Penang is the street food capital of Malaysia, and the mighty Char Kway Teow is arguably the most famous and popular dish to grace its streets. It's certainly one of my all-time favourite things to eat. As you might imagine, Penang has more than a few Char Kway Teow stalls, many of whom, naturally, lay claim to being the best. And yet, for the past few years, there has been one undisputed king, or should I say queen, of Char Kway Teow in Penang, and by extension, the world - the stall in the Heng Huat Coffee Shop on Lorong Selamat. Run by a lady with a somewhat fearsome reputation - her response to criticism of the relatively exorbitant prices she charges was simply to snap that people were free to take their custom elsewhere (fair enough, if you ask me) - yeah, you complain about the long wait here at your peril - its popularity continues unabated. And deservedly so. Her prices are the highest, and her queues the longest, exacerbated by the fact that she cooks each plate separately rather than as part of a larger batch - a very commendable devotion to quality control, especially given the roaring trade; but it's all worth it because the final product that lands on your table is simply heavenly. Servings are on the small side, so I would recommend a minimum of two plates per person.
In a nutshell...
Quite simply the best Char Kway Teow in the world. The Sisters on Macalister Road used to rule the roost but standards have slipped; whispers have started to emanate about the claims of the stall at Federal Hotel, but Lorong Selemat Char Koay Teow remains the place to sample this much loved dish at its pinnacle.
Lorong Selamat Char Koay Teow
Kafe Heng Huat, Lorong Selamat, Penang, Malaysia
Average Price: MYR 7.50