[Penang] When you ask for Char Koay Teow recommendations in Penang, Siam Road Charcoal Char Kuey Teow is often one of the first names mentioned.
Of course there are other stalls such as Ah Leng Char Koay Teow, Mei Le Hwa Duck Egg Char Koay Teow, Lorong Selamat Char Koay Teow, Tiger Char Koay Teow, to Left-handed Char Koay Teow.
The Michelin Bib Gourmand listed Siam Road Charcoal Char Kuey Teow is opened for only half a day, and specialises exclusively in one dish: Stir-fried Koay Teow.
The stall used to be helmed by Uncle Tan Chooi Hong, but his son has taken over.
It was indeed a sight watching him manoeuvre with a well-seasoned wok, charcoal and a steady flame. In that heat and hot weather – props to the hawker.
My experience involved a substantial wait of an hour and a half, indicative of its popularity.
The usual recommendation is to come at least in a pair, so that one could take turns queuing while the other has a drink in the kopitiam.
However, be mindful of the stall’s limited hours and the possibility of the queue being cut off before closing time to ensure timely closure.
I saw some customers come at 5pm or so (an hour before closing time), but were asked to leave.
The dish cost RM8 (no egg), RM9 (with egg) and RM 11 (large), featuring flat rice noodles stir-fried with cockles, bean sprouts, pork lard and chives.
They chose chicken eggs instead of duck though – a pity. I hear it used to taste better.
I guess Siam Road’s version of Char Kuey Teow was not just about the taste; it was a sensory experience.
The element that left me the deepest impression was the wok hei, or the breath of the wok, that truly makes it special – achieved only through high-heat cooking and years of experience.
It stayed hot with the smokiness almost throughout the meal.
The noodles were fresh and smooth, eggs added richness, the small amount of Chinese sausage provided a salty-sweet contrast, and the beansprouts offered some crunch.
The fresh, large shrimps were another highlight.
However, some people may feel the waiting time of more than an hour (even two) does not justify the taste of the dish. I can imagine why.
For those planning a visit, you do need to set aside time for the wait.
Siam Road Charcoal Char Kuey Teow
82, Jalan Siam, George Town, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 12pm – 6pm (Tues – Sat), Closed Mon, Sun
Google Maps – Siam Road Charcoal Char Kuey Teow
Other Related Entries
Ah Leng Char Koay Teow (Penang)