DBP Standardising Flat Rice Noodles Spelling To 'Kuetiau' Leaves Malaysians Conflicted

Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka (DBP) Malaysia standardised the spelling of the word after years of confusion among Malaysians.

Cover image via FriedChillies

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How would you spell this dish in Bahasa Melayu?

Image via yuyu Blog

'Char kway teow' or 'char kuey teow'?

Both are wrong. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Malaysia recently revealed that the flat rice noodles are actually spelled as 'kuetiau'.

In a Facebook post published on Sunday, 28 February, DBP said neither 'kuetiaw goreng' or 'koay teow goreng' is the right spelling for the stir-fried flat rice noodles.

The government body responsible for coordinating the use of the Malay language in the country has standardised kuetiau as the spelling for the noodles.

'Kway teow' is the Hokkien pronunciation of the word 'flat noodles'. The individual meaning of the words (粿条) means 'kuih' and 'strip' respectively, while 'char' means 'stir-fried' in Hokkien.

On Google, the 'kway teow' spelling fetches more search results than 'kuey teow' and 'kuetiau' combined.

In a reply on Twitter, DBP said that 'kuetiau' has been added to the Kamus Dewan, which was first published in 1970

However, many netizens are conflicted with this revelation

The definition of kuetiau on DBP's website.

Image via DBP

The Facebook post in which DBP announced the spelling went viral with over 10,000 likes and 4,500 shares.

Hundreds of netizens said that they are shocked by DBP's decision on the spelling.

"Hmm... when I was in primary school, teachers always used 'koay teow', but I never see the word kuetiau in Bahasa textbook. Guess that it will take a while for people to accept this new spelling," read a top comment.

"Ermm... I always spell it as 'kuey teow'," said a netizen, while another added, "Wow. I just know this. Kuetiau. I've always spelled it as 'kuew tiaw'."

All of the three Facebook users spelled the words differently.

Image via Facebook

Some netizens pointed out that many hawker stalls out there spell the word differently.

One netizen pointed out that some shops spell the word as 'koteow'.

Image via Facebook

One person contended that there is no right spelling of the word because, even among the Chinese, people speaking different dialects pronounce the word differently

Image via Facebook

Meanwhile, one netizen asked why does ordering 'char kuey tiaw' will receive a dish that comes with broth.

Image via Facebook

In a stroke of wisdom, one netizen said char kuey teow and kuetiau goreng supposedly mean the same thing.

"But, depending on your locality, the two terms can mean different things," he said.

Image via Facebook

Regardless of what DBP has decided on the spelling, many netizens said the issue does not concern them as long as the kuetiau goreng tastes delicious

Image via UPPRE

"We fix what we have normalised, and we need to normalise what is accurate. With that said, whatever spelling hawker stalls use, the dish is tasty anyway," said a person.

Another added, "As long as it's tasty, it doesn't matter how you spell it."

Image via Facebook

Did you know that the term 'add oil' can actually be found in the English dictionary:

Craving for kuetiau now? You can find them in these kopitiams: