One of Penang’s iconic street foods is undoubtedly the Penang-style ”char koay teow” or fried rice noodles with cockles, shrimps, waxed Chinese sausages, eggs, beansprouts & chives, seasoned with soy sauce, fish sauce, chilli paste and, oftentimes, liberal amounts of pork lard.
Well-known Penang “char koay teow” purveyors include the Lorong Selamat “Woman in Red Beret” (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/718585), the MacAlister Road “Sisters Char Koay Teow” (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/856542) and “Ah Leng Char Koay Teow” (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/882856) on Dato’ Keramat Road. To this illustrious list, one should also add the “Siam Road Char Koay Teow”.
Like most other Penang “char koay teow” hawkers, the old man who runs the Siam Road stall is of Teochew descent, though both he & his son (who took food orders from the customers) spoke Hokkien, Penang’s lingua franca. Despite its Teochew beginnings, Penang “char koay teow” differed markedly from its counterpart in Swatow (Shantou) in China, the Teochew’s ancestral homeland, where the rice noodle dish is often flavoured with only shreds of pork and fish sauce.
Siam Road’s version differed markedly from others in that the flat rice noodles used had a thinner texture. Priced at RM4 (US1.20) a plate, it’s also very much cheaper than its other famous rivals, though Lorong Selamat’s version had extra-large, plump shrimps, whilst the MacAlister Road Sisters also topped their dish with fresh steamed crab meat.
Be prepared for a 40-minute wait here as there’s a crowd all day long (the stall’s closed in Sundays).
Siam Road Char Koay Teow
Corner of Siam Road and Anson Road
(Seating in Hock Ban Hin Café).