Char kwai teow (stir-fried flat rice noodles)

Tony Tan's char kwai teow stir-fry.
Tony Tan's char kwai teow stir-fry. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

Have all your ingredients ready and this popular street food from Singapore and Malaysia is a cinch to make. It's best to cook one or two servings at a time so the rice noodles pick up the wok fragrance. Speed is essential and stir-frying the noodles can be done in minutes.


5 dried long red chillies, torn and soaked in hot water to soften

250g fresh flat rice noodle sheets

40ml vegetable oil

2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp dried turnip, minced - optional

1 lap cheong (Chinese sausage), sliced thinly

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp thick dark soy

1 tbsp light soy

100g peeled green prawns

20g garlic chives, cut into 2½-cm lengths

1 handful bean shoots

salt and pepper


Drain soaked chillies and blend to a paste with three tablespoons of the soaking liquid.

If rice noodle sheets come in a piece, cut into strips one-centimetre wide. Separate gently.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add a tablespoon of chilli paste and the garlic, and salt and pepper. Stir-fry for five to 10 seconds – chillies burn easily. Add the minced turnip, if using, lap cheong and noodles and toss well for three to four minutes. Push noodles to the side and add the egg. Add the soy sauces, prawns, garlic chives and bean shoots. Stir-fry another minute and dish into serving plate. Serve hot.


1. Pre-cut freshly made rice noodles are now available in many Asian grocers in Australia. If these are not available, buy the refrigerated packets.

2. Sambal oelek is a good substitute for the chilli puree if you are time-poor.

3. Blood cockles (clams that are also used traditionally).

4. Leftover chilli puree can be frozen.

5. Traditionally char kwai teow is cooked with lard but any vegetable oil works well.