I have an obsession with Char Kway Teow, or CKT for short, whenever I’m in a hawker center that’s the first thing I’d order whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper. So what is CKT? It’s basically flat rice noodles fried in a wok under high heat to produce the “wok hei” aka smoky aroma. The basic ingredients found in CKT are shrimps, cockles, egg, Chinese sausage, bean sprouts and Chinese chives, along with seasoning such as chili paste, belacan, and both light and dark soy sauce. If the stall uses pork lard and duck egg then you have hit the jackpot!
The state of Penang is widely known to have the best CKT in Malaysia so it was a no-brainer to hunt for the very best. Ask around and the locals will hint at the below candidates:
#4 Char Kway Teow at Kimberley Street
Located just in front of Sin Guat Keong Coffee Shop at the junction of Kimberley and Cintra streets you’ll find this uncle churning CKT like a fast food joint, literally. He prepares the noodles by large batches and put them aside, as the orders come in he will grab a handful and add in the rest of the ingredients then recook them. Which is probably the reason why I find the CKT lack the distinct wok hei and personally I find the noodle’s texture too soft.
Total wait time to be served : 15mins
Address: 86, Lebuh Kimberley, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Hours: 6PM – 11:30PM
#3 Tiger Char Kway Teow at Kafe Ping Hooi
At Kafe Ping Hooi you will find other dishes being recommended such as Hokkien Noodles and Lor Mee so why not 3 birds with 1 stone eh? The CKT here tasted much better than the uncle’s at Kimberley street. Still, only a passing mark on the report card.
Total wait time to be served : 10mins
Address: Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Hours: 7:30AM to 2PM (Closed on Tuesdays)
#2 Red Hat Aunty at Kafe Heng Huat
The infamous red hat aunty, if you did your research and read the reviews most will comment on her rudeness which resulted in some locals boycotting her business. We arrived during lunch hour thus there was already a long queue ahead of us. Her staff told us before hand the wait will be an hour or more so we camped down sharing a table with a lone patron. The stall uses charcoal with an electric fan to maintain high heat on the wok while the aunty does her cooking at a moderate pace, plate by plate. No batches here. There was a small drama when a customer changed her orders and the aunty wasn’t too happy about it and she let thoughts known. No biggie, I sort of side with the aunty, with dozens of orders to fulfill the last thing she wants is for people to start changing their orders and disrupt the flow and potentially mixup customers orders.
Total wait time to be served : 1hour 15mins
Address: 108, Lorong Selamat, George Town, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Hours: 11AM – 5PM (Closed on Tuesdays)
#1 Siam Road Char Kway Teow
The crème de la crème of Char Kway Teow! I had to endure nearly 2 hours wait for this, the longest ever for any type of food. This is mostly due to tourist buses bringing dozen of tourists to this tiny stall as well as locals “tahpao” aka to-go orders. You can probably avoid the crowd if you come earlier right before he set up shop. Was it worth it? Hell yeah! Hands down the best CKT I’ve ever tasted. This uncle manually fan his charcoal with one hand while the other hand does the frying, very efficient, you can really taste the wok hei. If you are stuck in a long queue you can sit at a nearby coffee shop called Hock Ban Hin Cafe who open its business purely to entertain this uncle’s customers. I bet he makes a bigger profit margin from his drinks than the uncle! Due to the long wait you will probably end up having more than a cup hahaha
Total wait time to be served : 1hour 50mins
Address: Jalan Siam, George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Hours: 3PM – 7PM (Can’t confirm, either Monday or Sunday closed)
We had a blast and our tummies was happy. I do find the CKT in Penang to be on the expensive side, most starts at MYR$5 and if you want bigger portion with added ingredients it will cost upward to MYR$12-14 per plate.
Lastly below are CKT stalls worth visiting, especially Ah Leng Char Kway Teow which we did not managed to sink our teeth on. Do comment if you visited any and share with us your thoughts 🙂
Ah Leng Char Kway Teow at Kafe Kong Hiang
Sisters Char Kway Teow at Lam heng Coffee Shop
KTG Char Kway Teow at Low Eng Hoo Coffee Shop (same street as Red Aunty @ Jln Selamat) also known as uncle with safety gogggles