Sweet Bistro: Shiok Penang char kway teow by kueh hawker, only available 3 hours a day

As I was walking through Holland Drive Market and Food Centre, one particular stall caught my eye. It was Sweet Bistro— a humble hawker stall selling various kuehs and tidbits like yam cakes. I realised that folks who were queuing up for the stall weren’t ordering kueh, but char kway teow instead. Bizarre!

Sweet Bistro 15 - storefront

It was only upon closer inspection that I realised Sweet Bistro had a smaller sign board below its main one, sporting the words “Penang Char Kwa Teow” on it.

I had a little chat with the owner, Benz Tan, who explained that he used to work in Conrad Hotel’s buffet restaurant about a decade ago, before he came out to be a hawker in his own right.

His Penang Char Kwa Teow is only available from 11am to 2pm daily making this certainly an elusive plate of char kway teow.

What I tried at Sweet Bistro

Sweet Bistro 13 - char kway teow

Like a moth to a flame, I went straight for Sweet Bistro’s Penang Char Kwa Teow (S$5). Though each plate was cooked to order, I received my order quickly, within a couple of minutes.

First impressions? This looked absolutely fantastic. The char kway teow didn’t look too oily, and had a smokish tint from its time on the wok. It also came with a large amount of ingredients, such as bean sprouts, a whole prawn, fish cakes, lup cheong and some greens.

Sweet Bistro 09 - char kway teow

My first bite got me nodding my head in approval.

Every bite was filled with savoury wok hei, and because it’s drier than the char kway teow we’re used to here in Singapore, I could taste a smoky spiciness, which only added on to how delicious it was.

Plus, what I loved about Sweet Bistro’s char kway teow was the texture of the noodles— it was light and delicate, yet it didn’t break apart easily, nor did it clump together with the rest of the noodles or ingredients.

This was seriously good Penang char kway teow!

Sweet Bistro 08 - char kway teow

If anything, I really loved how generous Sweet Bistro was with the rest of the accompanying ingredients. The bean sprouts gave that well-needed crunch factor, while other ingredients like the lup cheong, fish cakes and egg created a beautiful varied texture when paired with the char kway teow.

Sweet Bistro 03 - char kway teow

Sweet Bistro 10 - prawn

While I initially had thought that the S$5 plate of char kway teow wouldn’t be filling enough, I ended up being completely stuffed at the end of my meal.

It must’ve been the generous ingredients and the deceivingly little char kway teow (which turned out to be not so little after all).

Sweet Bistro 07 - char kway teow

My only gripe with Sweet Bistro’s char kway teow was that it was a little oilier than I’d like. As I reached the end of my meal, I noticed a slew of oily streaks on my plate.

Though I ended up countering the oiliness from the meal with a cup of lime juice, I’d gather that some folks might not enjoy it due to this factor alone.

Sweet Bistro 04 - kueh sago with gula melaka

To round off our meal, my dining companion and I decided to order some of Sweet Bistro’s kuehs, and we ordered kuehs for S$5.

We started it off with the Kuih Sago with Gula Melaka, which peeled apart beautifully in a sticky manner.

While I had initially thought that this kueh was made with glutinous rice, I was surprised to find out that it was actually small sago pearls! I loved the way its texture was soft yet chewy, and the gula melaka added a fragrant coconut-y sweetness to each bite.

Sweet Bistro 11 - putu ayu Sweet Bistro 06 - Putu AyuThe next kueh that we tried was the Putu Ayu. These are steamed pandan coconut cakes, and is usually topped with a type of palm sugar sauce.

These were delectable little cupcake-like treats that were fluffy and light. In particular, I enjoyed the grated coconut on the top, and how it added not just gritty texture to each bite, but a wonderful fruity aroma too.

Sweet Bistro 05 - kueh lapis

Last but not least, probably my favourite kueh of them all— the Kueh Lapis.

The colourful layers peeled apart gorgeously, and my dining companion and I spent a good 5 minutes simply sitting there and peeling the Kueh Lapis as if we were children again.

In terms of taste, Sweet Bistro’s Kueh Lapis was pretty traditional— there was that jelly-like texture and a richness from the coconut milk.

Final thoughts

Sweet Bistro 14 - char kway teow

I can see why folks would queue up for Sweet Bistro’s Penang char kway teow. It’s wonderfully smoky, filled with wok hei, and just a tad bit spicy. More importantly, it’s more dry than wet, and came accompanied by a generous amount of other ingredients for a perfectly textured bite.

It’s interesting to note that Sweet Bistro only sells its Penang char kway teow from 11am to 2pm daily, so be sure to swing by during this timing if you’d like to snag yourself a plate!

Expected damage: S$5 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

Sweet Bistro

44 Holland Drive, Holland Drive Market and Food Centre, #02-24, Singapore 270044

Our Rating 4.5/5

Sweet Bistro

44 Holland Drive, Holland Drive Market and Food Centre, #02-24, Singapore 270044

Operating Hours: 7am - 3pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 7am - 3pm (Daily)