Ah Leng Char Koay Teow: 43-year-old Penang hawker serves decadent duck egg char kway teow

“Hey, you’re a Penangite, right? Have you been to Ah Leng Char Koay Teow?” My colleague from Kuala Lumpur asked me. I shook my head and she grinned in response. Two days later, I found myself on a 3 and a half hour journey to the supposedly legendary char kway teow spot in Penang. But hey, where better to have char kway teow than in the Pearl of the Orient? 

Ah Leng CKT - Penang hawker

But what really makes Ah Leng Char Kway Teow the talk of the town? The star attraction has to be their succulent jumbo sized prawns.

There are three variations of char kway teow you can order at Ah Leng. First, the Regular CKT without duck egg (RM11), Regular CKT with duck egg (RM12.50), and the Special CKT (RM16.50). For a plate of Ah Leng’s ‘special’, the char kway teow is topped with mantis prawns and four jumbo sized prawns.

Ah Leng Char Koay Teow - hawker stall

As I arrived at the kopitiam located at Jalan Dato Keramat, Ah Leng’s daughter, Chye Hong was at the wok dishing out noodles into plates. It wasn’t even 12pm but the crowd was already beginning to gather. Founded in 1979, Ah Leng Char Koay Teow plays in the big leagues (like the ever popular Siam Road Charcoal Char Koay Teow and Lorong Selamat Char Koay Teow) so it’s no surprise that they’ve gathered their own loyal following.

What I tried at Ah Leng Char Koay Teow

Ah Leng Char Koay Teow - char kway teow

Be prepared to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour for a plate of char kway teow especially during lunchtime.

Alas, when the plate of noodles finally arrived, it left both my colleague and I stunned. Unfortunately, not in a good way. The portion was only fitting for a child or a really tiny eater (we were none of those), seriously. It was not even a full plate! The noodles covered just half of the plate to our horror. To add fuel to the fire, there was no presence of lap cheong in the char kway teow. Was this really worth RM12.50

Malaysia Food Village: Old-school hawker centre with steamed chicken dry horfun, oyster omelette & dim sum

It has been over a year since I returned to my hometown, but I was truly surprised to see that the price of char kway teow here was similar to (if not more than) the hawkers in Kuala Lumpur. Or was I in a tourist trap? I quickly shook the seemingly unpleasant thoughts off. 

Ah Leng Char Koay Teow - kway teow

Hoping the taste of the char kway teow would swoop in and save the day, I quickly took a bite and was instantly blown away. There was a distinctive taste of creaminess oozing in the kway teow, brought by the duck egg, no doubt. 

It had been a while since I tasted a char kway teow packed with such creaminess and savouriness. I admit the additional RM1.50 for the duck egg was definitely worth it. Plus yolk of the duck eggs also gave the noodles a more vibrant orange colour and overall elevated an already decadent plate of noodles. Ahh… it was good to be back home! 

Ah Leng Char Koay Teow - prawns

And there it was— the star attraction on the plate taking over a quarter of the plate space:— two large, de-shelled prawns, just seared on the outside and still bouncy. A quick bite and there was a slight sweetness to them. It is without question that the role of the cockles in this dish is equally important— they should be juicy and plump. And they were delicious in every way in this yummy plate of char kway teow

“I think I could have finished the plate in five bites,” sighed my colleague. I nodded my head, sadly in agreement.

Final thoughts

Ah Leng CKT - hawker

Watching my hungry colleague peck at the last bits of kway teow on the plate, I wondered— yes, it was definitely extremely tasty, but was it really worth the price? 

Having grown up in Penang, I’d never imagined seeing the day that I’d be forking out RM11.50 for a plate of char kway teow (the irony of the price is that char kway teow began as a simple meal consumed by manual labourers). 

Yes, the prawns were indeed big and juicy but I would still prefer a humble plate of char kway teow with tinier prawns for half the price. Despite leaving feeling a little hungry, it was undoubtedly an extremely delicious plate of char kway teow

Expected damage: RM10 to RM16 per pax

Sisters Place: Kopitiam serving authentic halal Chinese dishes like CKT, Hokkien mee & yee mee

Price: $

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

Ah Leng Char Koay Teow

343, Jalan Dato Keramat, George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia 10150

Our Rating 4.5/5

Ah Leng Char Koay Teow

343, Jalan Dato Keramat, George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia 10150

Telephone: +6012 498 3962
Operating Hours: 10.30am - 4pm (Mon & Tue, Fri to Sun), Closed on Wed & Thur
Telephone: +6012 498 3962

Operating Hours: 10.30am - 4pm (Mon & Tue, Fri to Sun), Closed on Wed & Thur