Friday, July 22, 2011

Char Kway Teow @ Hum Darn Fun with Video 炒粿条@蛤蛋粉

Char Kway Teow (Fried Flat Rice Noodles) is how the world knows it.
Hum Darn Fun (Cockle Egg Rice Noodles) is how we Kamparians call it. FYI, Kampar is a small Chinese majority town in the state of Perak.

I grew up not knowing what is Kway Teow. More so know I didn't know its Cantonese translation as Guai Diu
I grew up eating Hor Fun or some call it Sar Hor Fun, that's how the Cantonese call those flat rice noodles.
I can recall how I laughed while holding my belly when my KLite Uni room mate called those noodles Guai Diu (like how you would pronounce 贵鸟in Cantonese). She was just plain unlucky to have 2 Perakians as room mates and both of us were rolling on our beds laughing. We found the Cantonese translation of the Hokkien name for this noodle to sound vulgar (Ghost F***).

If you watched the eating show "Taste with Jason 阿贤人情味", you might have come across the episode where he visited Kampar and interviewed the best HDF in Kampar. Jason stressed that it's called Hum Darn Fun and not Char Kway Teow there. LOL. I was laughing seeing him saying HDF, HDF, HDF, as if he's trying to psycho himself.

In Kampar, CKT or HDF is cooked on a large flat cast iron wok. The noodles are fried in large batches first, then finished up plate by plate according to individual needs. The version we had in Kampar is fried with eggs and cockles only. No Chinese sausages, no prawns. Just frugal eggs and cockles. Nothing fancy, but even with just these 2 protein sources, the flavour is bursting with deliciousness due to the 'wok hei' (wok smell). HDF is dry and fragrant whereas I find CKT to be on the moister side.

So, whatever it is called, it's fragrant fried flat rice noodles with eggs, cockles, prawns or sausages and lots of beansprouts, not forgetting the ultra important chinese chives.

Today I'm doing a CKT, since I'm not cooking this in a large flat cast iron wok and the cockles are missing. The "Hum" isn't there, so the HDF name does not fit this at all. But if you add in the Hum, then call it what you want, LOL. FYI, the Hum will never exist on my blog. I am allergic to Hum. If I consume any Hum, I will be humming my day off in the washroom. Seriously. I did that twice and I'm not going to risk myself with a 3rd time.

Am I confusing you? Good, whatever the answer is. Hahaha!

The method I'm using today is the way that my friend, Kin Thong's mom do it. She learnt how to fry CKT from her hotel chef son in law. I watch her do it and I learn from there. This method is more suitable for our home stoves which is less hot than commercial gas stoves. And you may think, just soy sauce for seasoning? Yes. Just that. The noodles derives its flavour mostly from the cooking process. If you handled the heat well, it will give the noodles the distinctive flavour, no need of elaborate seasonings. But the soy sauce used must be good on its own, not some bland salty sauce.

Char Kway Teow / Hum Darn Fun
Recipe Source: Wendyywy

So, what you will need per pax

200gm flat rice noodles (Yes, I weigh it)
1 cup bean sprouts
1 handful of chinese chives, cut into inch long segments
1 egg
few prawns
few slices of sausages (optional)
2 Tbsp of cockle flesh (optional)
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp (30ml) light soy sauce, about 1and 2/3 chinese soup spoon
Some pepper and cooking oil

Do it plate by plate. Never fry in large amounts. Prepare everything in the portion you need before you start cooking.
1. Loosen rice noodles, make sure they don't clump together.
2. Heat wok until very hot. Put in little bit of oil, say about 1 tsp and fry prawns until fragrant. Dish up and set aside.
3. Put in more oil, say about 2 Tbsp and put in garlic. When garlic is fragrant, put in rice noodles.
4. Fry noodles until they look partially 'blistered' by the hot oil. It will be slightly sticky and won't take long if your wok is hot enough.
5. Put in little bit of beansprouts and chives. (The small amount of these 2 are cooked to release fragrance by the hot oil) Put in light soy sauce and pepper and continue to fry until the sauce dries up.  Push the noodles to the side once a while so that it gets heat and it quickens the drying process. Push it back in to the center and push it out again. (Watch video to understand what I mean).
6. Push noodles to the side and put egg in the center. (add sausages at this point if wanted)Scramble it a bit and push noodles back onto egg. Toss everything.
7. When eggs are fragrant and noodles looks dry (it will have that 'blistered' look again), put in bean sprouts and chinese chives (add cockles if wanted). Toss and fry for a short while and dish up.
8. Serve with chilli sambal.

*No need to wash wok to fry the next plate. The dirty wok makes the next dish taste better. My hubby will confirm that ; )

Sambal for CKT
3 red chillies
1cm3 belachan (dried shrimp paste)
2 cloves garlic
Calamansi juice

Just blend chillies, belachan and garlic together. Squeeze calamansi lime juice over.

my husband took this video the afternoon I cooked him this for lunch

Each time I cook this, Mike keeps on asking me to set up CKT biz here in KK. Well, frankly. If ever I want to venture into food biz, I won't want to have a bakery or a fancy restaurant. I'd prefer to be a CKT hawker.

Reason: freedom.

Every ingredient can be kept and if I feel like closing earlier, I just dump everything into the fridge and pull down the shutters. If I suddenly feel like working, I just grab my stuff from the fridge and pull up my shutters. Easy peasy. No worries about leftovers.

Now, will I ever be a CKT hawker, Haha, I don't know.


  1. Hey what coincidence! I just fried CKT for my kids lunch! No hum for us too. No allergy there just that my kids doesn't fancy it's taste. you know in Spore, I grew up knowing Hor Fun as those cooked in eggy gravy noodle dishes like "wan Dan hor" ( not sure did I spell correctly). It's good that you enlighten us about the names... In case I ever go Kampar, heehee. 

  2. From the looks of the CKT, I bet you'll have a very sucessful CKT biz if yoi every open a CKT biz

  3. Thanks Wendy for the video are really good...I will try your frying method :) wa no nid to go for the famous CKT in town lo :)

  4. Hi Wendy,
    Wow, Amazing! I am always amazed by how you juggled between so many things and yet making sure everything is done to perfect detail like how you care enough to share in such detail the steps to prepare all those yummy food!

  5. mmm...very delicious! My tummy complains now and makes noise...;-))

  6. Char Keow Teow lor...the picture is very very nice....How come I always hop in ur site during my lunch hour? is baby? U have a pleasant weekend ahead ya.


  7. oh my oh my, you bring back a lot of memories of my hometown Kampar. Just loves all those good food in Kampar. I left my hometown when I"m in my teen and have never been back there since. By the way "the chee cheong fun" stall run by my relatives in the school canteen, her hb surname is Cheah. I think my aunt have 4 or 5 daughters! Your CKT looks sooooooooo tempting and delicious! You are a good cook.

  8. Bee,
    I bet ur kids will love your version

    Small kucing,
    My hubby said, best in town, LOL.

    Haha, still can go geh, if one gets lazy.

    Lite home bake,
    making a video is not hard. My hubby just hold the camera at it and shoot while I cook. He did the editing for me, like embedding my site's name on the video.

    Oh i can hear it :p

    baby is fine. LOL, I always post around 11 something, do drop by for lunch. LOL

    Oh, then you are Sook Kwan's cousin.
    Don't forget to tell me if you're back for a trip, maybe we can have HDF together in Kampar at the market.

  9. esther@ ur schoolmateJuly 22, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    Hey Wendy,
    I think u hv forgotten 1 very important ingredient - pork lard! Yeah I know it's a sinful ingredient..but the taste & smell of the fried pork lard r damn too tasty & smell so heavenly! LOL!!! So when r u going to post a recipe of kaya?? I misses ur mom's toasted bread with kaya, been eating those since when i was small! :) Ur mom still recognise me as her customer whenever i meet her at church service. haha!

  10. Esther,
    pork lard meh.. I dun go to market and buy fatty pork la. I don't even go to market. EH, you give me some from yr hubby's farm la, hahaha. But then, my MIL cannot take la, hypertension.
    Kaya hah, I was wanting to do a step by step picture documentation of my mom's kaya, but so far no chance cos she rarely makes it now.
    The last time she made it, I took my camera back, but no memory card. U see, sui or not.

  11. yr photo of that CKT is absolutely gorgeous!

    If you ever do open.. I will certainly make a trip to KK to savor this!! :D

  12. ha ha ha, the Hokkien name sounds!

    at first I thought kueh teow with ham tan...(salted eggs), lol!

  13. One plate here please! You really very good leh..:) Next time when we meet, you must fry some for us...kekeke

  14. I want 1 plate extra large with extra prawns, LOL
    So delicious and tempting, how can we resist!

  15. Look so delicious and yummy that I am so hungry now. Theresa

  16. Looking at your pictures make me hungry again. I just had char kway teow for my lunch. I dont mind having anothr plate for dinner.

  17. i love ckt so much..thanks for d lovely recipe..i will make it today haha :)

  18. Wendy, you can certainly open a CKT stall tomorrow! Looks so yummy. I remember there was this lady (in Kampar) frying her Hum Darn Hor Fun sitting on a low stool - she served her hor fun exactly like yours, on a piece of banana leaf. Loved her hor fun especially with the fragrance of the banana leaf. I heard that her son has taken over now. Looking at your CKT made me miss Kampar Hum Darn Hor Fun.

  19. Yes, if I am not wrong, Sook Kwan would be one of my cousin - I only know their elder daughter "Sook Ching". By the way, do you have their contact? I have lost touch with the family in Kampar. I think they stay in Kampar Jaya.

  20. Food Dreams,
    come come and post me in ur blog :P

    hey that sounds like a good idea.
    I'm sure u can come up with that, u're so creative

    can can..but I need an enamel wok or cast iron wok leh. LOL.

    Can can, add $ only . LOL

    i'm hungry now too

    Yummy bakes,
    Then later buy the ingredients and cook

    i hope you lik eit

    If you mean the lady that fried CKT in the morning market food stalls, next to a CCF stall, that lady is my 3kupoh :p Still reigning as the best HDF in Kampar.
    Cos there's another lady that sells at night, she has chipped lips, but she has no one taking over hers.
    I don't want to open a CKT stall tomorrow, LOL. I love being a homemaker for the moment. LOL

    Sook Ching is few years older than me and Sook Kwan is few years my junior. I have SK's contact on FB.

  21. Hi Wendy!

    Your CKT looks marvelous...I loved CKT very much and now I'm enjoying looking at your CKT...fantastic.

  22. Wendy, haha. Guai Diu=ghost f***, never thought of that before, you are so 'creative'. I love CKT also, I prefer the Penang version. If got chance to stop by Kampar, want to try the famous one there too.

  23. I love a good plate of CKT and I am not good at making it at all. You have the right kung fu of making a good plate of CKT. If you open a CKT business I will be one of your loyal customer.

  24. wendy, one plate here and no cockles please!Better be quick, i'm hungry!sure you want ckt seller? oily face!!haha!

  25. 0oo...I love CKT also, with extra cockles and spicy...yum yum..

  26. Nuridah,

    Well, she didn't pronounce it as "Gor tiu", but "Guai diu", so my other perakian room mate and I were like "Hah? Hah?" until she told us it's kway teow, then only were like, oh....!!

    Patronize my stall once in a year when you come back and I'll be glad

    okok, coming right up. oily face nvm la, good $.
    But then I find it worse to be smelling like garlic.

    My hubby likes extra cockles too

  27. Dear Wendy,

    Your wok looked great, can I know what kind of wok are you using? I hope to get one for my house. Thanks!

  28. Anonymous,
    It's a Made in China enamel wok, they call it 油锅"yau wok".
    Lightweight, easy to clean, and non stick(if properly heated). Heat handling is good too, heats up and cools down easily.
    I bought my wok at those crockery shops that sells kitchen utensils. It cost me almost RM40 for a 40cm wok. There are made in Malaysia ones but I heard the coating is not as long lasting as those made in China.

  29. Guai Diu or Hum Darn Fun, yours sure taste good! I can "smell" the fragrance just from watching the video .... Fong's Kitchen

  30. first & foremost, congrats over your newborn. It is unbelievable how much passion & love you have for cooking & baking. On top of that, you provide online teaching with detailed instructions and video. You are a great cook & baker. Awesome.

  31. Wendy,for me, i will also add few drops of fish sauce, taste even better! I love your big prawns and crunchy taugeh!

  32. Regardless of what the dish is called, this sounds absolutely amazing!

  33. Woh, fry like pro! I'm surprised only soy sauce is used!

  34. angeline,
    thank you

    thanks for the tips, will try that when I get some fish sauce next time.

    Yes, true

    like sonia suggested, can try adding some fish sauce, but I haven't try that. But I don't like China's fish sauce, too smelly for me. Maybe I'll try to like thai fish sauce instead

  35. Wendy, aiyoh, I want "HUM" lots of them in my CKT lah. Oh I like it with lots of chilli, crunchy bean sprouts and chives. In other words, of everything but little KT hehe. Love CKT with duck eggs too, the taste is one notch higher than chicken eggs. You hawker CKT, I come help you wash dishes, my salary cheap, cheap, just give me a free plate of your delicious CKT each day. Oh I no need to see the video, I listen to the sound of how you hit the wok spatula against the wok while frying, I already know a PRO is at work!

  36. Quay Po,
    susah mau cari duck eggs ler. If got I also want. But then, duck eggs are harder to cook and must be realy fast cos they harden much quicker compared to chicken eggs.
    You become free labour for CKT, can can, dirt cheap la u. LOL.

  37. I tried it the other week and my whole family love it!
    THis is not a difficult dish to prepare on a weekend morning!
    Thank you so much for hte recipe

  38. Benny,
    Yup, I always do this for lazy weekends, quick and easy.

  39. Hi Wendy,
    Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe. As always - your recipes turn out well! Previous attempts always resulted in oily and soggy fried Kuay teow. THIS time - Awesome! My family simply loved it!!


  40. Susanna,
    I saw your picture and it looks great! I've been lazy lately and if only you stayed nearby, I can sneak over for a plate!


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