• Jonathan Shiek

Is This The Best Char Kuey Teow In Malaysia?

“Because I’ve been making Char Kuey Teow for more than 60 years; people come from all over the world to taste it. I’m so proud knowing they’ve traveled to my hometown of Penang for my food. Even though we don’t speak the same language, when I see them finishing their plate, I know they are happy.” Tan Chooi Hong (Uncle Tan).

Noodles, soy sauce, eggs, cockles, bean sprouts, lapcheong, and shrimps tossed into a heated wok. These ingredients are well known to Malaysians who have been eating Char Kuey Teow for as long they can remember. 

A staple dish in the street food culture of Malaysia, it is hard to pick favourites. But when it comes down to the store on 82 Siam Road, George Town, most people would agree that Uncle Tan, who has been cooking for more than 60 years, is a legend in the field. 

A sturdy 79-year-old who has cooked the single dish from a wok-cart attached to a bicycle for decades, Uncle Tan cooks on charcoal, frying one order at a time for maximum flavour and wok hei, which translates to “breath of the wok”. He expertly cooks the right portion over the right temperature to bring out the smoky depth of flavour that charcoal adds to the dish. 

The secret to his success according to his daughter is not the use of charcoal or any secret sauce. She owes it instead to the skill that he’s perfected over 60 years. 

To this day, people have flown to Penang from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to wait in line for hours under the hot sun, just to try Uncle Tan’s Char Kuey Teow. 

“I don’t remember how old I was when I started. But Char Kuey Teow is all I know,” says Uncle Tan who didn’t go to school but stood by his father’s side cooking Char Kuey Teow every day.

As one of the oldest Char Kuey Teow legends in Malaysia, Uncle Tan is widely revered for serving up the most delicious, flavoursome Char Kuey Teow in Malaysia. 

You can find Uncle Tan’s shop at 82 Siam Road, George Town, about one block off the corner with Anson Road.

Source: BBC

#charkueyteow #malaysianfood #penang

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