The Char Koay Teow stall along Siam Road, Penang has gotta be one of the best in town. And a good thing about it is you won’t be charged exorbitantly for a plate of Char Koay Teow – something that is supposed to be cheap and affordable but is fast becoming a gourmet priced food just because of huge prawns. But err, if you are a health conscious person you probably need not read any further lol.
Here, my requirements for a delicious plate of Char Koay Teow are fulfilled with flying colors – ingredients are pleasantly fresh, a lot of lard is used (just look at the size of the lard cube), cooked on charcoal flame and brimming with ‘wok hei’. The hardworking uncle would continuously add fresh charcoal into the stove and fan it vigorously to maintain the heat when frying. And to the long debate on whether charcoal flame makes food taste better and in this case produce better ‘wok hei’, I can attest and say “yes, it does”.
Let me explain. This is a conclusion after interviewing so many Char Koay Teow sellers regarding this topic with my personal experience included. While gas flame does produce ‘wok hei’ it doesn’t do the job as good as charcoal because of the heat dispersion. Gas produced flame is only strongest at its peak while charcoal is all-around strong. So besides just cooking and charring the food surface, charcoal flame is able to impart warmth into the food itself hence making it more aromatic and delicious. Just think of BBQ food as an example and you will know what I mean.
A plate of ‘keh liao’ Char Koay Teow is RM4.20 and comes with just extra prawns, cockles and ‘lap cheong’. Nothing fancy is added, just pure original Char Koay Teow ingredients. Although there’s nothing wrong with being crazy enough to have your Char Koay Teow squatting at the road side under the hot sun, it is better to enjoy it at the coffee shop opposite. It’s perfectly ok, the coffee shop’s boss would even welcome you lol.
OK the uncle neither wants to be bothered with questions nor wished to be photographed up close so I didn’t do any of it. So let me warn you that you would be chased away if you are spotted with dSLR lol.
Anyway, I just know they have been running the stall at this location for more than 30 years after I talked to the assistant. Other than that I know nuts. But honestly we just need to know that this is a great Char Koay Teow not to be missed, and that alone is more than enough information.
Siam Road (Jalan Siam) Char Koay Teow
End of Siam Road
GPS Coordinates: N5 24.925 E100 19.219
Business hours: 3pm to 11pm (Closed on Mondays)
Note: Stall will shift to somewhere at Anson Road after 8pm