When I was growing up in Penang, I remember there was a period of time where we’d head go grandm’s over the weekends and more often than not, having Hokkien Char for breakfast at the old shack right outside Weld Quay. That was how I developed a taste for this particular dish.
Ai Jiak Penang Food, PJ Seapark
Hokkien Char (福建炒) simply meant Hokkien style fried noodle in Penang. While sharing almost similar name as Hokkien Mee in KL, the two dishes are quite different from each other.
While KL’s favorite comes with thick, fat noodle drench in very dark sauce, Penang’s style is quite a lot lighter and usually done with yellow noodle and meehun. Additionally, the Hokkien Char sambal is often a lot hotter and less mushy.
Back to Ai Jiak Penang Food restaurant.
I’ve actually heard about this place when it was situated in the old location at the Chung Ling Alumni Association in Jalan Utara, KL (fun fact, I am from the same school), the restaurant has since moved to Seapark, directly opposite Public Bank.
The restaurant offers a few Penang classic dishes to go with rice, such as asam fish head, curry chicken, pineapple curry prawns, pork trotter vinegar, sambal petai prawns, and so forth.
Additionally, they also offer single serving dishes such as asam laksa, chee cheong fun, herbal chicken meesuah, and what I came here for – Hokkien char!
Penang style “Hokkien Char”
So is their Hokkien Char any good?
The answer is a resounding yes! To be perfectly honest, if you didn’t grow up having Hokkien Char, it may not be a dish that speaks to you, but if you love spicy sambal and a dish of fried noodle that’s not overly strong or starchy, you may want to give this a try.
Address: Ai Jiak Penang Food 9, Jalan 21/12, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS: Tel: +6 011 2778 8428
When I was a boy in Penang, whenever the topic of laksa came up, there’s always two stalls that came up in the conversations among the locals – the one at Balik Pulau, and the Ayer Itam stall. The good news is, for those of us who has moved to Klang Valley, the famous stall from Ayer Itam, Angcle Peoh’s asam laksa, is now available in Bukit Tinggi, Klang.
Angcle Peoh, now at Bukit Tinggi Klang
Restoran Angcle Peoh is a non halal outfit located just a stone’s throw away from one of the larger malls in the country – AEON Bukit Tinggi.
While Klang may sound like a distance too far for some, it is actually just half an hour’s drive from Petaling Jaya on a decent day, and we Malaysians have a habit to go far in search for good food anyway, kan?
asam laksa is good, and char kuih teow more than decent
While the Ayer Itam stall offers only asam laksa, the air-conditioned restaurant in Bukit Tinggi carries other Penang hawker dishes on the menu as well.
The asam laksa is as good as the original, with the old man himself often seen at the kitchen, it is as authentic as you can get. It is arguably one of the best asam laksa in Klang Valley you can get right now (I’d also recommend Aik Asam Laksa at Seapark, PJ as a close second)
The version of char kuih teow cooked up at this place is pretty decent as well, though I find myself preferring Uncle Vincent’s version (Bukit Rimau) just a tad more, though both of these are still a notch below Lot 10‘s duck egg CKT in my view.
curry mee, cendol, and hokkien char too
I was delighted that they have Hokkien Char (Penang style fried hokkien mee) on the menu, gave it a try and had an okay experience. The taste was there, but there was way too much noodle to properly enjoy the dish.
Cendol was alright here, and don’t order the curry mee, it was awful, and not even a proper Penang version at that. For other dishes, well, you gotta try them and tell me.
One of the lesser known dishes in Penang is “hokkein char“, or literally, Hokkien Fried noodle. It is a dish found on most hawker centers and probably most of the bigger kopitiam, but unlike the more glamorous Pennag dishes like char kuih teow, curry mee or prawn mee that is famous everywhere, I’ve yet to find a proper hokkien char stalls in Klang Valley.
Hokkien Char & Char Hor Fun, Anson Road wet market
This blog post is about a Hokkien Char stall located at Anson Road wet market in Penang. It is not a particularly well known stall, in fact, it is absolutely average. In fact, I ended up trying this only because I was waiting for the immensely popular kuih teow soup at the same place (a must-try for kuih teow soup fans)
It is presented as how Hokkien Char should be, and tasted how it should taste, just the way I like it.
Penang hokkein char, where can I get one in KL?
The anatomy of Hokkien Char is simple. There’s yellow noodle and mee hun, prawns, vegetable (choi sam usually), and pork slices fried with some sort of brown sauce, then topped with char siu and fried shallot. Most importantly, it is served with Penang style sambal balacan that’s positively spicy and foul smelling. Sometimes you get an odd fish ball or fish cakes thrown in as well.
The combination just works, and to me, a far superior rendition of fried noodle than KL’s “Hokkien Mee” with it’s overloaded dark soya sauce.
If you’re in Penang, give it a try!
muar chee, this one right outside Ayer Itam wet market
Oh, also, don’t forget to try some Muar Chee as well. They’re absolutely fantastic and usually don’t cost more than RM 2 or so. If you like Kampachi’s signature peanut mochi, you will absolutely enjoy this.
One of the definite Penang hawker dishes is Hokkien Char (福建炒), or Fried Hokkien Mee. However,this dish is quite different from what is served in Klang Valley even though they are identified as the same name.
I’ve been searching for this exact dish in KL/PJ area for a long time with no avail, so I just had to have it over this CNY season in Penang. This one is from Sin Yin Nam kopitiam at New Lane.
Penang Hokkien Char at New Lane
Hokkien Char usually consists of yellow noodle and mee hun in dark sauce, with slice pork, prawns, and vegetable, with sambal belacan on the side.
The main difference between this and the KL version is the lighter sauce base, the sambal belacan, and the usage of yellow noodle instead of those fat noodle in Hokkien Mee. As a consequence, the taste too is lighter and more subtle, but that being said, it is not at all a less superior version. In fact, I prefer this over the KL version anytime (most likely due to my upbringing laaa)
now where can I find something like this in KL?
I was utterly satisfied with this plate of Hokkien Char, one of the best RM 5 ever spent. The same place also offered one of the best pork intestine porridge (猪什粥), do not miss it if you are there. If I didn’t have the cravings for Hokkien Char, the pork intestine porridge would always be my favorite.
Penang style chee cheong fun: with three sauces
Of course, one does not simply only eat one dish in Penang for dinner. I had a plate of chee cheong fun (RM 2.40) to go with too. Two pieces, unopened, and with chili, just the way I like it.
Chee cheong fun Penang style is always bare, and served with shrimp paste, sweet sauce, chili paste, and sesame seeds, and sometimes with a bit of fried shallots. I like it quite a bit more than the HK version with prawns or char siu. If you need to find one of these in PJ, look no further than O&S in Paramount Garden.
Haze ordered the Asam Laksa at the corner of the road, it wasn’t any good and they over charged us to the tune of RM 4.50 (Chinese New Year price?). Never gonna buy from them ever.