Did you watch The Amazing Race Penang episode last night? Catch it here if you’d missed it.
I haven’t been home to Penang since last June so I have been craving all sorts of Penang hawker/street food, including Penang Hokkien Char—a stir-fried noodles dish in a savory sauce and served with a dollop of sambal belacan at hawker centers.
A similar dish found in Malaysia is KL Hokkien Mee (check out the guest post by Citrus and Candy), which is thick noodles in a very dark-color sauce commonly found in KL and its surrounding areas. Penang Hokkien Char consists of a medley of yellow noodles and rice vemicelli, in a lighter sauce. I love eating Hokkien Char, flavoring the noodles with the pungent and spicy sambal belacan, it’s very tasty.
Penang Hokkien Char is usually served by Char Hor Fun hawkers, meaning you probably won’t find a stand-alone hawker stall selling only Hokkien Char, but if the hawker sells Char Hor Fun, it’s very likely that he/she also offers Hokkien Char, E-Fu Noodles, and others noodle dishes. So, be on the lookout for Char Hor Fun vendors if you wish to try this dish in Penang.
This is my easy Penang Hokkien Char recipe and you can get my sambal belacan recipe here. Enjoy!
6 oz. vermicelli (soaked in warm water until soft, drained)
6 oz. yellow noodles (rinsed with cold water, drained)
6 shrimp (shelled and deveined)
4 fish balls (cut into slices)
2 oz. pork (cut into slices)
2 oz. choy sum/Chinese mustard green (cut into 2-inch lengths)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
4 oz. bean sprouts
2 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
3 dashes white pepper powder
2 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup water
Fried shallot crisps
Heat up a wok on high flame/heat and add cooking oil. When the oil is heated, add the minced garlic and stir-fry until aromatic. Add the pork slices, shrimp, fish balls, into the wok and stir-fry until they are half-cooked. Add in the choy sum, bean sprouts, noodles, vermicelli and toss all the ingredients quickly with the spatula. Add the soy sauce, sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), water, pepper powder, and keep stirring until the noodles are cooked through (make sure not to overcooked the noodles). Dish out and garnish with some fried shallot crisps and serve immediately with a dollop of sambal belacan.
In the United States, I can’t find Malaysian thick soy sauce, which is slightly sweet in taste so I often use Indonesian kecap manis as a substitute. If you are in Malaysia, use the local thick soy sauce. If you can’t find kecap manis, you can use Chinese-style dark soy sauce, but you might want to add a pinch of sugar to balance the flavor of this dish.
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