We’re big fans of Char Kway Teow after first having the dish at Sedap in London, so had to hunt down some of the more popular spots in Penang whilst we were there. We’re no experts but after doing some research we ended up trying 5, shared here from our most to least favourite:
Siam Road (Near junction with Anson road)
Arrived at 3PM before the stall owner came round the corner pushing his cart heavily loaded with noodles and beansprouts. There were already a few people camped in the coffee shop down the road which was full by 3:15. Excellent flavours from generous amount of chinese sausage (compared to others we’d had, and I miss it when it’s not there), fresh tasting plump prawns and large cockles. Cooked over charcoal. RM5.5
Lorong Selamat (Red Beret)
A close second. The whole of this dish glistened in lard, with absolutely huge prawns which were perhaps slightly better tasting than Siam road, but the charred flavour here wasn’t as good. We ordered the large (after wishing I’d ordered more at Siam Road) which was really expensive at RM13, not sure what justified the price, I guess the fact that tourists like me pay it.
Tiger Char Kway Teow (Ping Hooi - Lebuh Carnarvon)
The first time we tried to come here (Tuesday afternoon) the stall wasn’t open. When we visited on a Friday morning, the main chef wasn’t there and his assistant was cooking, so we may not have had this at its best. The duck egg added a richness, along with 3 good sized prawns and large cockles. Wok hei could have been better, and if I’m nit picking it was perhaps a bit too salty but still very enjoyable. RM6.5
Sin Guat (Kimberly Street)
I’ve read good things about this place so I’m not sure what went on here. We had it during a chowdown with klyeoh, so maybe it was just buried by the other delights we had this evening, but this was a bit lac lustre and didn’t stand out. Maybe it was an off day or the main guy wasn’t cooking, or maybe you have to order the mantis prawn variant to get the good stuff.
Joo Hooi Cafe (Jalan Penang)
Came here just after touching down in Penang, mainly for our first experience of Asam Laksa and Cendol. Intended to order rojak here as I’d read it was good, but they didn’t seem to offer it, one of the vendors told me to go down the street and get it from there. The place has recently changed hands and I think it might now be connected to the cendol operation (some staff were wearing branded clothes and the bottled water was branded, although confusingly the cendol stall also seems to have a shop further down the road). Anyway, ordered the char kway teow after failing to find the rojak and it was dissapointing, give it a miss. Looking at the picture that surprises me as it looks good, but the flavours just weren’t there. Portion was also quite meagre.