[Penang, Malaysia] "Char Koay Kak" (Fried Radish Cake) in Kimberley Street

Char koay kak seller, Ng Hooi Gaik, 59, took over the business started by her mother 60 years ago. She operates from around 7.30am on Kimberley Street, near the junction with Cintra Street, and usually finishes around 11am, if not earlier. You can buy her “koay kak” and eat it at Sin Guat Keong coffeeshop nearby.

Lard is an indispensable ingredient when frying this dish. Mdm Ng still sticks to the old cooking traditions and only uses charcoal or firewood for cooking.

Mdm Ng uses banana leaves (lined on the outside with newspaper) and folded into large cone-shaped containers for her “koay kak”.

Char koay kak, fried with beansprouts, eggs and chilli paste, flavoured with garlic, soysauce and fish sauce - a cloud of aromatic deliciousness wafted out when one opens the packet.

Wrapping piping-hot freshly-fried “koay kak” in banana leaves impart an intoxicating aroma to the overall dish.

Mdm Ng operates from 7.30am till she sells out around 10.30am daily. Her hawker stall is parked near the intersection of Kimberley Street and Cintra Street.


Oh man! That looks so good! Thanks for posting. I really enjoy your pictures and reports even though I’m nowhere near the area. Keep 'em coming!

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Thanks, seamunky. Too much good food on Penang to post all here - I usually select a couple of the more interesting (traditional) ones to share. Glad you enjoy them :slight_smile:

This is one of the reasons to hope that this aspect of the country doesn’t move forward in time. The moment development happens, then there’s clean air requirement (not that its a bad thing in general). there goes the charcoal…and the cart…

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As food columnist and cookbook writer, Robyn Eckhardt, told Masterchef UK judge, John Torode, when they visited this stall, the Holy Trinity of Penang hawker food is “cook with charcoal, cook using pork lard, and serve hot on fresh banana leaves”. Mdm Ng’s “char koay kak” stall ticked all the boxes.

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Sad to report that Mdm Ng Hooi Gaik has passed away 2 days ago (19 Jan 2019) after fighting cancer for a year.
Her family members now run the “char koay kak” stall at the same spot.

Penang lifted many of its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions over the last weekend, including the previous ban on street-side hawker stalls.

This morning, I was back at the Ng family’s char koay kak stall, which was doing pretty good business.

I put in my usual order: “koay kak” (steamed rice cake) sans the beansprouts, which I think gave the overall dish a different flavour. Mine was simply stir-fried in lard, with a chopped preserved radish, garlic, egg and chives, seasoned with fish sauce and light soy sauce.

The stall has its steady stream of regulars, though it also has Food Panda delivery riders now for those still preferring to stay-at-home amidst the pandemic.

Still one of the best “char koay kak” in George Town, IMO. I personally prefer my rice cakes to be in larger pieces, not chopped up into tiny pieces during the frying process like what many hawkers tend to do. Over here, Mr Ng’s version was simply perfect for me.


Another firm favourite! I also like the version with little dried shrimp in it. As mentioned before, not a fan of rice but love it in other form.

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