Penang char koay teow

Penang char koay teow is made of flat rice noodles stir-fried with shrimp, bloody cockles, Chinese lup cheong (sausage), eggs, bean sprouts, and chives in ready mixed soy sauce and chili paste. The spicier it is the best the char koay teow will taste satisfying delicious. The dish is deemed a national favourite in Malaysia.

There are many versions of Char koay teow in Malaysia. I, myself from Penang dare say that Penang char koay teow is No 1. Can’t be beaten by other state or Singapore or Australia. Char koay teow have being my family favourite. We will never fail to take a trip to our usual Hawker stall for a satisfying taste. Regrettably, Coronavirus had prevented us from flying back to enjoy it. We can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and almost every day during our stay there.

The char koay teow noodles have to be really fresh noodles and not even refrigerated to break them into strips by microwave for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Buy them when you are making it on the day itself. Along with fresh prawns, bean shoots, fish cake and Asian chives. For us, chili lovers, there are many chili sauce you can get from Asian groceries, or you can make your own.

My char koay teow don’t have bloody cockles, couldn’t get it here. It’s still satisfying and looks delicious even though I don’t have the big stove like the Hawker stall man with big fire and wok. Let’s cook!!!!


Noodles and fresh ingredients

1 packet about 500 g fresh flat rice noodles, completely strips
2 Tbs minced garlic
1/2 kg fresh prawn, shelled and removed veins
3 lup cheong, sliced diagonally
1/2 packet of fish cake thinly slices
500-650 g fresh bean sprouts, washed, stem removed
4 large eggs
1 bunch Asian chives, removed the bottom section and cut into 2-inch lengths
3 Tbs sambal prawns paste (bought, OPT)
2 Tsp XO chili oil (OPT)

Chili paste

8 dried red chilies, seeded and soaked in water
4 fresh red chilies, seeded
3 small shallots, peeled and sliced
2 Tsp oil
1 pinch salt

Dark sauce

5 Tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbs oyster sauce
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 Tbs dark caramelised soy sauce
1/2 Tsp salt
4 dashes ground pepper powder
1/2 c water


Blend all the ingredients of chili paste in food processor until fine paste. Heat up a wok with 2 Tsp oil and stir-fry the chili paste until aromatic. Dish out and set aside.

Heat wok over high flame until it starts to smoke. Add 2 Tbs oil into wok and add 1 Tbs garlic into the wok and do a quick stir for 10 seconds. Add 2 1/2 Tbs of the sauce into the wok and stir actively to blend well. Add noodles, then using both hands on the handle, toss 4 times until coated with sauce and oil. Remove noodles and set aside.

Add 1 Tbs oil, prawns, fish cake and lup cheong into wok. Give a few quick stirs until prawn starts to change colour and you will smell the aroma of lup cheong. Now add bean sprouts into wok.

Put cooked noodles back into wok and mix well. Using the spatula, push the noodles and the other ingredients to one side, and add a little oil on the empty area and crack the eggs on it. Use the spatula to break the egg yolks and stir to blend with the egg whites. Flip the noodles and cover the eggs and move it around, chopped eggs until cook about 1 minute.

Now add chili paste, sambal prawns paste, XO chili oil into wok. Pour the remaining sauce in too. Continue to stir fry and make sure the eggs are cooked through. Add Asian chives, do a couple of quick stirs, dish out and serve immediately.

Note: my wok can cook for 4 people. But right char koay teow is to be cook one plate at a time as done in Penang by the man. If you can’t take too spicy omit XO chili oil, cut down your chili paste. Char koay teow should be medium brown in colour. It shouldn’t be too dark with too much dark soy sauce.