulf Refining Company, opened to the motoring public in Pittsburgh on December 1, 1913 at Baum Blvd & St Clair’s Street (Walter’s Automotive Shop was located here on the 100th anniversary). Prior to this, automobile drivers pulled into almost any general or hardware store, or even blacksmith shops in order to fill up their tanks. On its first day, the station sold 30 gallons of gasoline at 27 cents per gallon. This was also the first architect-designed station and the first to distribute free road maps. The first alternative fuel station was opened in San Diego, California by Pearson Fuels in 2003.
iPhoneOgraphy – 28 Aug 2016 (Day 241/366)
Caramel corn is an American confection made of popcorn coated with a sugar or molasses based caramel candy shell. Typically a sugar solution or syrup is made and heated until it browns and becomes thick, producing a caramelized candy syrup. This hot candy is then mixed with popped popcorn, and allowed to cool. Sometimes a candy thermometer is used, as making caramel is time-consuming and requires skill to make well without burning the sugar. The process creates a sweet flavored, crunchy snack food or treat. Some varieties, after coating with the candy syrup, are baked in an oven to crisp the mixture. Mixes of caramel corn sometimes contain nuts, such as peanuts, pecans, almonds, or cashews.
The combination of caramel and corn dates back at least as far as the 1890s with the strong molasses flavor of Cracker Jack, an early version of which was introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The lighter, sweet but un-caramelized kettle corn, may be a North American Colonial predecessor to caramel corn.
There are many commercial brands and forms of caramel corn available, such as Cracker Jack, Fiddle Faddle, Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs, and Crunch ‘n Munch. In grocery stores, at cinemas, and convenience stores, pre-bagged caramel corn made locally may also be sold. The Maryland-based Fisher’s Popcorn and Chicago-based Nuts on Clark are examples of specialty caramel corn and popcorn companies.
iPhoneOgraphy – 27 Aug 2016 (Day 240/366)
A potato chip (American English) or crisp (British English) is a thin slice of potato that has been deep fried, baked, kettle-cooked, or popped until crunchy. Potato chips are commonly served as a snack, side dish, or appetizer. The basic chips are cooked and salted; additional varieties are manufactured using various flavorings and ingredients including herbs, spices, cheeses, and artificial additives.
“Crisps”, however, may also refer to many different types of savory snack products sold in the United Kingdom and Ireland, some made from potato, but some made from corn, tapioca, or other cereals, and root vegetables, just as other varieties of chips are consumed in the United States.Potato chips are a predominant part of the snack food market in Western countries.
The global potato chip market generated total revenues of US$16.49 billion in 2005. This accounted for 35.5% of the total savory snacks market in that year ($46.1 billion).
The earliest known recipe for potato chips is in William Kitchiner’s cookbook The Cook’s Oracle, first published in 1817, which was a bestseller in England and the United States. The 1822 edition’s version of recipe 104 is called “Potatoes fried in Slices or Shavings” and reads “peel large potatoes, slice them about a quarter of an inch thick, or cut them in shavings round and round, as you would peel a lemon; dry them well in a clean cloth, and fry them in lard or dripping”.
Early recipes for potato chips in the United States are found in Mary Randolph’s Virginia House-Wife (1824), and in N.K.M. Lee’s Cook’s Own Book (1832), both of which explicitly cite Kitchiner.
Nonetheless, a legend associates the creation of potato chips with Saratoga Springs, New York, decades later. By the late 19th century, a popular version of the story attributed the dish to George Crum, a half African, half Native American cook at Moon’s Lake House, who was trying to appease an unhappy customer on August 24, 1853. The customer kept sending his French-fried potatoes back, complaining that they were too thick. Frustrated, he sliced the potatoes razor thin, fried them until crisp and seasoned them with extra salt. To Crum’s surprise, the customer loved them. They soon became called “Saratoga Chips”, a name that persisted into at least the mid-20th century. A version of this story popularized in a 1973 national advertising campaign by St. Regis Paper Company, which manufactured packaging for chips, said that Crum’s customer was Cornelius Vanderbilt. Crum was renowned as a chef and by 1860 owned his own lakeside restaurant, Crum’s House.
In the 20th century, potato chips spread beyond chef-cooked restaurant fare and began to be mass-produced for home consumption. The Dayton, Ohio-based Mike-sell’s Potato Chip Company, founded in 1910, identifies as the “oldest potato chip company in the United States”. New England-based Tri-Sum Potato Chips, originally founded in 1908 as the Leominster Potato Chip Company, in Leominster, Massachusetts claim to be America’s first potato chip manufacturer. Chips sold in markets were usually sold in tins or scooped out of storefront glass bins and delivered by horse and wagon. The early potato chip bag was wax paper with the ends ironed or stapled together. At first, potato chips were packaged in barrels or tins, which left chips at the bottom stale and crumbled.
Laura Scudder, an entrepreneur in Monterey Park, California, started having her workers take home sheets of wax paper to iron into the form of bags, which were filled with chips at her factory the next day. This pioneering method reduced crumbling and kept the chips fresh and crisp longer. This innovation, along with the invention of cellophane, allowed potato chips to become a mass-market product. Today, chips are packaged in plastic bags, with nitrogen gas blown in prior to sealing to lengthen shelf life, and provide protection against crushing.
Traditional chips were made by the “batch-style” process, where all chips are fried all at once at a low temperature and continuously raked to prevent them from sticking together. Industrial advance resulted in a shift to production by a “continuous-style” process, running chips through a vat of hot oil and drying them in a conveyor process. Consumer desire for original style chips resulted in the introduction of traditionally made “kettle-style” chips in the 2000s (known as hand-cooked in the UK/Europe).
In an idea originated by the Smiths Potato Crisps Company Ltd, formed in 1920, Frank Smith packaged a twist of salt with his chips in greaseproof paper bags, which were sold around London.
The potato chip remained otherwise unseasoned until an innovation by Joe “Spud” Murphy, the owner of an Irish chip company called Tayto, who in the 1950s developed a technology to add seasoning during manufacture. After some trial and error, Murphy and his employee, Seamus Burke, produced the world’s first seasoned chips: Cheese & Onion, Barbecue, and Salt & Vinegar. This innovation was notable in the food industry. Companies worldwide sought to buy the rights to Tayto’s technique.
The first flavored chips in the United States, barbecue flavor, were being manufactured and sold by 1954. In 1958, Herr’s was the first company to introduce barbecue-flavored potato chips in Pennsylvania.
Shot & Edited using iPhone 6+
iPhoneOgraphy – 26 Aug 2016 (Day 239/366)
Fish are consumed as food by many species, including humans. It has been an important source of protein and other nutrients for humans throughout recorded history.
In culinary and fishery contexts, the term fish can also include shellfish, such as molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms. English does not distinguish between fish as an animal and the food prepared from it, as it does with pig vs. pork or cow vs. beef. Some other languages do, as in the Spanish peces versus pescado. The modern English word for fish comes from the Old English word fisc (plural: fiscas) which was pronounced as it is today. English also has the term seafood, which covers fish found in the seas and oceans as well as other marine life used as food.
Fish can be prepared in a variety of ways. It can be uncooked (raw) (e.g. sashimi). It can be cured by marinating (e.g. ceviche), pickling (e.g. pickled herring), or smoking (e.g. smoked salmon). Or it can be cooked by baking, frying (e.g. fish and chips), grilling, poaching (e.g. court-bouillon), or steaming. Many of the preservation techniques used in different cultures have since become unnecessary but are still performed for their resulting taste and texture when consumed.
“Fish provides a good source of high quality protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. It may be classed as either whitefish, oily fish, or shellfish. Whitefish, such as haddock and seer, contain very little fat (usually less than 1%) whereas oily fish, such as sardines, contain between 10-25%. The latter, as a result of its high fat content, contain a range of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and essential fatty acids, all of which are vital for the healthy functioning of the body.”
Research over the past few decades has shown that the nutrients and minerals in fish, and particularly the omega-3 fatty acids found in pelagic fishes, are heart-friendly and can make improvements in brain development and reproduction. This has highlighted the role for fish in the functionality of the human body.
Religious rites and rituals regarding food also tend to classify the birds of the air and the fish of the sea separately from land-bound mammals. Sea-bound mammals are often treated as fish under religious laws – as in Jewish dietary law, which forbids the eating of cetacean meat, such as whale, dolphin or porpoise, because they are not “fish with fins and scales”; nor, as mammals, do they chew their cud and have cloven hooves, as required by Leviticus 11:9-12. Jewish (kosher) practice treat fish differently from other animal foods. The distinction between fish and “meat” is codified by the Jewish dietary law of kashrut, regarding the mixing of milk and meat, which does not forbid the mixing of milk and fish. Modern Jewish legal practice (halakha) on kashrut classifies the flesh of both mammals and birds as “meat”; fish are considered to be parve, neither meat nor a dairy food. (The preceding portion refers only to the halakha of Ashkenazi Jews, Sephardic Jews do not mix fish with dairy)
Seasonal religious prohibitions against eating meat do not usually include fish. For example, non-fish meat was forbidden during Lent and on all Fridays of the year in pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism, but fish was permitted (as were eggs). In Eastern Orthodoxy, fish is permitted on some fast days when other meat is forbidden, but stricter fast days also prohibit fish with spines, while permitting invertebrate seafood such as Shrimps and oysters, considering them “fish without blood.”
Some Buddhists and Hindus (Brahmins of West Bengal, Odisha and Saraswat Brahmins of the Konkan) abjure meat that is not fish. Muslim (halal) practice also treats fish differently from other animal foods, as it can be eaten.
iPhoneOgraphy – 25 Aug 2016 (Day 238/366)
Strelitzia is a genus of five species of perennial plants, native to South Africa. It belongs to the plant family Strelitziaceae. The genus is named after the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. A common name of the genus is bird of paradise flower / plant, because of a resemblance of its flowers to birds-of-paradise. In South Africa it is commonly known as a crane flower and is featured on the reverse of the 50 cent coin. It is the floral emblem of the City of Los Angeles; two of the species, Strelitzia nicolai and Strelitzia reginae, are frequently grown as house plants.
The species S. nicolai is the largest in the genus, reaching 10 m tall, with stately white and blue flowers; the other species typically reach 2 to 3.5 m tall, except S. caudata which is a tree of a typically smaller size than S. nicolai. The leaves are large, 30–200 cm long and 10–80 cm broad, similar to a banana leaf in appearance but with a longer petiole, and arranged strictly in two ranks to form a fan-like crown of evergreen foliage. The flowers are produced in a horizontal inflorescence emerging from a stout spathe.
iPhoneOgraphy – 24 Aug 2016 (Day 237/366)
Peanut, also known as groundnut and goober (Arachis hypogaea), is a crop of global importance. It is widely grown in the tropics and subtropics, being important to both smallholder and large commercial producers. It is classified as both a grain legume, and, because of its high oil content, an oil crop. World annual production is about 46 million tonnes per year. Peanut pods develop under the ground, which is very unusual among crop plants.
As a legume, peanut belongs to the botanical family Fabaceae (also known as Leguminosae, and commonly known as the bean or pea family). Like most other legumes, peanuts harbor symbioticnitrogen-fixing bacteria in root nodules. This capacity to fix nitrogen means peanuts require less nitrogen-containing fertilizer and improve soil fertility, making them valuable in crop rotations.
Peanuts are similar in taste and nutritional profile to tree nuts such as walnuts and almonds, and are often served in similar ways in Western cuisines. The botanical definition of a “nut” is a fruit whose ovary wall becomes very hard at maturity. Using this criterion, the peanut is not a nut, but rather a legume. However, for culinary purposes and in common English language usage, peanuts are usually referred to as nuts.
Cultivated peanut (A. hypogaea) has two sets of chromosomes from two different species, thought to be A. duranensis and A. ipaensis. The two species’ chromosomes combined by hybridization and doubling, to form what is termed an amphidiploid or allotetraploid. Genetic analysis suggests this hybridization event probably occurred only once and gave rise to A. monticola, a wild form of peanut that occurs in a few restricted locations in northwestern Argentina, and by artificial selection to A. hypogaea. The process of domestication through artificial selection made A. hypogaeadramatically different from its wild relatives. The domesticated plants are more bushy and compact, and have a different pod structure and larger seeds. The initial domestication may have taken place in northwestern Argentina, or in southeastern Bolivia, where the peanut landraces with the most wild-like features are grown today. From this primary center of origin, cultivation spread and formed secondary and tertiary centers of diversity in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Over time, thousands of peanut landraces evolved; these are classified into six botanical varieties and two subspecies (as listed in the peanut scientific classification table). Subspecies A. h. fastigiata types are more upright in their growth habit and have a shorter crop cycles. Subspecies A. h. hypogaeatypes spread more on the ground and have longer crop cycles.
The oldest known archeological remains of pods have been dated at about 7,600 years old. These may be pods from a wild species that was in cultivation, or A. hypogaea in the early phase of domestication. They were found in Peru, where dry climatic conditions are favorable to the preservation of organic material. Almost certainly, peanut cultivation antedated this at the center of origin where the climate is moister. Many pre-Columbian cultures, such as the Moche, depicted peanuts in their art. Cultivation was well established in Mesoamerica before the Spanish arrived. There, the conquistadors found the tlalcacahuatl (the plant’s Nahuatl name, whence Mexican Spanish cacahuate, Castillian Spanish cacahuete, and French cacahuète) being offered for sale in the marketplace of Tenochtitlan. The peanut was later spread worldwide by European traders, and cultivation is now very widespread in tropical and subtropical regions. In West Africa, it substantially replaced a crop plant from the same family, the Bambara groundnut, whose seed pods also develop underground. In Asia, it became an agricultural mainstay and this region is now the largest producer in the world.
In the English-speaking world, peanut growing is most important in the United States. Although it was mainly a garden crop for much of the colonial period, it was mostly used as animal feed stock until the 1930s. The US Department of Agriculture initiated a program to encourage agricultural production and human consumption of peanuts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. George Washington Carver developed hundreds of recipes for peanuts during his tenure in the program.
iPhoneOgraphy – 23 Aug 2016 (Day 236/366)
A Book is a set of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of ink, paper, parchment, or other materials, fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is a leaf, and each side of a leaf is a page. A set of text-filled or illustrated pages produced in electronic format is known as an electronic book, or e-book.
Books may also refer to works of literature, or a main division of such a work. In library and information science, a book is called a monograph, to distinguish it from serial periodicals such as magazines, journals, or newspapers. The body of all written works including books is literature. In novels and sometimes other types of books (for example, biographies), a book may be divided into several large sections, also called books (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, and so on). An avid reader of books is a bibliophile or colloquially, bookworm.
A shop where books are bought and sold is a bookshop or bookstore. Books can also be borrowed from libraries. Google has estimated that as of 2010, approximately 130,000,000 distinct titles had been published. In some wealthier nations, printed books are giving way to the usage of electronic or e-books, though sales of e-books declined in the first half of 2015.
The word book comes from Old English “bōc”, which in turn comes from the Germanic root “*bōk-“, cognate to “beech”. Similarly, in Slavic languages (for example, Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian) “буква” (bukva—”letter”) is cognate with “beech”. In Russian and in Serbian and Macedonian, the word “букварь” (bukvar’) or “буквар” (bukvar) refers specifically to a primary school textbook that helps young children master the techniques of reading and writing. It is thus conjectured that the earliest Indo-European writings may have been carved on beech wood. Similarly, the Latin word codex, meaning a book in the modern sense (bound and with separate leaves), originally meant “block of wood”.
iPhoneOgraphy – 22 Aug 2016 (Day 235/366)
A ceiling fan is a mechanical fan, usually electrically powered, suspended from the ceiling of a room, that uses hub-mounted rotating paddles to circulate air.
A ceiling fan rotates much more slowly than an electric desk fan; it cools people effectively by introducing slow movement into the otherwise still, hot air of a room. Fans never actually cool air, unlike air-conditioning equipment, but use significantly less power (cooling air is thermodynamically expensive). Conversely, a ceiling fan can also be used to reduce the stratification of warm air in a room by forcing it down to affect both occupants’ sensations and thermostat readings, thereby improving climate control energy efficiency.
The first ceiling fans appeared in the early 1860s and 1870s, in the United States. At that time, they were not powered by any form of electric motor. Instead, a stream of running water was used, in conjunction with a turbine, to drive a system of belts which would turn the blades of two-blade fan units. These systems could accommodate several fan units, and so became popular in stores, restaurants, and offices. Some of these systems still survive today, and can be seen in parts of the southern United States where they originally proved useful.
The electrically powered ceiling fan was invented in 1882 by Philip Diehl. He had engineered the electric motor used in the first electrically powered Singer seeing machines, and in 1882 he adapted that motor for use in a ceiling-mounted fan. Each fan had its own self-contained motor unit, with no need for belt drive.
Almost immediately he faced fierce competition due to the commercial success of the ceiling fan. He continued to make improvements to his invention and created a light kit fitted to the ceiling fan to combine both functions in one unit. By World War I most ceiling fans were made with four blades instead of the original two, which made fans quieter and allowed them to circulate more air.
By the 1920s ceiling fans were commonplace in the United States, and had started to take hold internationally. From the Great Depression of the 1930s until the introduction of electric air conditioning in the 1950s ceiling fans slowly faded out of vogue in the U.S., almost falling into total disuse in the U.S. by the 1960s; those which remained were considered items of nostalgia.
Meanwhile, they became popular in other countries, particularly those with hot climates such as India but without the infrastructure or financial resources for high-energy-consuming and complex freon induced air conditioning equipment. In 1973, Texas entrepreneur H. W. (Hub) Markwardt began importing highly efficient ceiling fans to the United States that were manufactured in India by Crompton-Greaves, Ltd. Crompton-Greaves had been manufacturing ceiling fans since 1937 through a joint venture formed by Greaves Cotton of India and Crompton-Parkinson of England, and had perfected the world’s most energy efficient ceiling fans thanks to its patented 20 pole induction motor with highly efficient heat-dissipating cast aluminum rotor shell. These Indian manufactured ceiling fans caught on slowly at first, but Markwardt’s Encon Industries branded ceiling fans (ENergy CONservation) eventually found great success during the energy crisis of the late 1970s and early 1980s, since they consumed far less energy (under 70 watts of electricity) than the antiquated shaded pole motors used in most other American made fans, and far more efficient than using expensive air conditioning units.
Due to this renewed commercial success using ceiling fans effectively as an energy conservation application, many American manufacturers also started to produce, or significantly increase production of, ceiling fans. In addition to the imported Encon ceiling fans, the Casablanca Fan Company was founded in 1974. Other American manufacturers of the time included the Hunter Fan Co. (which was then a division of Robbins & Myers, Inc), FASCO (F. A. Smith Co.), Emerson Electric, and Lasko; the latter two were often branded as Sears-Roebuck.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, ceiling fans remained popular in the United States. Many small American importers, most of them rather short-lived, started importing ceiling fans. Throughout the 1980s the balance of sales between American-made ceiling fans and those imported from manufacturers in India, Taiwan, Hong Kong and eventually China changed dramatically with imported fans taking the lion’s share of the market by the late 1980s. Even the most basic U.S-made fans sold at $200 to $500, while the most expensive imported fans rarely exceeded $150.
Since 2000 important inroads have been made by companies offering higher price ceiling fans with more decorative value. In 2001, Washington Post writer Patricia Dane Rogers wrote, “Like so many other mundane household objects, these old standbys are going high-style and high-tech.”
iPhoneOgraphy – 21 Aug 2016 (Day 234/366)
Bird’s eye chili, bird eye chili, bird’s chili or Thai chili is a chili pepper, a cultivar from the species Capsicum annuum, commonly found in Southeast Asia. It is often confused with a similar-looking chili derived from the species Capsicum frutescens, the cultivar “siling labuyo”. Capsicum frutescens are generally smaller and characteristically points to the sky. Unlike bird’s eye chilli, Capsicum frutescens are often much hotter than Habanero chilli. Bird’s eye chili can also be found in India, particularly in Meghalaya, Assam, and Kerala. It is used in traditional dishes of the Kerala cuisine. This cultivar is also found in rural areas of Sri Lanka, where it is used as a substitute for green chilis. It is also a main ingredient in kochchi sambal, a salad made using freshly scraped coconut ground with bird’s eye chilis and seasoned with salt and lime juice. It is used extensively in Thai, Lao, Khmer, Indonesian, and Vietnamese cuisine.
The bird’s eye chili plant is a perennial with small, tapering fruits, often two or three, at a node. The fruits are very pungent.
The bird’s eye chili is small, but is quite hot (piquant). It measures around 100,000–225,000 Scoville units, which is at the lower half of the range for the hotter habanero chili but still many times more spicy than a jalapeño.
All chilis found around the world today have their origins in Mexico, Central America, and South America. They were spread by the Spanish and the Portuguese, together with many other now common crops such as maize, tomatoes and pineapples. This is now called the Columbian Exchange. The chili varieties found in Southeast Asia today were brought by Spanish and Portuguese colonists and traders in the 16th or 17th century.
iPhoneOgraphy – 20 Aug 2016 (Day 233/366)
Bak-kut-teh (also spelt bah-kut-teh; Chinese: 肉骨茶; Peh-ōe-jī: bah-kut-tê) is a meat dish cooked in broth popularly served in Malaysia and Singapore, where there is a predominant Hoklo and Teochew community, and also in neighbouring areas like the Sumatra, Indonesia and Southern Thailand.
The name literally translates as “meat bone tea”, and at its simplest, consists of meaty pork ribs simmered in a complex broth of herbs and spices (including star anise, cinnamon, cloves, dang gui, fennel seeds and garlic) for hours. Despite its name, there is in fact no tea in the dish itself; the name refers to a strong oolong Chinese tea which is usually served alongside the soup in the belief that it dilutes or dissolves the copious amount of fat consumed in this pork-laden dish.
However, additional ingredients may include offal, varieties of mushroom, choy sum, and pieces of dried tofu or fried tofu puffs. Additional Chinese herbs may include yu zhu (玉竹, rhizome of Solomon’s Seal) and ju zhi (buckthorn fruit), which give the soup a sweeter, slightly stronger flavor. Light and dark soy sauce are also added to the soup during cooking, with varying amounts depending on the variant – the Teochews version is lighter than the Hokkiens’. The dish can be garnished with chopped coriander or green onions and a sprinkling of fried shallots.
Bak kut teh is usually eaten with rice or noodles (sometimes as a noodle soup), and often served with youtiao / cha kueh [yau char kwai] (strips of fried dough) for dipping into the soup. Soy sauce (usually light soy sauce, but dark soy sauce is also offered sometimes) is preferred as a condiment, with which chopped chili padi and minced garlic is taken together. Bak kut teh is typically eaten for breakfast, but may also be served as lunch. The Hokkien and Teochew are traditionally tea-drinking cultures and this aspect runs deep in their cuisines.
Bak-kut-teh is a herbal soup dish developed in Malaya among Hokkien immigrant communities. It is popularly thought to have originated in Klang, where it was claimed that a Chinese sinseh developed the dish in the 1930s. The Teochew variant was developed in Singapore and was sold in the Clarke Quay and River Valley areas after World War II. The dish is reported to supplement the meagre diet of port coolies and as a tonic to boost their health. The main visual difference between the Hokkien and Teochew version of bak kut teh is that the Hokkiens use more dark soy sauce and thus the soup base is characteristically darker in colour.
The Chinese word bak (肉), which means meat (or more specifically pork), is the vernacular pronunciation in Hokkien, but not in Teochew (which pronounced it as nek), suggesting an original Hokkien root.