READER Tan Jit Seng from Kepong asked: ?Hello Sam, I have been reading your articles for awhile and noticed that you have a liking for the black sauce char koay teow. Can you tell me why??
Okay Mr Tan, here?s my story: I grew up in a neighbourhood where this fried noodle dish was available fast and cheap.
In the past, it cost about 50 sen for a small plate of char koay teow. Today, it costs 10 times more.
And in places like Setapak in Kuala Lumpur, where I grew up, a packet of fried black noodles, without egg, cost 30 sen.
The basic ingredients were taugeh, choy-sum, cockles and lots of chee yau char (pork cracklings).
A packet of char koay teow with egg cost 50 sen and for 20 sen more, you got a jumbo-pack, which you could share with your siblings.
What made it even more tasty was the fact that some stalls used firewood to prepare this noodle dish.
The black sauce noodles were available almost everywhere in the Klang Valley during the 1970s and 1980s but sadly, very few stalls in Kuala Lumpur used firewood as it was more practical to use kerosene stoves by then.
One of them was located at the Pasar Raja Bot hawker centre and operated by Uncle Soo.
He managed to educate two of his sons up to university level.
Nowadays, you will find more Penang-style char koay teow in coffee shops, food courts and even specialty restaurants.
And just when I thought that all hope is lost, I re-connected with the people who kept the flame burning in the outskirts of the Klang Valley.
They recommended two stalls in Klang.
One was in Port Klang, managed by an old-timer while the other was in Taman Melawis where I gave it a controversial 10 out of 10 on the Samo-scale rating.
I took plenty of flak for this but some did agree with the quality of the food served there.
A year ago, I cycled from my home in USJ, Subang Jaya to Banting town near Klang.
There, I found a shop selling fried noodles.
I discovered Jipun Char Koay Teow and found out that the stall was managed by a second-generation char koay teow seller.
The restaurant was named after the late owner who used to operate a stall.
And at RM4.50 a plate, the food was as good as it gets.
I also found another char koay teow seller in the vicinity and his shop is named Banting Char Koay Teow.
This place is only open for business at night.
Further south of Banting lies Tanjung Sepat and in my past articles, I have raved about this small fishing village that offers big surprises.
There are two char koay teow sellers in town and their businesses thrive late at night.
My most recent discovery was a stall in Sungai Pelek near Sepang.
At this place, the char koay teow seller is a third-generation trader.
And at RM4.50 a serving, I must say it was one of the best in town.
However, I still plan to go on hunting for this dish, especially in the Klang Valley, as I grew up eating black char koay teow and still enjoy it!
SAMO?S SELANGOR BLACK CHAR KOAY TEOW GUIDE
Port Klang Char Koay Teow ? N 03 00.168, E 101 23.929
Taman Melawis Char Koay Teow ? N 03 02.618, E 101 26.187
Jipun Char Koay Teow ? N 02 48.799, E 101 29.984
Banting Char Koay Teow ? N 02 49.058, E 103 30.182
Lot 427 char koay teow ? N 02 39.629, E101 33.653
Lot 247-D char koay teow ? N 02 39.675, E 101 33.563
Sungai Pelek char koay teow ? N 02 38.575, E101 42.992