How To Cook Vegan Penang Char Koay Teow

In Street Food Journeys: Malaysia Series 3 (Plant-Based Edition) we explore some of Malaysia’s most famous dishes, and show our audience how to tweak them to be vegan-friendly.

Episode 1 covers Penang, arguably Malaysia’s most famous street food destination, and in this particular segment, I demonstrate how to cook a vegan version of Penang Char Koay Teow (also spelled Char Kway Teow, or shortened as CKT).

If you’re old enough to have tasted my Char Kway Teow back in the day when I used to sell it all over Sydney and at my restaurant, you’ll know it’s probably what I’m best known for.  I’ve also sold a plant-based version of it at a vegan festival many years ago (it was hugely popular); this recipe is further adjusted to include besan flour plus a small amount of tapioca starch as an egg substitute, though that can be omitted if you prefer it sans egg.

Catch the replay of Street Food Journeys: Malaysia Plant-Based Edition (Penang) here; the Vegan Penang CKT segment is at the 1:20 mark onwards >> 

Vegan Penang Char Koay Teow


200ml soya sauce
1 cup sugar
1 TBSP salt
4 TBSP mushroom seasoning
1 Tbsp cooking caramel (thick soya sauce)
1⁄4 cup water

250g fresh rice noodles
1 1⁄2 TBSP oil
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP chilli paste (from soaked and blended
dried chillies) – optional
1⁄4 cup sliced mushrooms or protein of choice
1 1⁄2 TBSP CKT sauce
2 TBSP besan or chickpea flour + 3 TBSP water
1 tsp tapioca or cornstarch + 1 TBSP water
Small bunch of garlic chives, cut into 2-inch
Small bunch of beansprouts


  1. To make the sauce, combine all ingredients and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 8 weeks.
  2. Heat half the oil in wok until smoking. Add noodles and scorch.
  3. Add garlic and fry until aromatic. Add mushrooms and any other accompaniments. Add chilli paste if using.
  4. Drizzle about a teaspoon of the sauce at a time and mix well. Make sure sauce is absorbed before you add more.
  5. Add besan mixture into noodles, reduce heat and allow to set.
  6. Add tapioca starch mixture, cook a further 10 seconds, then fold into noodles.
  7. Turn off heat and add beansprouts and chives and mix well. Remove and serve.

This episode of Street Food Journeys: Malaysia (Penang) Plant-Based Edition also features:

  • The JetLag Warriors
  • How to Make Bubur Kacang Hijau (green bean sweet soup) by yours truly
  • How to Make Vegan Pasembur (a salad with crispy fritters and a spicy sweet potato sauce) by MOMC@Heart’s Liam Ghani, who blogs at

The recipes for the entire series, produced in partnership with Tourism Malaysia Australia, can be found in the special edition MOMC eMagazine which you can download here >> Click to View or Download

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