Saturday, 30 August 2014

Char Koay Teow @ Siam Road


There is nothing more world reknown about Penang hawker food than the famous Penang Char Koay Teow. ‘Char’ meaning fried and ‘koay teow’ is what the flat rice noodles are called. Simply fried with lard, garlic, beansprout, chives, egg and garnished with thin slices of dried Chinese sausage, fresh cockles and prawns, a good plate of Char Koay Teow is a prized delicacy of Penang street food. A common rule is the bigger the prawns, the higher the price.

Finding a good plate of Char Koay Teow in where it is believed to have originated is not such a difficult task. While tourists flock the famous Lorong Selamat for a plate of Char Koay Teow, most locals stay away due to its exorbitant price and horrible service.

My check list for a plate of good Char Koay Teow includes:

1. Wok Hei – a good plate of Char Koay Teow must have this smoky flavour which build from the strong fire and heat of the wok. The smoky flavours achieved from charcoal fire always wins hands down!

2. Oiliness & Dampness – Just the right amount is essential. Too damp and the rice noodle will be a lump of soggy mess; too oily and halfway through the plate, it’ll be just too ‘jelak’. Plus, being too oily, it’s unhealthy as well.

3. Taste – every stall has its own secret soya sauce mix used to fry the rice noodles. A right one has a tiny hint of sweetness and the right amount of saltiness. The freshness of ingredients also make all the difference.

One of the hype of town for Char Koay Teow lovers is this tiny stall in Siam Road off Anson Road. A popular local favourite made famous by an Astro food programme followed by foreign food programme, it became a frenzy. From a waiting time of 10 minutes 7 years ago, the waiting time had now increased to a minimum of an hour.


So, is it worth the wait? It depends! Priced at RM5.50 a plate, it is a decent serving size with a fair amount of toppings and fairly large and fresh prawns. In terms of taste, there is sufficient wok hei in every plate but due to the demand, there is a slight fluctuation of oiliness and its taste. Regardless, the uncle often spruce up good plates of char koay teow.

Opens from 3pm (closed on Mondays).

Parking is a pain as there is hardly any road side parking. Be ready to park illegally along the road or park along Jalan Pahang and take a short walk.

Taste: 7.5/10
Service: 6/10
*While the uncle is friendly, be ready for the typical hawker service. Plus, there is no queue system. They try hard to remember the sequence of order but its usually a huge mess.

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