In the end, making the dish was easier than I anticipated, making me wonder why I waited all these years to try. And it's pretty darned good.
Char Kway Teow
1 tbs dried shrimp paste (Belacan)
3 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed, torn into pieces, and soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes, drained (I used dried red Chinese chilies)
3 tbs peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1 6-inch dried Chinese link sausage, peeled and thinly sliced
1 10-oz. package fresh broad Chinese rice noodles, rinsed and drained
1 tbs double black soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
4 oz. bean sprouts (I doubled this)
6 Chinese chives or scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
Place shrimp paste on a small piece of foil, and wrap around paste to form a packet; heat broiler to high and broil packet until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let paste cool slightly, then transfer to a cutting board and add drained chiles; using a knife, cut and mash paste and chiles together until a smooth paste forms; set paste aside.
Heat oil in a wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Add paste, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garlic, and cook, stirring, until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and sausage, and cook, flipping shrimp once, until barely pink, about 1 minute. Break noodles apart with your fingers and add to wok along with soy sauce and sugar; cook, stirring often, until noodles are evenly coated and heated through, about 1 minute.
Make a well in the center of the noodles; add egg, and cook, without stirring, until the white is half-set, about 45 seconds. Add sprouts and chives, and stir noodles and egg until evenly incorporated and sprouts and chives begin to wilt, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.