Char Kway Teow
The dish has Teochew origins and is believed to have come from Chaozhou in China’s Guangdong province. Initially, rice vermicellli was used but it was later replaced by yellow wheat noodles. In the 1950s and 60s, duck eggs were commonly used in the dish, but they were replaced by cheaper chicken eggs.
During the Japanese Occupation of Singapore and Malaysia, the noodles were replaced by tapioca and the dish cooked in red palm oil, which gave the dish a red colour and a different taste.
Though lard is traditionally used to fry the dish, the pig virus epidemic in 1999 led many hawkers to use vegetable oil instead.
The dish consists of kway teow or flat rice noodles that are stir-fried at high heat with light or dark soy sauce, chili, belachan, prawns, bean sprouts and chopped Chinese chives. Egg, cockles, Chinese sausage, fishcake, beansprouts and also commonly added. The traditional version is stir-fried with pork fat. The dish is served oily but dry, or wet.
Penang Char Kway Teow is typically Teochew and has a lighter taste and not as sweet as the Singaporean variety. It is often wrapped in banana leaf, and sometimes it is fried with rat tail’s noddles (lo shi fun) instead.
The Indonesian version, known as kwetiau goreng, tastes sweeter as kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) is added. It uses no pork lard, is less oily and is spicier.
Flat noodles, soy sauce, belachan, prawns, egg, Chinese sausage