Char Kway Teow: The Emperor of Malaysian Noodles

Char Kway Teow: The Emperor of Malaysian Noodles

The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 2 servings

One of the Malaysian noodle dishes that one should not miss trying if visiting Malaysia (especially Penang) or Singapore, or dining at a Malaysian restaurant is char kway teow. This stir-fried dish has wide rice noodles, meat (pork or Chinese sausages, or both), seafood (shrimp, squid or cockles) and vegetables (Chinese chives and mung bean sprouts are the most basic) seasoned with soy sauce and belacan, the Malaysian shrimp paste. Modern versions almost always include stirred whole eggs. 

All About the Noodles

The best noodle to use for making char kway teow is called kway teow in Malaysia which is essentially the same as ​shahe fen or he fen (also known as ho fun), the kind used for cooking Chinese beef chow fun, flat rice noodles about three-quarters of an inch wide and a little less than a quarter of an inch thick. They are sold fresh in Asian stores (vacuum-packed, in some cases). I like to drop them in briskly boiling water for a minute and dumping them in iced water before stir-frying. If unable to find fresh rice noodles, dried varieties are available. Follow the package directions for use in stir fries.

This recipe dispenses with the pork lard part. 

Stir-frying always requires consistently high heat.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste

  • 1 generous pinch sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili paste, optional

  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) pork belly, skinless, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, or to taste

  • 8 medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

  • 3 Chinese chives, or scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths

  • 4 ounces wide rice noodles

  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts

  • 2 large eggs

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Char Kway Teow: The Emperor of Malaysian Noodles ingredients

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  2. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat.

    oil in the pan

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  3. Saute the shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, sugar, and chile paste (if using) until fragrant.

    Saute the shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, sugar, and chili paste

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  4. Turn up the heat and add the pork slices. Drizzle ​with a little soy sauce. Stir fry for a minute or just until the pork is no longer pink.

    pork slices cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  5. Add the shrimps and chives. Continue stir-frying for another minute.

    pork, shrimp and chives cooking in a pan

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  6. Throw in the rice noodles. Drizzle in more soy sauce. Stir fry until the noodles are heated through.

    add rice noodles to the mixture in the wok

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  7. Lastly, add the bean sprouts and eggs. Stir-fry just until the eggs are set and the sprouts are slightly wilted.

    eggs frying in a pan with the rice noodle ingredients

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  8. Taste and add more soy sauce, if needed.

    add soy sauce to the rice noodles to the pan

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  9. Divide the char kway teow between 2 plates or shallow bowls and serve at once.

    Char Kway Teow: The Emperor of Malaysian Noodles in bowls

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

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