aka Kuey Teow Soup
Article and photo by Helen Ong
As you’ve probably gathered by now, Malaysians just lurve their noodles, and in Penang it’s no different. There are many types, made from flour, lentils or rice. One of the most popular rice noodles is the flat, white, silky kuey teow, which is served either fried (as in Char Kuey Teow), or in a soup.
There are umpteen version of it throughout Malaysia, but Penang koey teow t’ng is something special, served with a clear tasty duck and chicken broth, and a few slices of meat, fish cake and springy fresh white fish balls. It also used to be served with … wait for it … coagulated pig’s blood, and although this is still available in certain stalls, it is no longer de rigueur.The younger generation are more squeamish and not keen on bak lai (intestines).
Together with a good dribble of chopped garlic oil over, and for those with who fancy something spicy, sliced hot chili padi in soya sauce, this simple noodle soup will take the edge off any untoward grumbles emanating from the belly area day or night.
The beauty of this dish is that, because it is made of “cheng t’ng” (clear soup) and therefore not spicy, it appeals to folks of all ages. There are also many places which serve pork-free versions of it. Of course Penang being Penang, there are any number of stalls which serve this local favourite.
Some stalls have also adapted the recipe and you will see signs advertising “instant kuey teow soup” or dry kuey teow soup (er … wot?). Others add minced pork or chicken, cooking the soup up on the spot, delicious but which rather turns it into a main meal.
Helen Ong is a self-confessed foodie who loves to hunt down the best of Penang. She is the author of the book Great Dining in Penang. Check out her blog on www.helenong.com