I think most of us know someone who loves char koey teow. It used to be a Chinese quick stir-fried dish but has since been assimilated into the Malaysian life. These days, char koey teow is done by everyone and everywhere you go, you see it in many versions. Iman Koeyteow Kerang is one such version which has been around in Alor Setar since 1985.
Iman Koeyteow Kerang
So what is special about Iman Koeyteow Kerang? Well, essentially this is the koey teow basah version, or wet char koey teow. If you go for a typical Chinese char koey teow, the koey teow is always fried over a very high heat, to infuse the wok hei flavour into the dish. Furthermore, the original Chinese char koey teow typically has a drier feel. The ingredients for both versions are more or less the same though.
But with dishes like koey teow, it’s up to one’s imagination the sort of ingredients you want to add in.
A different char koey teow experience at Iman Koeyteow Kerang
However, at Iman Koeyteow Kerang, you get a different sort of char koey teow experience. The wok hei flavour is still there but instead of the typical Chinese dry sort of char koey teow, the koey teow here is basah or wet. The taugeh is thrown in at the end of the frying. So if you get a semi-cooked taugeh taste. If you pay attention to this when you bite into it, you will find that you will be able to taste the sweetness of the taugeh.
A fried egg which is slightly gooey is added on top. It you have your koey teow there, you have the privilege of breaking the yolk and letting it run into the koey teow yourself. If you tabao it home, the yolk would most likely have flowed into the kwayteow. This egg yolk adds a creamy taste to the char koey teow and adds on to its unique taste. The koey teow here is served with pickled chilli in soya sauce which gives the whole dish an extra oomph in taste.
The char koey teow is only available at night, but they have other delights from morning
The char koey teow is only available at night though the restaurant is opened from morning. They have chicken rice, laksa, bihun soup, roti Arab, satay and other local delights too. My mom often stops there for lunch because she enjoys their chicken rice too. Plus it’s one of those places in Alor Setar which you can be assured of being opened and still being able to serve your orders. According to her, the chicken rice at Iman Koeyteow Kerang is worth a try too. The chicken is tender and not dry.
My mom frequents this place regularly because service is prompt and the price is very reasonable. In the early years, she often struck up conversations with Iman himself. His business concept is simple. Be consistent in service and pricing. Mom says he has kept to that concept through the years. The boss hardly goes to the shop these days as the business has been taken over by his son, who like his father does the frying himself.
Iman Koeyteow Kerang is usually packed by 8.30 pm. So, be prepared to wait because the place is usually overflowing with people on any given day, unless of course, it rains. Then the wait will be much shorter. You have an option of sitting in the open air or in the shop. Most prefer the former as this was how it has been like since its inception.
Anyway, with the kind of humid weather we have, sitting in a non-air conditioned shop can be rather stifling. The place has gotten more festive as his business grew. Sometimes you might even have to wait for a table, especially on weekends and public holidays.
Frying is still done in the same original stall site even though the shop operates from 2 shop lots now. But these days, instead of just Iman himself handling everything, you get a team of youngsters, dishing out plates after plates of char koey teow like clockworks. They have to be fast as apart from restaurant patrons, delivery riders are aplenty too. Business is brisk there.
Iman Koeyteow Kerang opens around 11.30 AM but the char koey teow is only available from 6 PM. onwards. It is located at Taman Pandan, Alor Setar. You can’t miss it because you’d see tables and tables of people eating there every night.
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80%: Price (value for money)
80%: Location (ease of parking)
77%: Overall Rating
Open daily 6 PM to 12 AM.