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Childhood Char Koay Teow

(See him cooking in our video here)
I was overjoyed today when I found the old man who fries up one of the best Char Koay Teow dishes in Penang at the same spot on Siam Road where I grew up.  I remember my mom using his Char Koay Teow as a parenting tool to reward us for good behavior!

The old man has been frying up the noodle dish for over 50 years from his bicycle cart on the side of the road.  He doesn’t seem to be slowing down based on the speed he whips around the metal spatula.  But when he finally does decide to call it quits, I'm happy to report that his son has already decided to take over the business.

And yes, it tastes just as good as I remember it!
What is Char Koay Teow?
Char Koay Teow (stir-fried rice noodles) is the most popular hawker’s dish in Penang, and the main reason Penang is so famous for food.  The flat rice noodles are stir-fried over high heat with soy sauce, shrimp paste, prawns, cockles, bean sprouts, chives and chili (optional).  The dish may also include Chinese sausage, fishcake or eggs.

You can find a ridiculous array of Char Koay Teow stalls available all over the island. The most famous is at Lorong Selamat where locals and tourists line up for at least an hour to get their fix.  But watch out, the cook is notorious for her quick-temper!  And don't forget to bring extra cash, since her dish is the most expensive Char Koay Teow on the island.

Which Char Koay Teow is your favorite? Let us know! We will start compiling a list of quality Char Koay Teow for Penang.


debi said...


This looks delicious!
Great photography!


MayaKirana said...

Congrats Reese on your blog. I love what I see and read. It is a visual and mental feast. ;-) I am so glad that Penangites like you are coming back to help change the island, and like you said, capturing the Penang we love so much. For Char Kueh Teow, I like the one on Kimberly Street junction where this old man fries it up in the evenings over a charcoal stove. But I haven't eaten it in ages so I cannot vouch if the taste is still as authentic. I've heard that there is one kickass CKT at the China Street Peave & Joy Cafe (corner kopitiam) in the evening. This kopitiam serves up a mean curry mee in the mornings. Absolutely fab.

Hotflash Diva said...

Looks fantastic, anyplace in the NY metro area to get something like this?

Reese said...

There are some Penang and Malaysian restaurants in NY. I do not know how authentic they are since I haven't tried them. But it's worth trying this restaurant out: