Ooook, so when it comes to the best Char Koay Teow in Penang I am sure Ah Leng Char Koay Teow at Jalan Dato Keramat is one of them. Just consider the size of the prawns being used alone, they are so huge it would be shocking for first time eaters. The distinctive sweet prawn flavor and the thick and crunchy prawns are exactly what Ah Leng is famous for.
I got lots of response when I showed this photo to people who haven’t seen or tried Ah Leng Char Koay Teow before. Most of them are very skeptical about this special plate of Char Koay Teow that costs RM10. Some say I have been cheated lol. And some even commented that the plate used is actually a dim sum plate to make the prawns feel huge. Most Penangites were able to identify it at first sigh though, no surprise there.
Well, believe it or not the prawns are really that huge. So huge 4 of them are enough to cover almost the whole portion of koay teow from sight.
Ah Leng was open on the 4th day of Chinese New Year and there were already a huge crowd of customers. The queue was so long it wasn’t even funny. Since I had anticipated this especially during CNY, the one hour waiting time was still *quite* bearable lol.
The RM10 version of koay teow not only has 4 thick and unbelievably crunchy sea-fresh prawns, it also has extra ‘liao’, which is mantis prawns. Anyway, the deluxe version was ordered purely because I have never tried it before. In my previous visit I was less adventurous and more ‘kiam siap’ lol.
Although the addition of mantis prawns injected even much more flavor into the koay teow, it might not necessary be a good thing – depending on how you like your koay teow lah. For me, I felt it was an overkill. Plus, the mantis prawns’ texture was a little dry and distractive. So only the normal version for me in future because it is good enough already.
If I were to compare Ah Leng and the famous Lorong Selamat Char Koay Teow (neh, the notorious one where the cook sports a red-beret and packs an attitude), in all honesty I feel the latter is better simply for being more skillful and able to infuse more wok hei in her koay teow. Complete with comparable sized fresh prawns too.
But when it comes to customer service, of course Ah Leng is better. You won’t have to queue in line for your plate under the hot sun, you are certain to find an empty table, you can make specific orders, and most importantly you will not be asked to leave if you cannot afford to wait.
What do you think?
Kafe Khoon Hiang (opposite ex Federal Cinema)
Jalan Dato Keramat
GPS Coordinates: N5 24.779 E100 19.171