[Penang] Siam Road Char Koay Teow at No. 82 Siam Road, off Anson Road

I’d posted about this famous Siam Road Char Koay Teow spot in a separate thread earlier ([Penang] Char Kway Teow Showdown), but thought that the famous eatery - rated No. 14 in at the World Street Food Congress 2017’s of Top 50 Street Food in the World (organised by Makansutra Singapore) deserves its own thread to facilitate any online search for it.

Queues at Siam Road Char Koay Teow can stretch to between 1-2 hours during the weekends.

77-year-old Mr Tan Chooi Hong aka Old Man Char Koay Teow at Siam Road is now operating at 82 Siam Road (his old location was down the street at 110 Siam Road). He’s assisted by his son, 53-year-old Tan Kean Huat, who takes the orders, collects payments and serves the customers.

I avoided the crowd by being there at 11.30am, half an hour before his opening time at 12 noon. The crowd started appearing just past noon and the place was packed soon after.

Mr Tan’s char koay teow (RM6.50 per plate) still tasted as good as I remembered: the flat rice noodles properly seared till fragrant, seasoned with Mr Tan’s own secret blend of sauces and condiments, garlic, chili paste, and lots of pork lard. Beansprouts, chives, egg, a few thin slivers of Chinese waxed sausage, some cockles and a couple of fresh de-shelled shrimps were thrown in to complete his famous dish. His version is as traditional as they come.

Siam Road Char Koay Teow
82 Siam Road
10400 George Town
Penang, Malaysia
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12 noon -5pm. Closed on Sunday & Monday.


Wow! I would love to learn how to make this at home…

It would be great if you can have access to fresh flat rice noodles. The type used here in Penang for frying is slightly thicker (perhaps 0.75mm, compared to the 0.5mm type used for the soupy koay teow th’ng). Else, just ignore those little differences but make sure you use flat rice noodles.

To fry, use lard. Saute crushed garlic (no onions), shrimps, egg, blood cockles (optional), thin slivers of waxed Chinese sausages. Then add in the rice noodles, fresh beansprouts & chives. Season with good quality light soysauce and fish sauce.

“Koay teow” is the term we use in Penang & Singapore to refer to this type of flat rice noodles, which is of Teochew/Chaozhou origins and also used by the Fujianese/Hokkien Chinese. In Cambodia, the same noodles is called “kuy teav” (pronounced the same as “koay teow” when you hear it), whereas in Vietnam, it is called “hu tieu”. In Thailand, the noodles is called “kuay tiaw”.

For more reads on Cambodian “kuy teav”, see this article in Bon Appetit:


Thank you for the recipe/instructions, Peter. I’ve created a shopping list. I’m out the door soon. :grin:

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Hmmm. This exceeds my skill set and my tool availability! :disappointed_relieved:

You can make do with heavy frying pan. Penang hawkers use cast-iron woks, but even those are not easy to come by in Penang’s cookware shops as most woks sold nowadays are lighter, non-stick woks or else aluminium ones.

Just make sure you let your frying pan heat up as you need to sear the noodles to get that “wok hei” (wok-seared aroma).

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