Char Kway Teow (Fried Rice Noodles)
Updated: May 13, 2018
Probably the greatest Singaporean dish ever, next to Hainanese Chicken Rice.
A staple of Southeast Asia, this is one dish you cannot miss if you're dropping by the region!
Char Kway Teow actually comes in different variations in this part of the world, depending if you're in Singapore or Malaysia. In Penang, there's the Penang Char Kway Teow which is slightly different from the Singaporean version. It's lighter in colour since no dark caramel sauce is used and hence appears less charred, usually doesn't come with cockles and fishcakes unlike its Singaporean cousin, but is definitely no less tasty. In Thailand, there's also the Pad Thai which is another variation as well, except the seasoning ingredients are entirely different and the noodles are skinnier as well, so that's a post for another day.
For me, the Singaporean version has the following characteristics:
1. Charred with lots of "wok-hei"(Cantonese for literally flavour of the wok)
2. Generous amount of egg, Chinese sausage(lupcheong) and cockles
3. Depending on which hawker you visit, some versions are "wetter", as they incorporate stock somewhere in between the frying process. I actually like this version better.
But of course, the secret to any good Char Kway Teow has got to be lard. Without lard, any CKT, even with lots of wok-hei, would just fall flat.
So here's my version of this great local hawker classic. I dare not say this can beat my favourite hawker hero's, but it still tastes pretty good!
Char Kway Teow
(feeds 4-5 persons)
600g flat rice noodles
400g yellow noodles
1 Chinese sausage, sliced into thin pieces
200g fishcakes, sliced
150g fresh cockles
1 spring onion, ends removed and chopped into 2cm pieces
4 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp lard pieces
~100ml pork or chicken stock (optional)
Limes for garnishing (use the small round ones)
3 tbsp kecap manis (thick black caramel sauce)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp dark soya sauce
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp sambal chilli paste
In a heated wok, fry the garlic in 4-5 tablespoons of oil till it turns fragrant.
Add half of the lard pieces to the garlic, then add in the Chinese sausage, fishcakes and beansprouts and continue stir-frying.
Add the yellow noodles into the mix and toss evenly, followed by the flat rice noodles and the seasonings. As the rice noodles are softer, they cook faster, hence you'll have to act quickly on this.
Add the stock into the noodles, followed by the rest of the lard.
Push the noodles to one side of the wok, quickly crack your eggs on the empty side and swirl to cook the eggs. Once the eggs appear to be half-cooked, cover the eggs with the noodles.
Add in the spring onions and a bit more dark soya sauce if required and continue stir-frying for another 10-20 seconds till evenly tossed.
Dish up onto a plate and serve.