Penang Char Koay Teow


10 Minutes


5.5 Minutes




I was born and grew up in Penang, Malaysia. I have been eating char koay teow since I was a kid. It is a common staple street food for the locals eaten throughout the day as a light meal. In Penang, it was traditionally cooked using pork lard for its high fat content with light and dark soy with rice noodle and a bit of Chinese chives (same as garlic chives) and bean sprouts as cheap food for labourers. It has been around over a century cooked by the early Chinese settlers who immigrated from China. Over time, more ingredients were added, including cockles, Chinese sausage "lap cheong", eggs and prawns. It become so popular in Penang that Malaysians from interstates and Singaporeans will travel to Penang for their weekend holidays just to eat Penang street food, and the number 1 on their list is Penang char koay teow. Up until today, whenever I am back in Penang, I will eat char koay teow at least once or twice a week at my favourite stalls. And, when I am homesick, I will make my own char koay teow at home in Australia. It is simple to make but has few tricks to making that perfect stir fried rice noodle in your own kitchen. This simple stir fry rice noodle is popular around the world that many places call it "Penang Char Koay Teow" but it is nothing like the real thing back in my hometown, Penang. It should only be known as "char koay teow" and not "Penang char koay teow"

Penang Char Koay Teow


  1. Prepare the ingredients to get ready for stir frying. Loosen the rice noodles from its packet. Cut the Chinese chives into sections about 3-4 inches apart. Mince the garlic. Slice Chinese sausage "lap cheong" into thin slices. Wash the bean sprouts

  2. Make the chilli paste. Roughly chop all the ingredients. Put in a food processor and pulverise until its smooth

  3. Mix the sauces

  4. Heat up a wok. Add the minced garlic once it's hot. Then add prawns and Chinese sausage, follow by chilli paste. Stir fry until slightly smoky and aromatic, then add rice noodles and the sauce mixture. Continue to stir fry. Add chives and bean sprouts. Mix through and continue stir frying. Remove and plate

How to make

Remove the rice noodle from a packet. Loosen some of the rice noodle enough to make one plate to serve 1-2 people.

Mince 2 cloves of garlic finely and set aside for stir-frying.

Wash and then cut a bunch of Chinese chives into sections about 3-4 inches apart and set aside.

Wash a bunch of bean sprout and set aside.

Break one egg into a small bowl. Sprinkle a dash of ground white pepper and salt. Set aside.

Mix 2 tablespoons of light soy and 1 tablespoon of dark caramel sauce with a sprinkle of ground white pepper. Mix through with a teaspoon and set aside.

Wash and dry the prawns if required and set aside.

Slice 1 Chinese sausage "lap cheong" into thin slices. Place 4-5 thin slices in a small sauce and set aside, or use all if you prefer. This is optional.

Pre-soak the dried chillies until soft. Roughly chop the fresh red chillies, garlic and french shallot. Add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulverised until its smooth. Set aside 1 teaspoon to use in the stir-fry. The remaining can be kept in the fridge.

Heat a cup of cooking oil in a hot wok. Once the oil is hot, toss in the minced garlic for 15-20 stir frying. Add the prawns and then the sliced Chinese sausage and stir fry for 30-40 seconds before adding 1 teaspoon of chilli paste. Continue to stir fry for 30 seconds until aromatic. Then add the rice noodle and the sauces. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Then add the Chinese chives and bean sprouts. Continue to stir fry for 1. Turn off the heat, remove and plate.



Share Recipe


  • One small plate of rice noodle

  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced

  • Chilli paste - 5 dried chillies, 3 fresh red long chilli, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 small french shallots

  • A handful of Chinese chives

  • A handful of bean sprouts

  • 3 large prawns without the shell

  • 5 thin slices of Chinese sausage "lap cheong" (this is optional)

  • 1 cup of cooking oil

  • 2 tablespoons of light soy

  • 1 tablespoon of dark caramel soy

  • 1 egg

  • Salt and ground white pepper