10 Best Street Food In Penang – The Penang Food Guide!


[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)

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47 Responses to “10 Best Street Food In Penang – The Penang Food Guide!”

  1. Lea Andersen
    August 29, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    I am curious what cendol taste like, the color is too cute. haha

    • admin
      August 29, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

      Coconut-y, milky, sweet…. think very diluted milk shake?

      • Lea Andersen
        September 5, 2014 at 9:44 am #

        Really! I’ll try this on weekends. Thanks a lot =)

  2. Suet
    September 4, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    Possible to advise me ur driver details? Wish to find a guide to bring us ard Penang.

    • admin
      September 4, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

      Hi Suet, I have emailed you. Please check your inbox.

      • Jasmine
        March 22, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

        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!

        • admin
          March 23, 2015 at 12:03 am #

          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?)

  3. jack
    September 11, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    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. :)

    • admin
      September 12, 2014 at 1:12 am #

      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 :)

  4. Vinny
    October 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    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.

  5. min
    November 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    hi, possible to email me ur driver’s contact? will be gg to penang in jan 2015 so wanna check out ur recommendation.

  6. Food Lover
    November 5, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

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

    • admin
      November 8, 2014 at 8:37 am #

      Hi Food Lover, check your inbox :)

      • Angelina
        March 5, 2015 at 9:24 pm #


        Could I please have the driver’s contact as well? Thanks.

  7. steven
    November 10, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    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.

  8. Esther
    November 10, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    Hello! Thanks for the hawker food write up! am heading there in Nov with my brood too. May I have your driver’s details?

  9. Cheryl
    November 12, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    Hi, can I have ur driver’s details too? Heading there this weekend and in Jan too! Thanks !

  10. Andrew
    November 25, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    Hi Daniel,

    Can you PM me your driver details as well. Going next week!

  11. Lee S
    November 27, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    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.

  12. Lil
    November 28, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    Hi Daniel
    love this love. Can share your driver details too? Going in Dec and if you don’t mind can share the rates. Thanks! :)

  13. Kelvin Teoh
    December 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    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.

  14. audrey
    December 17, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Hello! Thanks for the awesome review. I will be visiting there next month. Can I have the driver’s details too?

  15. Sylvia
    December 20, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    Hi Daniel
    Thanks for the review. Can u pls PM me yr driver contact number, we are gg there on X’mas Day

  16. Floris
    December 23, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

    Hi Daniel, may I have the contact of your driver. Thanks a lot!

  17. Regina
    December 28, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    Hi Daniel,

    Can I have your driver contact? I will be visiting Penang.

  18. zaed
    December 31, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    What time is the gurney drive food stall opens?i mean for the malay stall

  19. Lim
    January 11, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    Hi daniel,
    can you give me your driver contact

  20. Peilingg
    January 11, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    Hello Daniel

    Appreciate if you can share ur driver details!


    • admin
      January 11, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

      Have emailed.

  21. wendii
    January 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

    Hi Daniel,
    Can I have your driver’s contact too. Thanks!

  22. Makan G
    January 14, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    any chance of getting our driver’s number? Will be swooping in penang next week.

  23. J
    January 21, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    Hey Daniel, please can I have your driver’s contact too? Will be heading to Penang next week. Many Thanks in advance!

  24. Evelyn
    January 21, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

    Hi Daniel,
    Can I have the contact number of your driver? Thank you!

  25. XW
    March 1, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    Hi Daniel,
    Possible to share your driver details as well? Thanks in advance!

  26. March 5, 2015 at 6:58 am #

    coming soon…

  27. Angelina
    March 5, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    Hi, Please send me your driver’s contact too.


  28. March 14, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    Lilo Lita, Will you take me to all this place =))

  29. ann
    March 22, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    May I have
    the guide details please. Thks

    • admin
      March 23, 2015 at 12:04 am #

      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! :)

  30. Alex
    April 8, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    Hawker food are so expensive now after GST, please check this out

    • Amin
      May 5, 2015 at 2:49 am #

      Hi alex, are you penang local guide?

  31. Dickson
    June 25, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    Hi Daniel,

    possible to share the local guide number? will be going in 2 weeks time.

    • admin
      June 25, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

      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!

  32. Shirley
    August 10, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    Hi Daniel, can i have your driver’s contact as well? Thank you in advance.

  33. Ross
    November 4, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    Hi Daniel,

    May i have the local guide number please? will be there in a month’s time

  34. Ben
    November 11, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

    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?

    • admin
      November 16, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

      You can get a private driver if you want to cover as many places as possible. :)

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