This sassy seafood stir-fry has a long and varied history in Malaysia and abroad. Originally a cheap source of energy and sustenance for poor labourers, Char Kway Teow is now one of Malaysia’s most popular dishes.

Strips of flat rice noodles are stir fried with chilli, light and dark soy sauces, prawns, bean sprouts, blood cockles (not as gross as they sound) and Chinese chives, but it wouldn’t be weird to find egg, fishcake and Chinese sausage in the mix as well.

Think of Char Kway Teow as the Malaysian cousin of Thailand’s Pad See Ew. They share a few key ingredients, though Char Kway Teow’s spicy kick in the mouth really separates it from the Pad See Ew’s sweetness.

Seriously, what a gene pool.

Each bite will take you back to the streets of Penang lined with Char Kway Teow hawkers (even if you’ve never been to Penang and have no idea what to imagine).

You might have a close relationship with Pad See Ew, but get acquainted with its cousin. Don’t just send Char Kway Teow the annual Christmas card. Start bringing it round to your place for dinner.

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