5 Must-Try Hawker Food in Penang

5 Must-Try Hawker Food in Penang

Put on your on your baggy clothes on your next visit to George Town, Penang! From crab meat popiah soaked in savoury turnip gravy to Malaysia’s favourite Chendol desserts, discover the many delicacies Penang has to offer!

Penang is truly a food paradise. It has a good mix of traditional Malay, Chinese, Indian and Peranakan dishes and many of them can be found in hawker stalls throughout George Town. Throughout my four days in Penang, I had seen and eaten as much as I could.

My mission: to enjoy as many of Penang’s famous dishes as possible in four days.

I have engaged a local tour guide to drive us around for a day. Just like what I did for Bangkok, I gave this tour guide a difficult task. That is, to bring me to places which sells good Penang food. Stomach space is very precious. I am obsessed with what I will have for my next meal and I researched as much as I can. I know I am definitely going to put on weight after my trip to Penang, so I want to make it worthwhile.

And here I am, happy to share with you what I have discovered. We combed about 20 hawker stalls and picked my favourite five out of them. I really love the fact that the hawker food culture is still going strong in Penang. Everywhere in the town, you can see many roadside hawker stalls whipping up dishes which they have been cooking for years. We practically walked with a heavy tummy in Penang every single day because there are just so much to eat. We gorged ourselves silly on char kway teow, prawn noodle soup, curry mee, assam laksa and so on. The hawker buzz is incredible. I don’t think you can see this anywhere else.

I am writing this as a perspective of a tourist. I understand that there are many many amazing hawker stalls and my four days stay in Penang is totally not enough to cover all the gems in the food town. But I hope to just serve as a guide for those of you who are visiting Penang for the first time.

1. Mee Goreng @ Bangkok Lane


Just the mention of mee goreng and most locals will direct you to the Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng. The mee goreng business has been passed down to several generations and does super tasty mee goreng. It is definitely entertaining to watch the owner / his worker fry mee goreng – one hand tossing and frying the noodles, while the other hand constantly turning the wok in a circular manner!

When served, just squeeze some lime, mix it and you are ready to savour. Even for someone like me who seldom eats Mee Goreng, I can’t help but to finish the whole plate of mee goreng. The noodles was moist and so fragrant, with some decent wok hei. The prawn stock and mashed potatoes gave it a balance of sweet, sour and spicy. The mee goreng also have cuttlefish which, makes it stand out from other mee goreng stalls. One fun fact, the owner knows Hokkien!

Address: 270 Jalan Burma, Lorong Bangkok
Opening Hours: 8am – 6.30pm. Closed on Mondays

2. Asam Laksa @ Air Itam


Situated next to Air Itam market, this stall is hugely popular for its authentic assam laksa. With only RM4, each bowl is packed with thick rice noodles, vegetables, spicy mackerel based soup and a generous amount of shrimp paste. Its main distinguishing feature is the asam which gives the soup a sour taste. The fish is poached and then flaked. There are other ingredients like lemongrass, mint, onion etc.

The soup base is very flavorful and filled with generous amount of flaked mackerels. The prawn pastes gives more depth to the laksa. And it is refreshing with the mint and onion. Don’t think this is the best bowl of Assam Laksa in Penang but it is pretty decent.

Address: 11500 Air Itam, Jalan Pasar
Open daily: 11:30am – 10pm

3. Lor Bak @ Kheng Pin Cafe


This Lor Bak stall at Kheng Pin Kafe, located in the junction of Penang Road and Sri Bahari Road, is another up and coming Lor Bak stall in Penang. Lor bak is usually served as an appetiser, which consists of marinated five spiced pork wrap in bean curd skin. I think freshness is important in making Lor Bak.

The Lor Bak here has the perfect marinated meat, which makes it tender and delicately flavoured. The skin is also not as thick as it is only wrapped with one layer. So when it is being fried, you can see the golden brown crispy exterior. The lor bak here is not too oily, they only prepare upon order to ensure freshness. The Lor Bak is eaten with a chilli sauce dipping and homemade thick starchy lor sauce with beaten egg swirls.

Address: Kheng Pin Café, 80 Penang Road
Opening hours: 7am – 3pm. Closed on Mondays.

4. Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol @ Lebuh Keng Kwee


Chendol is one of Malaysia’s favourite desserts. But nowhere is the competition more keen than on Lebuh Keng Kwee, off Penang Road, where two families have been operating their stalls for decades. One is called “Penang Road Famous Chendol” run by the Loh family, while the other is called “Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol” run by the Tan family.

We chose the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendol from Mr Tan, as recommended by our tour guide. They have been in this trade close to 40 years. Armed with a five-decade old recipe, the family roll up their sleeves everyday to prepare bowls of refreshing chendol and ice kacang for their customers. Even Gurmit Singh and Lim Guan Eng patronise his stall!

In a bowl of RM2 chendol, there is aromatic gula Melaka and fragrant coconut milk, certainly a perfect remedy for the blistering heat of Penang. You can have the chendol beside the stall, at the comfort of air con. Another nice thing about the shop is that you can get a delicious, hot bowl of assam laksa from the stall right in front of the door.

Address: Lebuh Keng Kwee, off Penang Road
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 10.30am – 7pm; Sat & Sun 10am – 7.30pm

5. Seafood Popiah @ Gerai Gerai Padang Brown


Seafood Popiah at Gerai Gerai Padang Brown is one of the oldest in Penang with over 60 years of history. It is probably also one of the few stalls that had extravagant crab meat in its popiah. The ingredients here are simple with only shredded egg pieces, ‘bangkuang char’, crab meat and fried shallots.

After the popiah has been wrapped, it will be drowned in stir fried turnip gravy. When I first saw my plate of wet popiah, I wasn’t able to accept. But after tasting it, I love it very much. The popiah becomes sweeter absorbing the gravy.

There are also other good food in Gerai Gerai Padang Brown, such as lok lok, ice kachang, char koay teow, yong tau fu and more!


This post appeared first on Miss Tam Chiak.

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