[Penang, Malaysia] You can probably find some of the best street food in Penang alone, and it is there I discovered many old-school familiar tastes and nostalgic sites at every corner, especially around the charming George Town.

Penang is also the first overseas place I ever visited as a child, thus there are many fond memories associated. I love watching how the hawkers stir up a plate of fried noodles with such gusto and passion. Growing up in a fast urbanizing city, it’s a sight I miss.

Here are 10 of the Must Eat Street Food in Penang. (Though I must add the disclaimer that there are just too many places to include.)

Penang Laksa
I personally think Penang Laksa is the defining, must-eat, have to try food when you travel to there. There are many laksa variants around Asia, but Penang’s Assam Laksa is one of its kind. Containing mackerel fish flakes and signature thick prawn paste (I don’t think you can get such good ones anywhere else in the world), this is a bowl of tangy, savoury, sweet and spicy all together. One word – Shiok! Delicious lah! (Read: Pasar Air Itam Laksa )

Pasar Air Itam Laksa
Jalan Pasar Road, 11500 Air Itam
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 8pm

Joo Hooi Café
475, Jalan Penang
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 5:30pm

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
Persiaran Gurney
Opening Hours: 6pm – 12am

Char Koay Teow
Many Penang locals call the Char Koay Teow, stir-fried rice noodles, the best street food. Some Penang versions use generous portions of seafood, duck eggs, and fry them on charcoal stoves skillfully, creating this distinctive ‘wok-hei’ (heat) which makes every mouthful hugely satisfying. The Penang style is usually sweeter and lighter than Singapore’s dark version.

Ah Leng Char Koay Teow
Restoran Tong Hooi (opp Kafe Khoon Hiang)
Opening Hours: Closes at 2:30pm

Kafe Heng Huat
108, Lorong Selamat
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 6pm

Kedai Kopi Sin Guat Keong
Lebuh Kimberly
Opening Hours: 6pm – 12:30am

Fried Oyster Omelette (Oh Chien)
While Taiwan has its own thick sweetish kind, and Thailand a crisper version, I still enjoy Penang’s Oh Chien – potato starch fried with eggs and oysters. Found a random Kah Kah Oyster Omelette stall opposite the famous Penang Cendul shop, and was surprised how fluffy the starch mixture, fragrant the omelette and fresh the oysters are. An oily guilty treat nevertheless, but worth its calories for now.

Yi Garden
Macalister Road
Opening Hours: 6pm – 10:30pm

Lam Ah Coffee Shop
Carnarvon Street
Opening Hours: 11pm- 3:30pm

Kah Kah Fried Oyster
Lebuh Keng Kwee

Penang’s usually hot all year around, and a bowl of cooling Cendol becomes a must-have. Containing jelly ‘noodles’ with green colouring from pandan, red bean palm sugar, and shaved ice, the freshness of the coconut milk makes all that difference. Tourists go for the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul, while the locals think otherwise.

Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
27 & 29 Lebuh Keng Kwee
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 7:00pm (Mon-Fri), 10:00am – 7:30pm (Sat-Sun)

Joo Hooi Cafe
475, Jalan Penang
Opening Hours: 12pm – 5:30pm

New World Park
Lorong Swatow
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm

Prawn Noodles (Hae Mee)
Hokkien cuisines are known to have a more intense and richer taste, thus expect the same from Penang’s Hae Mee. (Sometimes, people get confused because both the prawn noodle soup and fried versions are call ‘Hae Mee’.) The broth is usually in a shade of orange, cooked by boiling prawn head and pork ribs for many hours, topped with deep fried shallot. Umami at its best.

Ah Soon Kor Har Mee
168, Jalan Macalister
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 1pm

One Corner Café
No 2, Jalan Bawasah
Opening Hours: 8am – 11am

Kwai Lock Café
295B, Jalan Burmah, Pulau Tikus
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 1:30pm

Wantan Mee
Thank you to my faithful travel mates who accompanied to try Wantan Mee every day. Penang’s Wanton Mee has an old-school style that I miss. Simple springy noodles with thinly cut roast pork tossed in black sauce, not forgetting the very fragrant pork lard.

Wan Tan Mee Stall
Lebuh Chualia (in front of furniture shop)
Opening Hours: 7:30pm – 11:30pm

Kwai Lock Coffee
295-B, Jalan Burmah
Opening Hours: 5:30am – 3pm

Swee Kong Coffee Shop
Pulau Tikus Jalan Burma (opp Pulau Tikus Police Station)
Opening Hours: 6am – 9am (Closed Mon, Thurs)

Curry Noodles
People around the world are snapping up MyKuali White Curry Instant Noodles, so why not try the real deal? A dish quite unique to Malaysia, this has yellow noodles or vermicelli in spicy curry soup. Though Penang’s version is usually less milky and lighter.

Sister’s Curry Noodles
Jalan Paya Terubong, Air Itam
Opening Hours: 8am – 1pm

Tua Pui Curry Mee Stall
No 23 Lebun Kimberly
Opening Hours: 9am – 5:30pm

Curry Mee Stall
Lebuh Chulia (in front of furniture shop)
Opening Hours: 7:30pm – 11:30pm

Lok Bak
Some call this ‘ngo hiang’ or five-spice pork roll, though more commonly known as Lok Bak in Penang. Most Lok Bak stalls sell this minced pork roll along with other ingredients such as fishcake, prawn fritters, and beancurd – deep-fried and dipped in sweet and sambal chilli sauces.

Kheng Pin Café
80 Penang Road
Opening Hours: 7am – 3pm (Closed Mon)

Hon Kei Food Corner
45 Kampung Malabar
Opening Hours: 9am – 3pm, 5pm – 12am (Closed Thurs)

Penang Rojak
Before I talk about Rojak, you must know that Penang is very famous for its fermented prawn paste, otherwise known as ‘hae ko’. This thick sweet black sauce defines a good Rojak- which means ‘mixture’ in Malay. Penang’s Rojak would usually add fruits such as guava, raw mangoes and green apples, and omit dough fritters and beancurd puffs. Imagine refreshing fruits with salty thick black sauce. Ah-hah.

Hock Seng Rojak King
Macallum Street (in front of Kedai Kopi Sin Hong Leong)
Opening Hours: 11am – 5pm

Kompleks Makanan Medan Renong
Jalan Padang Kota Lama
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm

Rojak at Penang Road Teochew Chendul Shop
27 & 29 Lebuh Keng Kwee
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 7:00pm (Mon-Fri), 10:00am – 7:30pm (Sat-Sun)

Mang Chang Kuih
In simple words, this is pancake. But wait till you try this. My guide recommended Anson Road’s as possibly the best mang chang kuih in town. Had the ham, cheese and mayo. Prepared by a 3rd generation owner, his grandpa, his papa also sold these pancakes. He was originally a hair stylist who decided to take over his family’s stall. We are kind of glad he did.

Anson Road Market Pancake
Anson Road (in front of Lok Pin Coffee Shop)
Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm

Pulau Tikus Maket
B1-12B, Jalan PAsar
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 12pm

I must thank my driver Alex, people we meet on the streets (Just ask. Penang people are very friendly!), and several friends for their food recommendations.

Of course, the Penang locals would know best where to get the best food, so do leave a comment, because I intend to go back, hopefully very soon. (And a token street art photo at George Town.)

Sorry everyone, I won’t be providing the driver’s contact, as I am not entirely sure if his company would be the best recommend. But you can easily google for good Penang tour guides. Have fun feastig! 🙂

Other Penang Entries
Pasar Air Itam Laksa (Penang)
Toh Soon Cafe (Penang)


        • the fragrance of fresh coconut milk pair wonderfully with the aromatic palm sugar and cooked in pandan leaves..its a bit like cream caramel but so much better plus the sweetened red bean and pandan jellies will heighten the whole experience..its not too sweet but also slightly savoury and kokumi and so so addictive…i can have a jug all by myself!

      • Hi Daniel,

        Thanks for such a wonderful detailed guide!
        Looking forward to trying some, if not all of your recommendations.

        It’s our first trip to Penang and with 2 young kids, it’ll be great if you could kindly pass me the number to your friendly local guide.

        Although, I do see that quite a few people have asked your for it too. Hee hee. Hopefully he wouldn’t be booked up when we get there next week..

        Anyway, it’ll be great if you could email me his contact too. Thanks in advance!

        • Hi Jasmine, I am sure you will enjoy Penang, and have fun exploring the street art with your children.

          I do not provide my driver’s contact anymore, because I do not want to come across as endorsing his company and services (as there may be better and more reasonably priced ones out there?)

      • If you are from Singapore, you can contact Asian Compass for best travel guides and driver. They are good. Look for Caron Lim.

        Tatcha Jay

  1. some corrections for you, my fiancee is a penang girl and i’ve been there more than i can count with my fingers 🙂

    1. They don’t call prawn noodles Hae/har mee there, if you ask for that they will send you our version of Hokkien Mee. If you want prawn noodles, ask for Hokkien Mee instead (its the other way round, i know, its confusing).

    2. They don’t call it Orh Chien there as well. Mostly people refer to it as Orh Luah there. but Orh Chien might work.

    3. Lastly, its LoR Bak, not LoK Bak. And the sauce thats more preferred and supposed to taste is better is the ‘Lor’ sauce (together with chili sauce for more kick), hence they call it Lor Bak rather than Ngo Hiang.

    Hopefully anyone that goes there can sound more ‘local’ when ordering and get the correct food you ordered with these info. 🙂

    • Hi Jack, thanks for clarifying. So far, Hae Mee and Orh Chien worked well for me (no confusing looks). But you are local, you know best 🙂

  2. Can I pls have your driver contact details too? I’m heading to Penang next week with my whole kampung and we’ll definitely be checking out these recommendations.

  3. Hi
    I’m planning a trip to penang in Dec. I can pls have your driver’s contact? Can’t wait to try your recommendation!

  4. Can I have the driver details too ? I will be going to Penang next week. Wanna try the good local food. How about asam fish head ? Any good recommendation.

  5. Hi Daniel, thanks for your sharing. My family will b gg penang next week, can u share with me the contact of your local guide? Thank u in adv.

  6. If you are anywhere near the Nyonya Heritage Mansion, just visit Wah Pin Coffee Shop for the fish noodle soup. It is good and reasonable priced. Also try the in-house coffee.

    • Hi Ann, I do not provide my driver’s contact anymore, because I do not want to come across as endorsing his company and services (as there may be better and more reasonably priced ones out there?) Have fun with Penang! 🙂

    • Hi Dickson, I do not provide my driver’s contact anymore, because I do not want to come across as endorsing his company and services. Hope you understand. Have a good trip!

  7. I am from Sarawak and plan to take breakfast at Kedai Kopi Swee Kong around 6.30am. From Cititel Express to Kedai Kopi Swee Kong in early morning, what is the best mode of transport? Is it far to walk and is it safe (say at around 6am)? Or if I drive, is it easy to find parking space near Kedai Kopi Swee Kong?

      • Dear Daniel
        these are great but Penang has a lot more to offer i would like to recomend also:

        Cheh Hu (Pasembur)
        Crab meat Popiah (spring roll)
        Choon Phneah (Hainanese Spring Roll)
        Char Kway Kak (a bit like Char Kway Teow but using rice cake instead of noodles)
        Mee Goreng Mamak
        Also for Prawn Mee or Hokkien Mee some stalls also offer Lor Mee which means you can have it in thick starchy gravy and some have it both mix prawn stock and starchy gravy as in “Lor cham teng”
        Nasi Kandar
        and dont forget to try some if the refreshing local drinks like fresh nutmeg juice, ambara juice, also the herbaceous daun pegaga green juice from the Penang Teowchew Chendol stall
        and for the old taste of Penang:
        Hainanese Roti Babi and Choon Piah
        Hai Onn Chicken Chop
        Hainanese Fried Noodles “Hailam Char”
        Hock Chiew Fishball Tung Hoon (glass noodles)
        Oriental Chicken Pie
        Nasi Ulam
        also there’s delicious Nazlina vegetarian laksa
        where famous local chef Nazlina can introduce you to more than 12 types of laksa

        Her info below

        Maybe she knows a better source for true penang food guide
        drop her an email and mentioned Dominic gave you her contact

        Hope you all enjoy these infos



    355,357&359, Lebuh Chulia 10200 Pulau Pinang
    04-261 3809



    KH 🙂

  9. hey there, firstly thanks for the post! been researching on where to eat as I will be visiting penang next week. We will be there for 2 days so you can imagine how precious time is gonna be, oh and our tummy space! anyways, just wanted to thank u for sharing with us this lovely post!


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