Today’s Little Plate of Happiness is char kuey teow, which literally means “fried flat noodles” in Bahasa Melayu. As a sidenote, one of my favorite things about the food here is that there’s no need to dress it up with some fancy name to cover for its meager flavor profile. Here, it is what it is, and in this case, that’s a flat noodle, fried.
The version we ate was located at the Thye Hong stall at Food Republic in Pavilion KL, the food court that’s becoming our indoor classroom to Malaysian street food. The char kuey teow was made with the standard flat rice noodle identical to the noodles used for the Thai pad see yew, which is more commonly found in the U.S. than what’s pictured above. Char kuey teow also tastes very similar to a pad see yew — by using both light and dark soy sauces, I think you get a bit of a nice charred taste when the sugars in the soy sauces hit an extremely hot wok and crystallize, then burn a bit.
In addition to the flat noodles, you can expect most char kuey teow dishes to include shrimp, bean sprouts, egg, chicken or beef, and scallions. Our char kuey teow also had a nice addition of shelled cockles and thinly-sliced fish cakes. In the background, you can see a little dish of sambal (chili sauce).
I loved this char kuey teow. It was comforting, tasty and filling, and the cockles added a nice ocean-y flavor to the whole dish. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t healthy, though — I watched the char kuey teow man heat up his giant iron wok with a generous cup of oil before throwing in all the ingredients. But everyone’s got a live a little, right? And for $2.30, isn’t a little saturated fat worth it?