Fried noodles

DSC_1895-Edit It being a predominately Chinese town, noodles are just about everywhere in Georgetown. In particular, I fell for the city's fried noodles -- a dish I don’t eat too often in Thailand -- and two types stand out in my mind.

Char koay teow gets my vote for Malaysia’s -- if not Asia’s -- tastiest fried noodle dish. It combines koay teow, flat rice noodles, with thin slices of Chinese sausage, cockles, prawns, egg and bean sprouts:

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The dish is seasoned with soy sauce and a paste made from dried chili -- no sugar here. Some fry the noodles with vegetable oil, although many still fry with lard; one famous vendor’s mise en place includes a huge bucket of the stuff:

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Allegedly she’ll throw a few chunks of crispy pork fat into the mix upon request.

The dish is rich, oily, a bit spicy and if, like the vendor pictured at the top of this post, fried over charcoal, smoky. Char koay teow is available all over Georgetown and although there are a few ‘famous’ vendors, it’s pretty much tasty wherever you eat it.

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Penang Heritage Food and Rasa Malaysia both include recipes for char koay teow.

The other Malaysian fried noodle dish that I couldn't get enough of is mee goreng. It’s an interesting dish, in that it employs Chinese-style ingredients (noodles, beansprouts, tofu), but is predominately made by Muslims of Indian heritage. These ingredients are fried with potatoes, deep-fried bits and egg. It’s generally quite rich and heavy, though despite the dark red colour of the dressing, relatively mild in flavour. This streetside vendor’s version bordered on bland:

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while this vendor’s version, sold near the Pulau Tikus Market, was just a bit spicy, and included lots of crispy deep-fried shallots:

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EatingAsia led me to yet another vendor’s version, which is topped with slices of squid cooked in a slightly spicy sambal:

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Recipes for the mee goreng can also be found in Penang Heritage Food and at Rasa Malaysia.