A yummy Malaysian dish for the weekend

Char Koay Teow is a fried vermicelli dish which hails from the beach town of Penang in Malaysia. The dish was often fried over a charcoal fire as seen in the street markets of Asia generally. Alas, in the name of progress, most hawkers use gas fire instead these days. Most visitors to Malaysia would have tasted Char Koay Teow at some stage during their visit.
Loretta Lee, supermum and chef, who blogs at Nyonya Recipe has fond memories of Char Koay Teow as part of the fabric of her childhood.
“This is a one-pot meal eaten at breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper. Traditionally, it contains noodles/ vermicelli, bean sprouts, chilli paste, prawns, Chinese sausage, Chinese chives, eggs prawns, squids  and blanched cockles. Not everyone likes cockles, and I am one of them. So whenever we went to the hawker stalls, we would order the noodles without the ingredients that we didn’t like.. See, there is customisation from years yonder.. In the good old days, we would take our own eggs, so that we did not have to pay extra. Furthermore, my mum reared chickens and ducks and we usually took these duck eggs along. Duck eggs are bigger and richer. We were typical frugal Penangites.”

Char Koay Teow- Penang Fried Noodles

This is a Penang speciality. It is Penang’s most famous dish – Char Koay Teow or fried noodles. You can use any type of noodles, but the most common is soft rice noodles, ready sliced into thin shreds. You can also use yellow noodles, eggs noodles, bee hoon (rice vermicelli) and others.

You can get Koay Teow ( fresh while rice noodles) from the Chinese Supermarket. You can also use dried Koay Teow and soak/ prepared according to the package instructions before using.

It is not easy to get hold of Chinese Chives unless you are in Birmingham or London or other larger cities. Just use bok choy or spring onions or other green leafy vegetables.

The recipe is for 4 servings. Char Koay Teow is best cooked in single portions but you can get away with cooking 2 portions in one go.


1 pk Egg noodles from the supermarket – approx 400g
1 pk Beansprouts from the supermarket – approx 350g
8 stalks Chinese chives, (or 4 spring onions if you cannot get them, ,or you can use some green Chinese leaves, shredded.) cut to 3 cm length.
4 Eggs
100g Raw Prawns, shelled
100g Chicken meat, julienned, or squid
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1pc Lap Cheong or Dried Chinese Pork Sausage – thinly sliced

For each portion when frying:
Sweet Dark soy sauce
Light soy sauce
White pepper powder
Crushed Chillies (or chilli paste, or chilli flakes) – optional


Divide the ingredients into 4 portions, except for the seasoning.

The following instruction is for cooking 1 portion.

  1. In a hot not-stick wok or frying pan, add 1 tsp of cooking oil. Put in one portion of the garlic and fry till lightly browned. Add in the chicken meat and lightly brown it.
  2. Add the noodles. While tossing, add in 1 tbsp of the sweet soy sauce, 1 to 2 tbsp of light soy sauce (depending on how salty you want the dish to be). Toss around for about 2 minutes.
  3. Move the noodles to the side of the wok. Add in the prawns and lightly brown it, and then turn and brown the other side. Mix all ingredients together and stir fry till the prawns are almost cooked.
  4. Add in the bean sprouts and mix thoroughly for ½ minutes. Add in the chilli paste – 1 to 2 tsp or the amount you wish.
  5. Push the contents aside and break one egg in the wok. Add a dash of light soy sauce and a shake of white pepper onto the egg. Lightly mix the egg white and yolk while making sure that you do not scramble the egg. While the egg is still runny but the bottom is set, cover the egg with the noodles and let it cook for about 30 seconds.
  6. Then stir the egg and the noodles making sure the noodles are not stuck together by the egg.
  7. Add in the chives and stir to lightly cook the chives.
  8. Dish out, and add a shake of white pepper
  9. Serve piping hot.

Enjoy another great Malaysian dish.


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