It’s a wok of art; char koay teow stalls with unique pulls


STARTING Dec 1, log on to Metro Online Broadcast (MOB) to nominate your favourite char koay teow eatery for The Star People’s Food Awards.

You stand a chance to win attractive prizes such as hotel stays and dining vouchers.

Those who nominate, vote or successfully share a link stand a chance to win attractive prizes.

Nominations are open for the first 10 days of the month (Dec 1 to 10), followed by voting from Dec 15 until the end of the month. Here are three more nominees under the Char Koay Teow category.

ROBERT’S CHAR KUEY TEOW

(Inside Say Huat Restaurant), 1083 Jalan 17/27 in Section 17 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

You don’t have to be in Penang to savour a plate of piping hot char koay teow. One popular stall is Robert’s in Section 17, Petaling Jaya.

Although the man behind the wok is not Robert, he is most often referred to by the name of his stall.

“Robert is my sifu (master) who taught me how to fry my first plate of char koay teow,” Lim Cheng Joo said, adding that the man was also his brother in-law.

Lim, who picked up the skill during his secondary school days, said he was not interested in studying and was instead interested in learning to fry char koay teow.

“After completing my Form 2 education, I left school and followed my sister in hopes of finding a job. That was when she recommended that I learn how to make the dish,” said the 41-year-old, who has been serving char koay teow for 19 years.

In order to keep the family recipe and brand alive, Lim named his stall Robert’s Char Kuey Teow. His older brother and nephew, who also took up the trade, named their stall Robert’s, too.

Lim said his 60-year-old brother-in-law, Robert Khoo, had yet to retire and was still frying char koay teow at a stall in Damansara Kim.

“Any plate of char koay teow may look the same but it boils down to the taste. This is when the sauce and the way it is prepared matters most,” said the Penangite who is always eager to try his competitor’s dish.

To be good at preparing a plate of char koay teow, he said one must know how to adjust the fire when cooking and make sure only the freshest seafood is used.

Every plate comes with a generous amount of prawns and cockles topped with slices of Chinese sausages. Business hours are from 10.30am to 9pm daily except Friday.

A regular plate is priced at RM5, with an additional RM1 for a large portion. Lim also sells fried glass noodles in a similar style.

LAU WAN KUETIAU

Lot 13, Medan Selera Wawasan in SS3/33, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

In Medan Selera Wawasan, Lau Wan Kuetiau beckons visitors with its aromatic scent of fried koay teow wafting through the dimly lit corridor.

Penang is known as one of Malaysia’s major food hubs, if not the capital, for such delectable eats such as char koay teow.

Therefore, it was only apt that as a lover of char koay teow, Lau Wan, 60, learnt his recipe in Air Itam, Penang in 1981 although he originally hails from Teluk Intan, Perak.

Previously located at SS5B, Lau’s dish itself is a beauty, though modest in form. Lighter than the usual densely oil-coated fare, Lau uses silken koay teow and fresh bean sprouts from Ipoh.

Priced at RM6 for a big plate and RM5 for a small one, his version is pork-free and fried using vegetable oil.

Like most fried koay teow in KL and PJ, it does not have the tongue-scorching spicy zing. Instead, it is doused with white pepper as well as his own splendid chilli paste and soy sauce mixture.

Nevertheless, the authentic Penang flavours are intact, complete with cockles and a couple of prawns.

It is served with a side of a homemade blended pickled chilli sauce that adds spice and a hint of vinegary acidity. The prawns are cooked unshelled to heighten its savoury aspects while adding a pinch of succulent sweetness.

Lau fries the cockles either partially cooked so as to keep its fresh springiness, or close to raw and bloody for that extra juiciness.

Lau Wan Kuetiau is open Wednesdays through Mondays, from 5pm to 10pm and closed every Tuesday.

RESTORAN YONG SHENG

Jalan USJ 14/1l, 47630 Subang Jaya, Selangor

Char koay teow is a uniquely South-East Asian dish and of all the places to get them, Lorong Selamat in Penang has a reputation for being among the best.

But with Klang Valley being home to many Penangites, surely it is not impossible to find a few good char koay teow hawker stalls.

“Lorong Selamat char koay teow is famous because the stalls there use very big prawns,” said Jimmy Lee, who moved his stall from its previous location in Klang to USJ about seven years ago.

Lee, affectionately known by his regular customers as Uncle Jimmy, runs the Lorong Selamat Penang char koay teow stall in Restoran Yong Sheng (formerly known as Restoran Lam Hing Leong), USJ 14, Subang Jaya.

However, he admitted that his recipe was not the same as the original Lorong Selamat char koay teow; the stall is named after the fact that he and his wife are from Lorong Selamat.

The stall, which opens for breakfast and lunch, is one of the leading char kway teow stalls in USJ and his friendly persona has earned him many regular customers.

Lee’s standard version of the popular dish uses not just koay teow, but mixes in a small portion of yellow noodles as well.

The dish has all the essential ingredients — bean sprouts, shrimp, cockles and pork lard croutons — with the addition of Chinese sausage (lap cheong).

However, what sets this char koay teow apart is the chilli and pepper added to it.

The result is a char koay teow dish that is just spicy enough to satisfy a discerning Malaysian’s tastebuds.

The smallest portion of char koay teow costs RM4.50 and the price goes up according to portion size and requests for additional ingredients.

The Lorong Selamat Penang char koay teow stall is open from 7am to 2pm daily, except on Sundays.

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Lifestyle , MOB , char koay teow

   

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