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Char Kuey Teow (炒粿條/Penang Fried Flat Noodles)


Char Kuey Teow Recipe (炒粿條/Penang Fried Flat Noodles)

Chili Paste:

1 oz. seeded dried red chiles (soak in water)
2 fresh red chilies (seeded)
3 small shallots (peeled and sliced)
1 teaspoon oil
A pinch of salt

Sauce (mix and blend well):

5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 dashes white pepper powder

Other Ingredients:

12 shelled prawn (submerge in ice cold water plus 2 tablespoons sugar for 30 minutes)

1 lb. fresh flat rice noodles (completely loosened and no clumps)

1 lb. bloody cockles (extract the cockles by opening its shell)

2 Chinese sausages (sliced diagonally)

A bunch of fresh bean sprouts (rinsed with cold water and drained)

A bunch of Chinese chives (removed about 1-inch of the bottom section and cut into 2-inch lengths)

3 cloves garlic (chopped finely)

Step-by-Step Picture Guide of Making Char Kuey Teow  (炒粿條/Penang Fried Flat Noodles):

Grind all the ingredients of the chili paste using a mini food processor until fine. Heat up a wok with 1 teaspoon oil and stir-fry the chili paste until aromatic. Dish out and set aside.

Clean the wok thoroughly and heat it over high flame until it starts to smoke. Add 2 tablespoons oil/lard into the wok and add half the portion of chopped garlic into the wok and do a quick stir.

Transfer six (6) prawn out of water and half the sausage slices into the wok. Make a few quick stirs with the spatula until the prawn starts to change color and you smell the aroma of the Chinese sausage.

Add half the bean sprouts into the wok.

Immediately follow by 8 oz. or half portion of the flat noodles.

Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the sauce into the wok and stir vigorously to blend well. Using the spatula, push the noodles to one side, and add a little oil on the empty area and crack an egg on it. Use the spatula to break the egg yolk and stir to blend with the egg white. Flip the noodles and cover the egg, and wait for about 15 seconds.

Add about 1/2 tablespoon of chili paste (if you like it spicy, add more) and some cockle clams into the wok.

Continue to stir-fry and make sure the egg is cooked through. Add chives, do a couple of quick stirs, dish out and serve immediately.

Cook’s Note:

Repeat the same and make another serving of Char Kuey Teow using the remaining ingredients. Please take note of the proper sequence of the cooking process. This is how it’s done by Char Kuey Teow hawkers in Penang, an art that I love watching since I was a child. Also, a great plate of authentic Penang Char Kuey Teow should be medium brown in color. It shouldn’t be too dark with too much dark soy sauce.

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169 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. John

    Thanks so much! I have my recipe down pretty well, and closely resembles yours. My biggest problem is: getting my noodles softened, separated, and dry – all at the same time. If i quickly immerse them in water, it helps to soften and separate them, but gets them wet, and as they dry, they tend to clump back together. If I add them before they’re dry, they cook clumpy. But, if I DON’T soften/separate in water, they start off clumpy. Any tips? How do you prep your noodles to get them soft and separated?

  2. yum yum yum! Hi Bee!
    Did I ever tell you that I love noodles? Well I love noodles, and i love the step by step instructions. For once, I finally have all of these needed ingredients, cheers!

    • Thanks for sharing the link. It looks very different. Well, Char Kuey Teow is basically a Chinese dialect, as Cambodia has many Chinese descent, so I am not surprised it’s called the same.

  3. Bee, this looks as good as the best I have seen in either Malaysia or Singapore. Your pics are really making me drool now .. and it’s lunch time now! Love CKT with lots, and lots of lap cheung.

  4. I actually like char kuey better than pad thai :) To think I haven’t even tasted an authentic one from Penang! Thanks for sharing your recipe :)

    • Joey – me too. I love Thai food but I find Thai food to be mostly sweet, including Pad Thai. I don’t really like my noodles loaded with sugar. You have to go to Penang to try the authentic Char Kuey Teow.

  5. You kick butt Bee. This looks awesome! The step by step is so helpful because it’s the kind of dish that requires proper technique. I certainly have no reason the mess it up now!
    The combo of chinese sausage, shrimp and cockles makes me want to jump in my screen right now. Your kitchen is on the other side.. right? :)

  6. Yummy! I love Char Kuey Teow. Can’t live without it. Thanks loads for your recipe. Will be trying it out sometime soon. =) Was wondering, can you feature some articles on Hainanese food? I am a Hainanese but have no idea about Hainanese food except for the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice.

  7. ash

    Hi! Tks for sharing this! :) Can I check why shd the prawns be soaked in sugar and ice water? Is tt to make them crunchy?

  8. ramlah

    Thanks. This is one of my favourite dish. Will try it out. n dazzle my kids. Am not good at cooking. Usually I will go to Kelana Jaya near the FAM. There is one fat lady at the coffee shop who really cooks FANTASTIC kway teow

  9. among all of Penang’s best street fares, i like CKT the most. the hokkien mee, laksa, and lor bak come distant seconds.
    can one really replicate the intensely aromatic ‘wok hei’ at home?

  10. kimberly

    Hi there! thanks for your great recipes!! this is so tempting i’d have to try it real soon!

    As there are different names for same ingredients, i would like to confirm if small shallots is this? and that the chinese chives is 韭菜 in Chinese Jiaozi?

    thank you!

  11. Judy

    I’ve made this several times, but I just can’t separate the fresh rice noodles! The ones I get are usually oiled & folded over each other. But, I just get little shards of them, broken, when I try to separate! WHAT is the SECRET???

  12. Your CKT looks really authentic and I am sure tastes yummy too. We cannot find cockles in NZ, so will have to find a substitute to try it out. Your step by step approach is definitely idiot-proof and very comprehensive. Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. This looks amazing! I’ve been waiting for your CKT recipe, hehe. :) Love how your blog enables me to eat all the food I miss (and how every single recipe I’ve tried works)! I never eat the “ham” in CKT though, have never warmed to eat. The lap cheong on the other hand is another story…. :P

    Thanks for this!

  14. joyce

    i’m gonna try this recipe tonite i know this dishes is really good… thank you for sharing your knowledge to everyone hopefully you get cooking show in foodnetwork …hope somebody sponsor you…i’m gonna be # 1 big fan of your t.v show….more power…god bless you…


  15. kl_changs

    Hor liau, Bee!! Very, very lau nuar already. Hehehe

    Have tried the version from the Penang Street Food book. Will try your uber-delicious looking CKT next :P

    Did you use frozen cockles?

  16. Hey!!

    Thanks! Thanks! Thanks for sharing THE secrets to good Penang Char Kway Teow!! This post reminds me of my failed attempt at CKT while I was still a student abroad in the U.S. Though back in Malaysia now. I’d still love to give it a shot sometime!!

    I absolutely love your blog! Inilah Semangat Malaysia!! Keep it up the wonderful work!! =)

  17. PT

    How did you manage to get some cockles in the state? It’s one of the things that I missed most from home! :) Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  18. Kim

    Hey, great stuff! Thanks for sharing the recipe, i am a malaysian living in France with constant craving for my kampung food of Penang… I made this dish tonight with your recipe, we all overate! heheh

  19. Ethelbert

    I so LOVE char kuey teow!!! I miss it sooo much! It’s my fave dish. I have tried cooking it few times and each time – disaster, majorly disappointing. I might give this a try, seeing as it’s step by step I should be ok..*fingers crossed*. Thanks for posting this…

  20. mvnw

    I wanted to have a nice char kuey teow since I left Penang almost 2 years ago and I can’t really get one that taste as good as the original Penang Char Kuey Teow from any restaurants and food places in Adelaide. They are all too oily, and I mean really, really too oily, and taste either too salty or burnt, or combination of both. Yuck! Never able to finish even one portion of it. Such a disappointment all the time. But, your post of this char kuey teow doesn’t take that much oil. Even though I am a bit reluctant to cook this dish by myself (because I think they are too much work and I am too lazy, hehehe) I might try to make this dish in the future (when the cooking mood strikes). And I’m sure your recipe tastes yummy… Thanks for sharing :)

  21. I’m arriving in Penang tomorrow and this post has seriously ramped up my excitement! I can’t wait to get stuck in to the street food, any advice regarding best areas etc would be greatly appreciated!

  22. Girl, if I ate shrimp (and I used to), I’d be all over this. My parents would love this. Maybe I’ll try it for them. looks amazingly refreshing, light and healthy!

  23. minote

    Hi! I tried your recipe last night for our dinner. My question is what kind of dry red chilli pepper did you use. I used the one that made in Mexico and I didn’t even use all 1 oz. of it for 2 people since it was already hot. I might be using different kind of dry red chilli pepper than what your recipe called for. And I can’t make it into paste but the CKT or my version of it at least tasted so darn good!


    • The 1 oz of dried red chili is not for 2 people, if you look at my instructions, I said add 1/2 tablespoon of the chili paste. The chili paste recipe will yield about 4-5 servings of the CKT.

  24. Kent

    CKT is my favorite dish when travelling to M’sia / Penang. ! When you refer to the dark soya sauce, is it the thin one (like a regular liquid), or is it thick like kecap manis?

  25. Love this dish! But I gotta ask where you got the see hum from .. were you cooking this in Malaysia? I did not think this was available in the west.

  26. hahahaaaa my mother want recipe of char kuey tiow mmmmm she very happy coz i help her to find recipe.she said this recipe very goooooooooooooood… thank. are u have myspace?mmmmm if u have can u approve me pleaseeeeeeeeeeee

  27. jaccobs

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I have tried making CKT at home a few times. It comes out pretty OK but still missing something, like you say, the wok hei. Did you cook this at home? I think that it’s not possible to cook as delicious as the hawker stalls because of this missing wok hei. How do you compensate for this? What kind of wok do you use? I guess you use gas stove instead of electric? Just wondering. Thanks for sharing! Love your blog!

      • Christina Kwok

        Hi Bee,

        thanx so much for this recipe, going to try it out, live in Switzerland and nostalgic too for all sorts of hawker noodle dishes. U’re right about it being as good as if not better than Padthai noodles. Any idea why Malaysian food isn’t as popular or well known around the world as Thai food? What are we missing in our marketing? If I could choose Malaysian, I wouldn’t go for Thai anytime.

      • Chris

        Thumbs up for this recipe – one of my make at home favorites on our cast iron wok – thanks so much for this insight. It will always be difficult to get the hawker/ restaurant wok hei unless one is kitted out with the high pressure burner – though you can still get good results at home but it has to be gas on full blast. A conventional home gas burner does about 3000 BTU (heat units) some not even that. Looking at the hawker setups they probably do 20,000-40,000 BTU and I know Restaraunt burners do 60,000-90,000 BTU and higher – what a gas bill. We have a Rambo burner ($240) that does 20,000 BTU but we cook outside.

  28. Mnie

    ive watched how the made it hawker style in penang..exactly like yours..
    and i believe urs tasted the same :)
    man now im hungry!!!!

    char kuey teow penang style is the best!! and correct, i wonder y they’re not famous like pad thai..

    now i want char kuey teow..hope i can somehow try it here in germany…first need to find the ingredients!!

  29. Dorothy

    Finally I got my Chow Kuey Teow right by following your receipe,thankyou. To John who wants to know how to soften the flat noodles. I put it in the microwave oven for two minutes to soften it. I usually buy a couple of flat noodles and leave them in my fridge for a week and they come out good after warming in the microwave oven.
    By the way, I do not receive your receipes anymore. I look forward to your new receipes because they are so good! I am ready to cook something for Chinese New Year from your receipes. A very Happy and Healthy Chinese New Year to you and your crew.

    • lieya

      Our microwave is busted so i left the chilled noodles on top of our car hood for 30minutes or so in the afternoon. Works for me. Made this today but i adjusted the soy sauce mixture to double of every measure except the soy sauce

  30. Su Yee

    Wah RM!… HOU KHENG ah…!!…. Been craving for CKT, now this post makes me crave for it even more…… :p Have to go find flat noodles and try some wok hei.. just hoping that I will the trigger the smoke alarm.. mISS Penang food so bad.. Thank you so much !!!!!!

  31. Renatta

    Thanks for posting this recipe! I’m a big fan of RasaMalaysia website. I’m an Indonesian but I grew up in Singapore and CharKueyTeow is definitely one of my fave dishes. Now I can try and cook this at home.

  32. Grace

    Thank you very much for this char kwey teow recipe. I have tried many versions, but for me, this one beats them all. The method is so uncomplicated. Prepared it for lunch yesterday….it was a success.

  33. hanis

    looks so good! was just wondering…for the soy sauce, is it kicap pekat or can i use the usual kicap manis/masin…eg. kicap cap habhal type? can’t wait to try it out!

  34. AYSHA

    Hi, I love to eat Char Kuey Teow and I really want to have a go at your recipe. I have a few questions regarding some of the ingredients: is it Malaysian soy sauce/dark soy sauce? I don’t think I’ve come across it in london…can I use indonesian kecap manis instead or is that the same thing? Thanks!

  35. AYSHA

    Hi, me again! I went looking for malaysian dark soy sauce but was unable to find it so will use kecap manis instead – would you suggest to adjust any of the other flavourings to make it less sweeter and more smokier? This recipe also requires soy sauce – is that regular (chinese?) soy sauce? Thanks!

  36. Amelia Chee

    Cooked it according to your steps, what can I say? It’s delicious! Technique is indeed the key, thank you, Bee for sharing. To those of you who haven’t try it, this is very worth trying and you won’t be disappointed for sure!

  37. Jacelyn

    i saw somewhere on a cooking show before that restaurants pan fry the kuey teow with some oil to brown it slightly before frying it. This supposedly adds more flavor to it. But i think it was a recipe for “wat tan hor”. Can that be applied to char kuey teow as well? I tried pan frying the kuey teow and the kuey teow stuck together into clumps.

  38. Shirley

    Street food is the yummiest, not to mention a great way to experience a country’s culture. I wish I had a wok to try out this recipe!

  39. Beth

    Hi Bee
    Love your recipes. A big Thank you from Australia.
    Our whole family LOVES Char Kwey Teow so it is terrific to finally see your recipe. Thanks.
    Do you or any readers have tips for a good Malaysian restaurant in the northern LA area? My husband visits there a few times a year and has yet to locate one. He’s missing his Laksa and CKT. :-)
    Thanks again

  40. That is one marvelous dish! So flavorful and beautiful. A combination of ingredients that is impossible to resist.



  41. Good point about why isn’t char koay teow as popular as pad thai. I’m surprised people know more about Thai food than Malaysian food since Malaya was a British colony, so the West was more exposed to Malaysian culture than Thai. I guess since Thailand tourism exploded in the last 20 years is probably the reason Thai food is more well known now.

    But it’s hard to replicate the char koay teow in Penang. Just ask Singapore…

  42. ping

    I have been following your recipes they work wonderfully. It would be great if the number of serving is provided.

  43. Ty

    I have searched everywhere for “the perfect” way to make Char Kway Teow, and this turned out perfectly. I’ve tried to make Char Kway Teow, like 15 times before and they turned out horribly. Following this recipe made a most amazing home cooked Char Kway Teow.

    After cooking it several times I began experimenting with non traditional additions. Being portugeuse I introduced some finely chopped linguica and that added a very interesting kick. Thank so much for sharing this recipe!

  44. Adam

    I dont know how to thank you for that amazing recipes , love you all my heart, i beg you for one more thing if you know of corse ,some penang fried rice recipes, thank you again

    European addicted to asian food, good food and that here is definitely good

  45. Myriam

    Hi Bee and first thanksfor your super-duper website I just found.
    Having studied at Penang (USM) for semester, me and my morrocan flatmate fell totally in love with Char Keow Teow ! I think we ate that every 2 days minimum! Of course I generally love the food in Malaysia, the Char Keow Teow remains my all time favorite.
    Saddly, there’s 1 malay restaurant in PAris, that doesn’t do my favorite stuff, and the Char Keow Teow in particular.

    I tried to cook it a couple of times but it never tastes right. Just ok, but never close to the real thing.

    I’ll practice with your recipe, and will go on dreaming about Malaysian Food ! (I miss Malaysia sooo much…)


  46. Eve

    I love this receipe. Its so easy and most important its so yummy. My kids love it. I am so glad that this receipe has been shared with us. Thanks. A few query indeed. Why sweet dark sauce is not used in this receipe instead its using sugar? Aside, Do I have to maintain high heat on wok throughout the cooking or I can reduce heat once Kuay Teow is in the wok. I would also like to know how many portion is this quantity of 1lb kuay Teow cater for.

  47. Eddie Hoos

    I have only tried to make Char Kuey Teow once and it was disasterous! lol I had it in a restaurant in San Francisco but it seemed different than your recipe. But my question is: is dark soy the same as kecap manis or do I need something different? Thanks. I am determined to learn as much as I can about Malaysian cooking as I can and want to make this again. Thanks

  48. The best CKT I had in Penang street stall was inside some warehouse in Betu Ferringhi in some back street. Do you know it Bee? Another secret the stall shared with us is to make only one portion at a time. It was a mighty long wait cause there were 7 of us but so worth it. Now, we can cook it with your recipe, yay, thx. Glad you mentioned hot wok, my mom would have hers screaming hot with quite a lot of oil. I’ve not made this, kinda intimidating but I’m going to try this.

  49. Leena

    Hi Bee,

    I wash the kuey theow, and it sticks. Shoud I not wash it? Otherwise the char kuey theow tastes good. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  50. Gillian

    AFter reading Grace Yong’s books about Breath of the Wok and Stir-frying to the Sky’s edge, I tried her special wok seasoning makeover technique five times and finally got ‘wok hei’ in jsut about everything cooked in my wok. I think what’s great is everyone can achieve ‘wok-hei’ cooking at home.

  51. Norris

    Hi, Nice recipe. I first tasted Char Kueh Teow in Singapore hawker stalls. Couldn’t get enough of it but have also had a number of variations. Some with beef and green capsicum, some with chicken and prawn. All different but still very tasty.
    I have also been cooking CKT at home since I was taught it by a hawker stall owner in Penang following the Commonwealth games in KL in ’98, and I find it curious that the order they cooked it, and which I follow is not the same as yours, although you say it is important.
    The spices and garlic were first in the wok, then the prawns and other fishy things (like cockles or squid tubes) and chinese sausage then the noodles, and then the egg and kecap manis. Yes, KM was used in the recipe and yes, it made it sweet, but I quite like that).The sprouts were always added last, and I use the tops of spring onions as the green instead of chives. Just a different flavour but they all taste wonderful in my opinion.

    • I am not sure about your order but cockles are never added at the beginning of the cooking as they will be way overcooked. There are no spices used other than the chili paste which is towards the end. Penang version of CKT doesn’t use kecap manis as it’s not supposed to taste sweet. Some hawkers add the bean sprouts towards the end but if you have great wok skills, the bean sprouts would not be overcooked even though it’s added at the beginning.

  52. Joyce

    Thanks for this recipe! Being an oversea student, I’ve never thought I’ll be able to eat this out of Malaysia let alone cooking it by myself! Though I didn’t manage to get Chinese sausages or cockles, it still tastes nice with bean sprout, eggs and prawns! Love it!

  53. PaulieG

    Looks good, I’ve tried other recipes with success but I’m going to give yours a go tonight.I lived in Penang (Butterworth to be precise) for 2 years and fell in love with the tucker. Unfortunately even in Aus to get anything authentic Malaysian you more often than not need to make it yourself. Have you tried it with fried belachan in the paste?

  54. Mei Su

    OMG.. I love your website a lot, the instructions are very clear, thank you so much for sharing this recipe and other mouth watering recipes

  55. Michelle

    Made this for dinner! My boyfriend and I both think it tastes really close to what we have back home! It’s even better than Chinese restaurant ones! Thanks for this :) it tastes like home, just that it’s in London!

  56. Nina

    I reside in Sydney and a restaurant chain here serves PAD THAI on their menu. The only problem is, their so-called PAD THAI is obviously CHAR KUEY TEOW and NOT PAD THAT! (I guess they did this switch because it’a a lot easier for Aussies to pronounce pad thai over char kwey teow. Lol) They are clearly miseducating the Aussies, but admittedly, they do make a very yummy and close to authentic char kwey teow. It even has that distinct wok hei flavor. :D

  57. Elise

    Char Kway Teow is one of my all time favorites. Exactly how long does it take to cook it? I’m kind of a beginner when it comes to dishes like these, so…

  58. Sy

    Can we substitute the dark soy with thick dark soy (caramel)? I bought a bottle back from Malaysia. How would I adjust the recipe using thick dark soy? I assume the Chinese brand thick dark soy is different than the kecap manis which is more sweeter.

  59. Derek Ling

    I tried this recipe and followed it to the letter. My dad, who is quite fussy, said it tasted like Penang CKT. I told him I just followed your recipe and was absolutely delighted that he liked it. I have cooked this so many times now. Much respect for the recipe. Peace

  60. Reza Esfandiari

    Hi, thanks for the recipe. Even though i’m not Chinese, but I love Chinese foods. I want to cook char kuey tewo at home. buy what is the bloody cockles? i can’t find it in my country. can it be replaced another ingredient?

  61. Catherine

    Can’t really fidn fresh kueh teow/ rice noodle here.. can only find the blocks kind and takes too much to separate all the strands.. any suggestion to either make the separation faster or alternative noodle? the thai flat noodle possibly? does it taste the same?

  62. Runamok

    First where could I get the noodles? I live in Florida, USA and am not sure what to look for.

    Back in the 70’s when I was still in school in KL I used to love eating this at a local stall but I swear I do not remember cockles in it but I remember squid or was it octopus?

    You have no idea how much I miss Malaysian food!

  63. Gordon

    Yeah your recipe is spot on. Made your way is nearly as good as my favourite CKT cooked on raging firewood flames in Seremban by a third or fourth generation hawker.

  64. Steven

    This is a damn good recipe. I tried it with ur steps for serving 1. I made the 2nd batch a bit differently. I ‘tumised’ the sambal before the noodles. It tasted better, less ‘raw’ chilli taste. used duck egg. Tasted great thank you.

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