The char kuey teow burger: pledge for the unsung hero of food in burger form!

Bingeing and trying out new eateries for good grub is a lifestyle, and FungryTV definitely understand that! Their content puts the ‘fun’  in ‘hungry’ with their video directories for local foodies and the adventurous to check out the latest and tastiest meals in Malaysia.

Our focus today is their latest documentary on the Char Kuey Teow Burger; where they partnered up with Grub to make a delicious reality!

But more importantly, what’s the real story behind FungryTV?

FungryTV mainly comprises of a bunch of wonderful people; and their team’s mutual love for food, production and things mostly Malaysian creates content for their viewers which focuses on  visually captivating, entertaining and engaging displays of information through their carefully crafted script work, videography and crowd sourcing method that gathers information from Malaysians all around the world to share information about new and interesting dishes. All in-all, FungryTV is detailed on a human-centered spectrum, which hopes to inspire their viewers to go out, try, eat and fall in love with a delightful experience that their show brings forth to the table.

Today, we’ve been given the pleasure of having Razif Hashim and Sheril A. Bustaman with us for a talk about their plans for making the Char Kuey Teow burger (or CKTB) something for all Malaysians to enjoy throughout the country, and what it symbolizes about the Malaysian identity. You can make it a reality by tagging the comment section with your friend’s name on their Facebook video!

So, why the Char Kuey Teow burger?

RAZIF: Straight up- in the beginning, we just wanted to have a bit of fun. It was an accident! We were having a couple of nasi lemak burgers, and it was like wow- this is crazy, but this is great- crazy great! We were a couple of weeks into Merdeka, and we were brainstorming ideas for a campaign. So then, we were like, what are we going to do? And we just had this crazy idea to do a char kuey teow burger- we’ve laughed about the idea of it and then somehow thought about turning it into a reality!

How did the process of creating the CKTB come into place?

Razif Hashim & Sheril Bustaman
Razif Hashim & Sheril A. Bustaman

RAZIF: I immediately called Renyi from MyBurgerLab and asked him what he thought about it. Then I had the idea of involving all of our friends, especially the chefs. Then, I met Ahong from Grub, who was recommended to me by Renyi. In the end Ahong said, “Yah! Can do!”. We then agreed on making a few samples, and getting others to try it out and to pledge for it.

The process of creating the CKTB was purely organic, there was no CKTB agenda, we just had our friends come over to try it and that simply was just it. But I’ll tell you what though, we did have the idea of toying of making the burger, because we wanted to play around with the variety of the Nasi Lemak Burger. Then we decided to not make our own nasi lemak burger, but to create a different type of burger. What about Nasi Briyani?

SHERIL: Chee Cheong Fun Burger, rojak burger also lah- but we decided to go with the CKTB!

Are they any factors that made the CKTB the best idea amongst the many other ones thought up by the team?

RAZIF: Well, I started thinking about Char Kuey Teow because, I was looking into the history of it, and it’s really interesting la! Because CKT is actually one of the foods that got us through the development of Malaysia. It was mainly eaten by laborers during the day because it was like fast food. Char kway teow too, is an instant meal. A cook behind the wok for a couple of minutes, and then BOOM! Its already ready. So if you want to juxtapose, a burger is more similar to Char kuey teow, than it is to nasi lemak because it’s labor friendly and mobile.

SHERIL: The only thing about char kway teow is that it’s pretty heavy, so how do we turn it into something light and compact, without making it too muak to eat.

There were two parties in your documentary that had different ideas about what the CKTB should look like- some mentioned that the CKT should be made into a bun and the others imagined the CKT made into a patty. Which side are you guys on?

RAZIF: In this case, we preferred to go with the CKT as a patty with two buns. The reason for this is that the bread absorbs the grease, thus making it lighter to eat. The whole idea of noodle buns sound sticky, and we gotta remember that what we’re making isn’t a plate of ckt- the burger were making is more like a homage to the original dish but with a twist of our own.

A satisfied taster
A satisfied taster

SHERIL: Yes! Because I feel like everyone is pretty literal with how they imagine it to be. “How can the CKTB not have the kuey teow bits?” It’s reimagining the same taste but with a different kind of look- mango juice doesn’t have to have a mango in it, you know? Even in the way it’s made, the lack of kuey teow makes it more vibrant and the essence of the CKT is still there.

RAZIF: Although this wasn’t planned, we decided to wrap it up with an omelette and added some stuff to get the kuchai taste- but that is what makes the char kuey teow so special.

How were the responses from your CKTB tasting session?

RAZIF: *giggling*

SHERIL: Everyone was more or less apprehensive! It’s probably because when people think of CKT, it’s a filling dish that loaded with carbs, oil.. probably not the healthiest choice. So when we asked the testers their thoughts about the idea and whether it would pan out well before the tasting, they were mostly hesitant and hopeful- even when the testers saw how Ahong was making it. But when they ate it, they found it to be very light! I guess you could say that it’s somewhat confusing because it tastes exactly like char kuey teow on its own, but without the muakness. However, the reason why CKTB hasn’t gone viral yet is probably because only 30 people have tried it.

RAZIF: Based on the 30 people who did try it, we got positive responses. Mostly because they were just baffled by how it could work! Despite the perceptions of why it wouldn’t be a good idea, it ended up being a pretty neat meal!

SHERIL: I guess the right word would be ‘bewilderment’! Most wondered how we managed to fit all the ingredients into the burger- and more without turning the CKTB into something too strong. It’s weird, yet innovative!

Char Kuey Teow however, represents the worker, the nitty gritty of Malaysians – Sheril A. Bustaman

It’s very interesting that you guys are doing this take on the CKT Burger, but many are starting to say that this ‘trend’ gives off hipster and elitist vibes, despite the fact that you’re actually going for the opposite message.

RAZIF: We are actually embracing them (the hawkers)!

SHERIL: It’s more like a gift than anything else, really.

RAZIF: In our minds, it was like, “Guys, it’s Merdeka and Malaysia day is also coming up, which are both two very important days to us. Let’s play a game, fry something different up and see if people would like it”. We haven’t had the best of responses, but for those people who are adventurous found the idea acceptable and pleasant. Many people may have negative connotations with things that are new and truthfully urban, but what we’re trying to say is that CKTB isn’t just an upper middle class trend and everyone should be able to enjoy it!

Fungry TV champions the hawker stalls, not just hipster cafes


What do you mean by Char Kuey Teow being an ‘unsung hero in Malaysia’, as per mentioned in your documentary?

RAZIF: So if you look into our country’s history, we tend to always fall back onto hype. It’s a battle between depth and skill- and in terms of presentation, Nasi Lemak is more visually pleasing and tada! It becomes the ‘Cover Girl’.

SHERIL: Char Kuey Teow however, represents the worker, the nitty gritty of Malaysians; and we at FungryTV have always been about championing the underdogs, as we too float on the same boat. As a start up and being new to the scene, we’ve always created content based on lesser known and non-generic places to eat; and we feel like this philosophy applies to our take on the CKT Burger. Everyone wants to talk about our national dish as the nasi lemak, but what about char kuey teow? It’s never come from anywhere else, it’s from Penang OK!

So how can Malaysians do their part to help?

RAZIF: It would really help if you could share our post on your walls with your family and friends! You should also pledge by leaving a message and tag in the comments section!

SHERIL: Don’t forget to tag like, 10 people in your comment okay!

Any last messages that you’d like to share?

SHERIL: The CKTB isn’t in the market yet because we want fellow Malaysians to kind of make it happen on their own! The call to action is just really to get everyone together to make the char kway teow burger a reality!

RAZIF: Kita taknak syok sendiri dan jual, kita nak buat cara gotong royong. If the idea is well received, then we’ll definitely make it.

SHERIL: We’re not selling you a hype, we’re selling you what YOU would like to see on your plate.

If you wanna make Char Kway Teow burger a reality, tag your friends in the comment section on this facebook post.

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