Penang char koay teow has a big following but as I said earlier, taste is very subjective.
There is also no top connoisseur in the country who can tell us which version of Penang char koay teow is authentic and the best. It’s all about one’s preference and the way we have been brought up liking a particular taste.
After my article about Robert’s Penang char koay teow at Damansara Kim, two personal friends of mine told me to check out Lim’s Char Koay Teow at Restoran Wan Shoon.
The coffee shop is located at the opposite end of the stretch of shop lots in Damansara Kim where Robert’s char koay teow stall is located. So, there you go: two competitors that appeal to different taste buds.
Raised and bred in Kuala Lumpur, Lim Kah Hey was a former dim sum chef with a five-star hotel in Petaling Jaya for over seven years.
Being a foodie fan himself, the 34-year-old experimented with his version of Penang char koay teow, and decided to venture out on his own. His first stall was set up in 2015 at Paramount Garden. He only moved here to Damansara Kim in late 2016.
Lim’s version of Penang char koay teow received the thumbs-up from a younger Penangite, Beatrice Khoo, who claims that Lim’s CKT is closer to what she herself has grown up loving.
Being a Penangite herself, she is an ardent fan of Lim’s version of the Penang cuisine. Along with another common friend of ours, both recommended that I should check it out.
“In fact, when he first started there, it was not good at all,” Beatrice told me. “After one month of abstaining, I could see a big improvement. I started noticing what others had on their table and from one look, I knew it was time to give it a try again; since then, I have been a loyal customer!”
She also notices that Lim uses the thinner version of koay teow which is closely resembling the Penang version that she is used to.
He puts in the usual stuff — cockles, lup cheong, prawns, bean sprouts, but unlike the authentic Penang version, Lim finds duck eggs give it a better taste. “Otherwise, for eggs, I use only kampung chicken eggs,” he said.
Depending on the clients’ preference, Lim’s style is the dry version. “If there are clients who prefer to have it slightly wet, they can tell me, and I will do it for them,” he said.
Personally, for RM6 (small plate) and RM6.50 (large), I think it is a good treat, especially with the current economic condition.
Wan Shoon Restaurant is located at 47 Jalan SS20/11, Damansara Kim, 47400 Selangor. Lim’s CKT stall does not have a name but it is the only stall serving Penang Char Koay Teow.
One of my favourite Kelantanese dishes is deep-fried spice-marinated chicken served with steamed rice, or as they call it, nasi kukus ayam berempah à la Kelantan.
Starting with a restaurant in Mutiara Damansara – after the original in Kota Bahru – Rohana Salleh’s winning recipe has caused food lovers around the Klang Valley to crave her nasi kukus ayam berempah.
With just a single dish, Ilham Nasi Kukus has opened two other outlets – one in Petaling Jaya and one in Shah Alam – all within a span of seven years. All three outlets are well-patronised by loyal customers.
A fourth Ilham Nasi Kukus outlet is in the offing, and will officially open very soon due to popular demand in the area. It is currently under renovation.
Muhammad Abrisam Akmal Kamarizal or BoBoiBoy, who runs the restaurant in Mutiara Damansara, said his grandmother’s recipe is very special because it uses 12 different herbs and spices.
“When we first launched our first outlet here, within less than three months, we could see the positive response. A lot of our customers told us that the chicken is crispy on the outside but juicy inside. Overall, they say it is delicious.”
Of course, they can’t divulge what goes into their family’s secret blend, but it is basically a mixture of three curries – chicken, fish and beef curry. A lot of TLC goes into the preparation, with the chicken marinated up to seven or eight hours.
And amazingly, the spices are blended and flown in all the way from Kelantan – Abrisam’s uncle does the mixing himself, and then supplies to their family outlets in the Klang Valley.
“For that reason, we are always grateful to mamatok (grandmother) for her secret recipe.
This would explain why streams of people queue at the self-service counter to pick up their orders – especially on Fridays, due to the proximity of Ilham Nasi Kukus to the mosque nearby, it is usually packed with people.
Ilham’s nasi kukus blends in well with their creamy air jagung, especially when your chicken and rice is accompanied by cili belacan. The dish also contains small slices of pineapple and ikan bilis.
Ilham Nasi Kukus @ Mutiara Damansara is located at No 7, Jalan PJU 7/16, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
Their original restaurant, which was started more than ten years ago by Rohana is located in Jalan Telipot, Kota Bharu. They also have a branche in Seksyen 51A, Petaling Jaya, and Pusat Komersial Seksyen 7, Shah Alam.
I believe everyone has their unique “craving patterns”. For me, I can be quite a habitual person, even when cravings are concerned. I go through a period of time (days or weeks) where I crave for the exact same thing at a particular hour of the day.
I hope my tips will help you to satisfy your cravings, guilt-free without depriving yourself of anything.
#1 Sweet Cravings
I went through a period where I just can’t help but to end my dinners with a lil something sweet. And fruits won’t suffice in this case (besides eating fruits right after meals have always caused me bloatedness). Sure, I could have shrugged it off and practice “mind over matter”, but doing that every night could be a tad bit stressful for me and not to mention restrictive. I’m all for discipline, but deprivation on the other hand………..
I found a happy medium which allows me to indulge, yet not stressing my body with processed sugar. If my craving is just for a day, I’ll say “heck i’ll just waltz into “Rekindle” (a popular cake joint in my area) and enjoy a slice” but I’m not about to do that every day.
And, what more it’s nourishing; made with only 3 basic wholesome ingredients: 93% dry roasted hazelnuts, 5% raw honey and 2% unsweetened cocoa.
#2 Cold Cravings
This “cold cravings” streak just ended for me not too long ago. Days where all I wanted to do is to curl up in bed with my Netflix on and a bowl of ice cream in hand. Thankfully, I’m no stranger to homemade ice cream so I got that craving handled pretty easily. This recipe was my go-to for those few weeks. It takes only a few minutes to whip this up.
Ingredients: 2 Large Frozen Bananas | 2 Tbsp of Chocolate Hazelnut Spread | Toppings: chopped nuts
Direction: Add all ingredients into food processor and blitz till it’s smooth.
#3 Crispy Cravings
Who doesn’t love a good bag of crisps? I know I do. My all-time fave has got to be Kettle’s Jalapeno Chips. Just like everything, moderation is key. No way can I be bagging one pack of those everyday. But, kale chips on the other hand……….
This became my favourite movie snack for a period of time… 😁
Flavour ✔️ Crunch ✔️ Nourishing ✔️
Recipe for Kale Chips
Ingredients: A bunch of kale | Drizzle of Olive Oil | Dash of pink Himalayan salt & cayenne pepper
Pre-heat oven at 180C
Massage oil into kale
Bake for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle salt and cayenne pepper before serving.
#4 Late Night Cravings
As much as we want to satisfy our cravings instead of ignoring it, there are times where we can exercise control and discipline as well. And, I’ve got just the tip for you to help ease your cravings. Hot tea. Ginger Tea in particular. It’s my ultimate favourite and it always works like a charm.
Recipe for Ginger Tea
Ingredients: 1 tea bag | Thumb size Ginger | Hot Water
Grate ginger and strain.
Add ginger juice in a cup of hot tea.
Sip and enjoy!
There you go guys, the 4 different ways I typically use to manage my cravings. The key is not to feel guilty for satisfying your cravings, but at the same time practice moderation. Find alternatives that would work for you, and these alternatives need not be “second best” or the consolation prize. Eating healthy is not boring, bland or difficult. You just gotta find what works for you. I hope some of these recipes and ideas have inspired you to eat well and stress less about your cravings.
As always, remember to show some love today, encourage someone with a compliment, lend a ear to a friend who needs it, give a smile (it goes a long way) and share good vibes.✌️
We have heard so much, read so much, watched so much about it; in the mags, social media, brand campaigns or our friends… I’m talking about health food. Once a certain type of food is circulated to be “healthy”, you see new brands popping up to promote them, articles being written about them. And that’s all good, don’t get me wrong. Awareness is always a good thing. But I can’t help but notice the marketing and awareness that goes out with it is usually incomplete. Benefits are highlighted but that’s it. It stops there. It is crucial when something is labelled healthy because consumption will increase and some people may even throw moderation out the door just because they are deemed healthy!
I thought today I’ll draw out two examples of “health food” which are amazing and that I absolutely love, but they are also the two that many people may not be fully aware of “what they really contain”.
Health Food #1: Yoghurt
Yoghurt is a health food with plenty of health benefits. It provides good bacteria that helps with digestion and immune system, along with many other nutrients. However, with the amount of added sugar, flavouring and colouring that goes into most yoghurt you find in stores now, they may not be that healthy anymore. Yes, you still get your good bacteria, but what about the loads of processed sugar you’re feeding your body which affects your insulin sensitivity that is crucial in preventing diseases?
Have you checked the ingredients that goes into the yoghurt you consume daily? Taking an example of one I randomly pick up from the supermarket shelves:
Ingredient list: Milk, Milk Solids, Cream, Live Cultures.
It may be too tangy eaten on its own, but that’s where you can get creative with it. Add in your raw honey, or nut butter and you’ll have yourself a naturally flavoured yoghurt that’s delicious and nutritious.
Handful of Blackberries & Sprinkle of Toasted Oats and Nuts.
Mix yoghurt with raw honey. Add toppings and enjoy!
Health Food #2: Raw Juices
A bottle of raw juice, made with a kg of fresh produce with no added sugar or flavouring. Sounds good doesn’t it?
Ofcourse, if compared to many processed, refined sugar laden beverages, raw juices are great. But if you’re talking about going on a juice cleanse or consuming raw juices daily, we ought to know what makes up the juices and the science behind drinking raw juices.
Juices are healthy because you are basically getting a “hit” of vitamins and micronutrients (you can’t eat 1kg of produce but you can drink them), and because it is fibre-free, it promotes better absorption of nutrients and vitamins into your body. So that makes it good. But as much as your body is absorbing everything at its maximum rate, it is also absorbing the “natural sugar” just the same. With raw juices, to make it “tasty” many would add a multitude of fruits or even make a 100% pure fruit juice. Fruit itself contain natural sugar, eaten on its own with fiber, is great, but when it’s juiced and drank fiber free in a big dose, you are basically pumping your body with loads of sugar.
It is fine if you want to enjoy it once in a while (i mean you can’t always resist a freshly pressed glass of OJ right? 😉), but if you’re making it everyday as part of your “healthy habit”, then it would be best to minimize amount of fruits, and add vegetables instead. I love going with the ratio of 70:30 or 80:20. So you’re basically juicing mainly vegetables, topping it off with some fruits to sweeten it a little.
“Juice your greens and eat your fruits”
Recipe: Ultimate Green Juice
200g Green Apple
I hope what’s shared today will encourage you to always read your ingredient list before purchasing any staple. You don’t have to avoid anything completely; if you love a good icy cold fruit juice or a favourite flavoured yoghurt, go enjoy it! But just not overdoing it is key, in addition to being aware of what you’re consuming regularly.
“Food is just like life itself, enjoy it but be sure to make wise choices as well” 😉
Alright, am leaving you guys with that. As always, don’t get too buried in the urgent things in life and forget the important ones that truly matter at the end of the day. Love, share, encourage, listen and give 😘
We arrived unannounced at Warung Kita @ Kg Melayu Sungai Buloh to check out their food after communicating with manager Mohd Tarmin Fauzi nearly a month prior.
By about 6pm, they were already closing, and most of the food was already sold for the day, but people kept streaming in to make more orders. Warung Kita is only a simple stall with about 100 seats, and the place is usually packed on weekends as it is open as early as 7am.
The food here is attractive for two reasons. It is relatively cheap, compared to restaurants in areas with higher rent, but more importantly, it tastes just how Kelantanese food should.
Its signature dish, nasi manggey, which comes with curry gravy, steamed rice and sambal belacan, costs only RM5.50 a plate. They use cili padi for the sambal belacan, which gives it an extra kick.
“This is our most popular dish since we started this warung some three years ago. It has been our bestseller.”
I can fully understand why. At that price, it also comes with a piece of fried chicken or ayamcincang. In fact, the Kelantanese recipes are from the mother of stall owner Mohd Khairi Abdul Karim.
Khairul has successfully set up three other Warung Kita, apart from this one in Sungai Buloh. The other three are in Klang, Bangi, and Bandar Baru Ampang.
Their nasi lemak ikan tongkol, which costs only RM4.80, is available only in the morning. Also priced the same is their popular nasi berlauk ikan tongkol.
You can also enjoy their coconut shake – coconut water served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, priced at just RM3.70 – especially on a hot day. For those who like their coconut water plain, you can also order their kelapa baldi, which is priced at RM4.25.
While Warung Kita attracts mainly locals from the area, others come from afar with their families and friends – not just for the great food, but for the kampung atmosphere, especially since you can also choose to have your meal while duduk santai in special palm-covered booths.
Warung [email protected] Buloh is located at 95, Jalan Kusta, Kampung Melayu Batu 13, 47000 Sungai Buloh, Selangor.
Everyone has their own take on where to fine the best Penang char kway teow in the Klang Valley. But when an 84-year-old restaurant owner and chef gives you his recommendation, you better believe it!
Especially when he has been a regular at the same stall for the past 31 years, frequently bringing friends and relatives to savour a plate of Robert Khoo’s char kway teow at Damansara Kim.
Whenever this octogenarian, James Kuok of Sri Nyonya Restaurant fame visits the coffee shop with his friends, he only orders food from Robert’s stall and nothing else.
That shows how much he still enjoys nice and simple street food that you cannot find in five star hotels or other posh restaurants.
When Kuok first told me about it, I agreed to check it out. So, off we went to Damansara Kim one morning, where Robert has been operating his char kway teow stall at Restoran Golden Kim Wah for the past decade.
He moved here after operating his stall in SS2 Petaling Jaya for 25 years.
“When the coffee shop was closed down, I moved to Damansara Kim. My relatives are also operating other stalls in Section 17, Kota Damansara, Taman Megah and Damansara Perdana.”
In fact, Robert has been whipping up one plate of char kway teow after another for the past 40 years. Assuming he sells a 100 plates a day, and works 300 days a year, that comes up to a mind-boggling 1.2 million plates!
I agree with Kuok that Robert’s char kway teow is not just better than anything I have tasted in the Klang Valley, but also Penang.
The RM7 price tag for a big plate (RM6.50 for a small plate) is worth every sen. He doesn’t skimp on the cockles, prawns, lap cheong, bean sprouts, lard, Chinese chives and finely-beaten egg omelette, and not to forget some aromatic garlic bits.
You can pay an additional RM1 for more cockles and, if you wish, Robert can also regulate the amount of chili to suit your taste.
The prices are kept to a comfortable level, as he still has a lot of faithful followers who have been his regular customers for many years.
I particularly like the slightly sweet and umami taste of the char kway teow, which is hard to find elsewhere. Robert is not giving up his trade secret, but he does tell me that one way this is achieved is by controlling the intensity of the fire.
So, Penangites who are living in the Klang Valley never have to miss home again, at least not when it comes to char kway teow.
For other Penang delicacies over here, they can also look for Joo Tiang’s Penang curry mee in Sri Bintang, and for those more familiar with Desa Aman Puri, there is Tong Siang’s version. Not to forget Sri Nyonya, one of the best northern Peranakan restaurants around.
To me, there’s no such thing as objectively the ‘best’ char kway teow, and I also disagree that it can only be found in Penang. Even my Penangite friends cannot agree on which stall serves the best version of the dish. It does, after all, depend on individual taste buds.
But according to Kuok, Roberts’ char kway teow has been consistently good for the decades he’s been going there, even following the chef when he made his switch to Damansara Kim.
Who am I to argue with that?
Robert’s Penang char kway teow stall is located in Restoran Golden Kim Wah, at No 1 Jalan SS20/11 Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya. His stall is open from 7am to 3pm seven days a week.