(Penang) Char Kuey Teow

Penang 'Char Kuey Teow' is a delicious and popular noodle dish with a smoky flavour and is considered a national favourite of Malaysians and Singaporeans alike. This is the most requested recipe on Nyonya Cooking.

4.44 stars

Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 20 mins


Malaysian Stir-Fried Rice Noodles, Char Kway Teow, Kuey Teow Goreng, 炒粿条

Malaysian, Singaporean

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Nutrition per Serving

587 kcal
79 g
21 g
18 g

The Chinese term ‘Char kuey teow’ means stir-fried flat rice noodles. It may have originated from China's province Guangdong but various versions of stir-fried rice noodles are found in many Southeast Asian countries. It was first sold by fishermen, farmers and cockle-gatherers throughout Southeast Asia. They used all the leftovers they had to create this dish and sell it to get extra income. In West Malaysia, char kuey teow is synonymous with Penang, a state in Malaysia. Today, it is one of the most popular dishes in Malaysia and Singapore. Although it may be just another stir-fried noodles recipe, the tips shared below will definitely help if you aim to have it just like those sold in the Penang hawker center.

How to pronounce char kuey teow?

Let us just agree that the pronunciation of char kuey teow itself is already a little tricky for non-Cantonese speakers. Just watch the video here if you want to listen to its correct pronunciation.

Char kuey teow sauce

Char kuey teow sauce is a special concoction which consists of soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and pepper. Prepare this in advance to be kept refrigerated up to 3 months.

Recreate the ‘wok hei’ at hawker stalls

‘Wok hei’ means the breathe of the wok, in English. It refers to the hot air produced from the heat in a wok that gives the extra flavour to Chinese stir-fry dishes. With char kuey teow, you need to stir-fry the noodles at the highest heat. Using a cast iron wok would be the best as it captures and maintains the high heat. You'll need to be careful to burn the noodles with the extreme heat. That is why you need to be fast at stirring the noodles or else they would be burnt. A slightly charred taste is all we need for these noodles to have the smoky flavour for which they are famous for.

Preparing a plate of authentic char kuey teow just like those sold in Penang not only requires the right ingredients but also the correct techniques. I found that it is better to prepare it in small amount (that is one plate at a time) unless you have a big wok to work with or you are a true professional. I learned that the noodles turned soggy when too much sauce is added all at once.

Ingredients to add to char kuey teow

You may add chopped preserved vegetables, blood cockles or even fry the noodles using pork lard. You can enjoy it together with some raw 'sambal belacan' and a slice lime or calamansi.

Whichever way you like it, a plate of char kuey teow brings the taste of home to every Malaysian especially for those who are abroad.

The recipe for the chilli paste 'cili boh' can be found in our extensive library of time-tested recipe ideas.


2 tbsp
light soy sauce
1 tbsp
dark soy sauce
1⁄2 tbsp
oyster sauce
1⁄2 tbsp
fish sauce
1 tsp
1⁄2 tsp
2 tbsp
Chinese sausage(s)
1 tbsp
chilli paste (cili boh)
garlic clove(s)
fish cake
180 g
rice noodles
bean sprouts
chinese chives

Steps to Prepare

(Penang) Char Kuey Teow Step 1

Step 1 of 6

Mix soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and pepper evenly.

(Penang) Char Kuey Teow Step 2

Step 2 of 6

    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1⁄2 Chinese sausage(s)
    • 1 tbsp chilli paste (cili boh)
    • 1 garlic clove(s)

Heat wok over high heat. Add oil into wok. Add slices of Chinese sausage, minced garlic and chilli paste. Sauté until fragrant. Note: This portion is for 2 persons.

(Penang) Char Kuey Teow Step 3

Step 3 of 6

    • 1⁄2 fish cake
    • 6 prawns

Sauté prawns and fish cake for about 30 seconds.

(Penang) Char Kuey Teow Step 4

Step 4 of 6

    • 180 g rice noodles
    • 1 egg(s)

Add noodles to wok and quickly stir-fry them while adding few spoonfuls of sauce at a time. Then, add an egg to the noodles.

(Penang) Char Kuey Teow Step 5

Step 5 of 6

    • bean sprouts
    • chinese chives

Finally, add chopped Chinese chives and bean sprouts. Continue stir-frying noodles until vegetables are cooked.

(Penang) Char Kuey Teow Step 6

Step 6 of 6

Serve hot and enjoy it as it is or with raw 'sambal belacan'.

Published: March 11, 2016

6 Discussions

Vasantha Muthusamy
2 years ago

Vasantha Muthusamy

I am going to cook it the second time today. No chives in the supermarket.

2 years ago


When you said "controversial", you were right. I suppose we all make this dish according to our preferences. As mentioned the wok should be very hot and ideally should be cooked over a charcoal stove (for that extra-smokey flavour) but a wok burner is a good substitute. I realise that you are limited by your kitchen, but an induction/hot plate only heats up the bottom of the wok and not the sides, and it never gets hot enough - so that smokey flavour is harder to achieve. You mentioned some variations (i.e. pork lard or blood cockles) with this char kway teow. Here are a few more: - Substitute duck egg for chicken egg. - Crispy pork fat (chee yau char) on top. - Sugar: this is a regional variation. For me, I would leave out the sugar or kicap manis - the Chinese sausage is already sweet. I stumbled on your website a few days ago and I am impressed because everything is really authentic. Well done!

2 years ago


In the video Grace says that she first soaks the dry wide rice noodles for 10 minutes in water and then boils the noodles for 3 minutes. When she soaks the noodles in water, is this in cold water, lukewarm water, hot water or boiling hot water? Or is the temperature of the water not important at all? Thank you!

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
2 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Hi Fred! Room temperature/lukewarm water is fine. If the rice noodles you bought offer instructions on the packaging, it’s better to do as suggested. Before adding the noodles to the wok, they must be fully cooked - soft but not mushy.

3 years ago


Where do you buy fresh rice noodles in Germany?

4 years ago



4 years ago


Tried this recipe for dinner with the family and everyone loved it. Delicious!

Mira - Community Happiness Manager
4 years ago

Mira - Community Happiness Manager

Great! Send us a food snap, Elaine :D

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