If you’re on a diet, this is not the dish for you. The dark, glistening sticky tangle of flat rice noodles was fried vigorously in lard, black sauce and lashings of chilli sauce before generous servings of egg, cockles, lap cheong (Chinese dried sausage), fishcake and bean sprouts were added. The rough handling left the noodles somewhat on the short side; we almost had to eat the dish with a spoon. But there’s no denying the technical prowess: the bean sprouts were cooked to a perfect translucence with a pleasant bite, while just enough dark soy sauce was splashed in, so that the noodles weren’t as abrasively sweet as some versions we’ve had. Celine Asril
INTERVIEW WITH THE HAWKER: Mr Ho Kian Tat, 54
He’s been around for a decade. The stall’s address is #01-17, but the stall name is ‘No. 18’ because that was the unit number before Zion Road Riverside underwent renovations. The numbers moved down by one because of the pathway in the middle.
Do you cook individual portions or in batches?
I usually cook in batches of 20 portions because that is how big my wok is, but for regulars, I’d cook the plates individually.
Your char kway teow is chock-full of ingredients, but it seems to be missing prawns.
The traditional char kway teow actually has no prawns.
I see, and it should be cooked with lard, right?
Yes, it’s a must for the dish to taste good. I use a good 300 to 400g of lard a day.
Is there a special technique you use to fry your noodles?
No. I simply fry until it gets to a certain colour. Its surface must get shiny and reflective.
What about the black sauce? Can you divulge what you use?
I use ordinary black sauce. As for how much, I can’t tell exactly – I know simply from looking.
Like this? Try these...
• Hill Street Char Kway Teow, #01-187 Bedok New Town & Food Centre, Blk 16 Bedok South Rd
• Hai Kee Char Teochew Kway Teow, #01-550 Commonwealth Ave Cooked Food Centre, Blk 40A Commonwealth Ave
This story first appeared in 'Step up to the plate' (TOS Apr 2010)