Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Penang Char Kway Teow at Perling, Johor Bahru - Kim Leng Coffeeshop, The Legacy Continues

I was brought to this very humble looking coffeeshop in Taman Perling one morning to savor one of the best char kway teow in Johor. It was originally manned by the husband, who has sadly passed away.

These days, the wife is still running the stall and frying the noodles, with her son helping out and learning the ropes at the same time.

Like a lot of Chinese family operated food business that I have come across in JB, the wife and son team are full of joy and energy when we came by their place that morning.

Even as we were reaching there, the distinctive aroma of this Penang variant of everyone's favorite kway teow dish could be easily made out by our rather eager nostrils. The wife was already hard at work and moving with a vigorous energy that is mandatory for frying kway teow.

Penang Char Kway Teow

The main difference between the Penang version and our local kway teow is the restraint in applying the dark sweet sauce. As such, the color is much lighter, almost golden. And there is a more pronounced savory tone to the dish.

The wife will cook each plate from scratch and she cooks to order. Presentation wise, it looked marvelous and neat, the spring onions bringing a nice dash of color to the plating.

The noodles were well fried and nicely tinged with a scent of smokiness, and the prawns cooked to a simple perfection. The crunch from the prawns and the bean sprouts combined well with the al-dente texture of the noodles, which were springy yet soft when you bite into them.

Ultimately, the flavors had a beautiful balance of the savory and the sweet, and the utterly infused flavors of the ingredients mixed with the intricately layered textures made each mouthful an absolute joy. This is definitely one of the best plates of char kway teow that I have had the privilege to taste.

The Wife at Work

As for the wife, life continues on despite the passing of her late husband. I particularly enjoyed the smile that exuded from her middle aged face even as she has to work even harder now to make a living for her family.

It is a simple dish in theory, but a plate of well made Penang char kway teow is a beast to master. As I had never tried the husband's version, I can only assume that his is as good, if not, better than the present version presented by his wife.

Some have called the husband a legend in Johor for his mastery of this dish. By any account, the wife should be deemed a legend too for the plate that she serves up in this quiet part of Johor.

The char kway teow legacy continues. For a long time, I hope.

Penang Char Kway Teow at Kim Leng Coffeeshop
19 Jalan Simbang
Taman Perling
Johor Bahru


  1. The husband was indeed a legend - his CKT is by far the best I have eaten outside Penang! Their prawn mee is really good and sells out very quickly too!

  2. Yes! It's fantastic. Indeed great comfort food. I've tried both versions as I used to live in Perling