Ah Leng Char Koay Teow

We were driving along Anson Road when we suddenly had a craving for char koay teow. The first thing that came to our mind is Ah Leng Char Koay Teow (亚龙炒粿条) at Jalan Dato Keramat, so we took a left turn and made haste towards Khoon Hiang Cafe. Fortunately the crowd is not large as expected, so we received our orders in less than 20 minutes.

Ah Leng is one of the few char koay teow gurus who is consistently on top of his game. Several other supposedly "famous" char koay teow stalls can be nice "once upon a time" or when "the chef has inspiration". But Ah Leng is known for his time-tested consistency.

We placed an order for two plates of the Standard Char Koay Teow (RM6.00). For additional RM0.50 each, the serving is up-sized with more koay teow, but the ingredients remain unchanged.
Ah Leng's char koay teow stands out among others due to the "wok hei" (镬气) or flame intensity. To heat the wok rapidly, Ah Leng uses cooking gas instead of charcoal; he claims no difference in taste and the only difference is speed. As fresh ingredients are added to the wok, the temperature inadvertently drops, therefore Ah Leng limits each stir-frying session to two plates only.
Each plate of the Standard Char Koay Teow contains two large shrimps and a handful of cockles (蚶). There are no mantis shrimps (虾蛄); it is only available with the Special Char Koay Teow (RM10.50). Minor ingredients are eggs (chicken eggs by default, or duck eggs for an additional RM1.00), bean sprouts and Chinese chives (韭菜).
Ah Leng Char Koay Teow remains popular among locals but is gaining fame among tourists. It is unclear whether his culinary skills will be inherited as he retires.

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