Penang Char Kway Teow. Savoury, smoky rice noodles in a salty sweet sauce with Chinese sausage, fish cake, egg, shrimp, bean sprouts and garlic chives.
Ready in 30 minutes!
This serves well for lunch or dinner in just 30 minutes!
Popular in Malaysia
Penang Char Kway Teow is very popular in Malaysia. It’s a dish that you must try if you ever visit any hawker stands. The smoky chewy rice noodles with the variety of savoury protein with garlic chives and bean sprouts makes this one of those outstanding flavourful dishes that you will remember forever!
What does Char Kway Teow taste like?
Picture soft chewy rice noodles that are seasoned with a salty sweet soy and oyster sauce. The noodles are smoky from the charring action of the wok. Then in each bite, you get a taste of the Chinese sausage, fish cake, shrimp or egg with some bean sprouts and garlic chives to lighten the heaviness of the noodles.
Easy to make!
This char kway teow recipe is very easy to make and comes together in less than 30 minutes. In fact, the cooking process takes less than 10 minutes. You’re simply preparing your ingredients as listed and then frying them in one wok! It’s not hard at all. I also wanted to make this recipe very simple without any complexities so you can try it at home.
Keeping it simple
In Malaysia, they often add cockles to this dish but I'm omitting that and just keeping it simple with the protein by only using Chinese sausage, fish cake, shrimp and egg with garlic chives and bean sprouts with a few sauces.
What you’ll need
For this recipe you’ll need the following penang char kway teow ingredients:
- dried flat wide rice noodles
- Chinese pork sausages
- fish cake
- bean sprouts
- Garlic Chives
- chili garlic sauce
- vegetable oil
Char Kway Teow Noodle sauce:
- dark soy sauce
- sweet soy sauce, aka Kecap Manis
- oyster sauce
How to cook Penang Char Kway Teow
In a small bowl whisk together your noodle sauce ingredients.
In a separate bowl, beat your egg.
Soak dried rice noodles in hot boiling water for 4 minutes. Strain immediately. Rinse with cold water until cool to touch. Gently separate any noodles that are stuck together with your hands. Set aside.
In your pan set over medium high heat, add cooking oil. Once oil is hot, add shrimp and fry until shrimp is cooked. Then add Chinese sausage. Fry for 30 seconds. Remove and set aside.
Add more oil into the pan, fry your beaten eggs until glossy and scrambled. Push to the side, add fish cakes, and garlic. Fry for 10 seconds.
Add chili garlic sauce and mix with other ingredients.
If needed, add more oil followed by rice noodles and sauce. Mix everything together. Taste your noodles, they should be soft and chewy at this point. If not, add 2-4 tablespoons of water and cook until they are. Allow the noodles to char in the pan for that smoky flavour.
Toss in shrimp and sausage mixing with noodles.
Throw in bean sprouts and garlic chives. Fry for another 20 seconds.
Serve & enjoy!
Below are tips on making penang's famous char kway teow recipe:
Do not oversoak your noodles
Only soak your dried rice noodles for 4 minutes in hot boiling water. Strain immediately. Shock them with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Make sure to separate rice noodles with hands
Before cooking make sure you separate your rice noodles with your hands. When they come dried, the pieces that curl and bend are the ones that are very stuck together. So be sure to get those pieces.
Prepare your other ingredients ahead of time
The cooking process for this rice noodle dish is very quick, less than 10 minutes. So it’s important to ensure all your ingredients are prepared and lined up to toss into the pan.
Below are frequently asked questions about this authentic penang char kway teow recipe:
Where can I buy rice noodles?
You can purchase dried rice noodles most Asian grocers in their dried noodle section.
Where may I find Chinese sausage and fish cakes?
Any Chinese grocer will carry this item in the refrigerated section.
How do I find Kecap Manis or Sweet Soy Sauce?
Kecap Mani aka Sweet Soy Sauce, can be purchased at many Asian Grocers in the sauce aisle.
What if I can't find Sweet Soy Sauce?
If you can't locate Sweet Soy Sauce, just use Dark Soy Sauce but add some sugar.
Where can I find chili garlic sauce?
This can be found at most Asian grocers or at certain Western grocers in the international aisle. It’s often labelled as Sambal Oelek.
Char kway teow vs chow fun?
So you're probably wondering what's the difference between this dish and chow fun? This dish originates from Southeast Asia and it's popular in Malaysia and Singapore. Traditionally made with pork lard, sometimes shrimp and cockles. As for the sauce, Sweet Soy Sauce and Dark Soy Sauce is also used to give it that sweet salty taste.
Chow Fun is a Cantonese dish originating from Hong Kong and there are two styles - the wet saucy version and the dry kind. Typically, they don't add sweet soy sauce or cockles. The meat used in Chow Fun is usually beef.
What makes Char Kway Teow so good?
You can thank the ripping hot wok for its “wok hei” which in Chinese means, “breathe of wok”. This is when the oil hits the flaming wok and produces a smoke in the air. This smoke gives the noodles that smoky taste.
Is char kway teow healthy?
Honestly, I can’t say it’s a health food as it’s high in savoury fats and in sodium. However, if you’re looking for an indulgent noodle dish then this is it!
Is char kway teow the same as pad thai?
No, Char Kway Teow is quite different from Pad Thai. This dish originates from Malaysia. Pad Thai originates from Thailand. The flavour profiles are also very different. Char Kway Teow is more smoky and savoury. Pad Thai is more sweet, tangy and savoury. Char Kway Teow also does not use tamarind pulp nor fish sauce and pad thai does not contain fish cake, Chinese sausage, oyster sauce nor kecap manis.
Is Kway Teow spicy?
Yes it can be depending on the amount of chili garlic sauce you add.
Approved by my Malaysia husband!
I know there are many char kway teow recipes online but this it the best char kway teow approved by my Malaysian born husband! So I hope you give it a try. I also share many other recipes like this so check them out below.
Other recipes you may like!
Well, I hope you give my Penang Char Kway Teow a try! It always excites me when you make my recipes and I hope this is one you try and most importantly, enjoy.
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Penang Char Kway Teow (30-min.)
- 200 grams dried wide flat rice noodle
- 6 jumbo prawns deveined & peeled except for tails
- 1 Chinese style pork sausage thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup fish cake thinly sliced
- 1 egg beaten
- ½ cup mung bean sprouts
- ½ cup garlic chives chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce aka Sambal Oelek
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2-4 tbsp water for cooking noodles if needed
- In a small bowl whisk together your noodle sauce ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, beat your egg.
- Soak dried rice noodles in hot boiling water for 4 minutes. Strain immediately. Rinse with cold water until cool to touch. Gently separate any noodles that are stuck together with your hands. Set aside.
- In your pan set over medium high heat, add cooking oil. Once oil is hot, add shrimp and fry until shrimp is cooked. Then add Chinese sausage. Fry for 30 seconds. Remove and set aside.
- Add more oil into the pan, fry your beaten eggs until glossy and scrambled. Push to the side, add fish cakes, and garlic. Fry for 10 seconds.
- Add chili garlic sauce and mix with other ingredients.
- If needed, add more oil followed by rice noodles and sauce. Mix everything together. Taste your noodles, they should be soft and chewy at this point. If not, add a couple tablespoons of water and cook until they are. Allow the noodles to char in the pan for that smoky flavour.
- Toss in shrimp and sausage and mix with noodles.
- Throw in bean sprouts and garlic chives. Fry for another 20 seconds. Remove off heat. Serve & enjoy!