(this plate of koay kark contains no pork or lard)
A long time ago, a huge packet of char koay kark only cost 50 sen. Packed in banana leaves, it can feed two persons. And back then, char koay kark is only sold wherever there is a Chinese opera show going on. Back then, there aren’t many hawkers around Penang. Anyway, most families cannot afford to eat out as often as nowadays.
Now, a plate of char koay kark cost RM3. It comes with two prawns, some fish balls, Japanese crabsticks, egg and of course, koay kark and beansprout. What makes a koay kark good is the chai por, a kind of preserved vegetables. Another thing is the koay kark must be chopped into even sizes and does not taste mushy.
Koay kark is made of rice flour mixed with water and steamed in a huge block. Then, it is chopped into squares. After that, it is fried in almost the same way char koay teow are fried. However, char koay kark must have the important ingredients of lard and chai por.
There are a few spots for great char koay kark.
Morning – Macalister Lane coffee shop. If you pass by Macalister Lane, you will sure spot the stall.
Afternoon – The koay kark above is brought from the Batu Lancang wet market. There are a few stalls there but the best is the no. 33 stall, just at the entrance of the hawker centre. A couple, both short and fat run this stall.
Night – There is one char koay kark stall which stands alone along Jalan Burmah, near Lightstyle shop. If you wish to eat, you have to stand there and wait for your plate of koay kark. Then, cross the busy Jalan Burmah to Jalan Tavoy coffeeshop to eat it. Sounds very troublesome? But a lot of people do that because the koay kark is good and so are the foods in Jalan Tavoy coffeeshop. So, to have the best of both worlds, people do not mind to carry their plate of koay kark to cross the road. Even when it drizzles (a plastic bag will be given to cover your food).
Coming up tomorrow – Chinese pasembur or called cheh hu (raw fish) in Hokkien.