Char Koay Teow (Stir Fried Rice Strips)

Char Koay Teow (Stir Fried Rice Strips)Char Koay Teow is one of the Top 5 Chinese noodle dishes in Penang and other cities in Malaysia. Of the five – Hokkien Hae Mee, Asam Laksa, Char Koay Teow, Curry Laksa, and Koay Teow Th’ng, it is hard to say which holds the number one spot. Everyone has their personal favorite. To be honest, I have a hard time deciding as they are all good and quite different in tastes. If you ever get a chance to visit, do try them all and let me know. πŸ˜‰

Of the 5, only Char Koay Teow is fried while the rest are all soupy. Hence, it has the shortest cooking time, though it is not necessarily the easiest. A lot of it has to do with the quality of the noodles to begin with. I may be biased but some of the best fresh koay teow (rice strips or flat-cut rice noodles) and mee (yellow egg noodles) are found in Malaysia. It is the very quality of these noodles that make noodle dishes so popular there.

Char Koay Teow (Stir Fried Rice Strips)

Over here in Minnesota, I am just thankful I can even find koay teow (rice strips). These are made in Southern California and refrigerated. Fresh koay teow should be soft and the individual strips separated. I am sure these prepackaged koay teow have the same consistency but unfortunately after refrigeration, they tend to harden and clump together into a “cake”. One way to overcome this is to place the entire “cake” on a dish in a microwave and nuke it on high for 5 minutes. Then gently loosen the strips when they are cool enough to handle. This will prevent them from breaking into small bits when stirred in the pan.

Char Koay Teow (Stir Fried Rice Strips)

Back in the old days, cockles were an essential ingredient in Char Koay Teow and Curry Laksa. The Hepatitis A epidemic of the early 80’s traced to partially cooked cockles saw the demise of this ingredient. Today, it is optional and many vendors do not even offer it to their customers. Shrimps and lap cheong (Chinese sausage) became the norm in place of cockles.

Two other important ingredients in a good Char Koay Teow are bean sprouts and Chinese chives. These vegetables provide texture and color contrast to the dish. Chinese chives also lend it a slightly garlicky flavor.

Char Koay Teow (Stir Fried Rice Strips)
Char Koay Teow is most delicious when cooked in individual or small portions. Crowding the pan will not allow the noodles to be properly stirred and mixed with the sauces. Please cook this in two batches if you do not have a large enough pan. Both chili paste and eggs are optional but highly recommended. πŸ˜‰

Char Koay Teow (Stir Fried Rice Strips)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 lbs (900g) fresh koay teow (fresh flat-cut rice noodles)
  • 3 oz (80g) Chinese sausage
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 oz (115g) shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp chili sambal/chili paste/gochujang (optional)
  • ΒΌ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs (optional)
  • 6 oz (170g) bean sprouts, trimmed
  • 4 oz (115g) Chinese chives cut into 2 inch lengths
  1. Remove koay teow from packaging and place on a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and loosened up koay teow. Set aside.
  2. Soak Chinese sausage in hot water for 10 minutes. Remove casing, then slice thinly at a diagonal.
  3. Combine dark soy sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce in a small bowl.
  4. In a large non-stick pan, heat vegetable oil. Fry Chinese sausage for about 2 minutes until lightly brown. Add minced garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add shrimps and continue to fry for 2 to 3 minutes until shrimps curl and turn pink. Stir in sambal/chili paste/gochujang.
  5. Add koay teow, soy sauce mixture, and pepper. Stir to get everything well mixed and coated with sauce. This should take about 2 minutes.
  6. Push noodles aside. Break in the eggs. Flip the noodles back onto the eggs.
  7. Finally, add bean sprouts and Chinese chives. Continue stirring for 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Remove and serve immediately.

Char Koay Teow (Stir Fried Rice Strips)

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎


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  1. Chris says

    I’m from Penang, and totally miss CKT. It is difficult to replicate. A smoking hot pan is essential. I also find that cooking the sauce first in a small separate pot, not including the hot sauce or garlic. As well, if u can get duck eggs, CKT tastes so much better. Btw, the pic made me hungry!

    • Biren says

      I don’t think I have tried char koay teow with duck eggs but I have been looking for them for salting. So far I have not seen them yet in Minnesota.

      Try frying your char koay teow in small batches. I am quite happy with the results. :)

  2. says

    Your char koay teow looks so delicious and more so with added chinese sausage in it. Usually I loves char koay teow with more beansprouts.

  3. DongXing says

    I love char koay teoow but the first time I made this, it was disastrous. I had used defrosted rice strips and boy, did they clump hard together or what! Since then, I had stayed away from buying the rice strips. I will definitely pick up a pack of the strips the next time I am in the chinese supermarket. I am sure it will turn out great by following your tip and instructions. Great photographs, such sharp contrast!

    • Biren says

      Haha…I know what you mean! It happened to me too. I do not freeze fresh koay teow these days. I only buy the day I want to use them. Happy cooking! :)

  4. says

    I had this dish once years ago and completely forgot about. Thanks for the reminder! It’s such a great easy dish to put together but still tastes like it took more than 20 minutes – love it!

  5. Maureen says

    Yummm Biren … Many thanks! Hope to try this soon. Thanks for tip abt soaking the sausage! How long can the sausages be kept? Have a blessed Easter

    • Linda says

      Over here in the US, Chinese sausages comes in sealed packages in the refrigerated section. They can keep for quite a while if unopened in the fridge. Once the package is opened, I like to use them within 2 weeks at the longest.

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