Penang is a destination that keeps on giving – delicious street food-wise, that is. There are many culinary gems in Southeast Asia, but Penang continues to stand out with the variety of local delights that please any palates. If you’re an ultimate foodie with Penang on your bucket list, let us guide you through street side favorites that every foodie should know about.
- Asam Laksa
Forget the other versions of asam laksa you’ve sampled elsewhere, because Penang is where this heartwarming dish originates. Unlike any other, every bowl of asam laksa comes with a bed of vermicelli rice noodles, served with spicy and sour mackerel broth. Other sidekicks such as lemongrass, tamarind, and shrimp paste are the ultimate trio that adds life to this delightful noodle soup.
Try here: Ayer Itam Asam Laksa (Jalan Pasar, Air Itam), and Joo Hooi Café (Jalan Penang, George Town)
- Char Kuay Teow
It’s a shame to round up your Penang food trip without tasting the iconic char kuay teow. It is the everyday comfort food of Penangites from all walks of life, and these stir-fried rice noodles are made to impress. Listen to the clanging sounds of the spatula, and watch the cook sprinkle a dash of Chinese chives, bean sprouts, prawns, cockles, eggs, and soy sauce onto the stir-fried noodles. This local delight is best enjoyed with spicy belacan on the side.
Try here: Lorong Selamat Char Kuay Teow (Lorong Selamat, George Town), and Siam Road Char Kuay Teow (Jalan Siam, George Town)
- Nasi Kandar
A comfort food loved by the Indian-Muslim community, nasi kandar is Penang’s version of soul food. Grab your plate of steamed rice and top it off with a variety of side dishes such as mutton curry, fried fish, stir-fried vegetables, and curry kapitan. Remember to generously drench your serving with a spoonful of curry to unleash its palate-pleasing flavor.
Try here: Nasi Kandar Line Clear (Jalan Penang, George Town), and Hameediyah Restaurant (Lebuh Campbell, George Town)
- Hokkien Mee
Hats off to any foodie out there who has room for a round of Hokkien mee. Essentially a rich-flavored prawn noodle soup, Penangites take it up a notch by adding hard-boiled eggs and pork slices on the side. Make the locals proud by taking it further with a choice of pork ribs, roasted pork belly, fish balls, or chitterlings.
Try here: 888 Hokkien Prawn Mee (Lebuh Presgrave, George Town), and Hokkien Mee at Seng Lee Coffee Shop (Jalan Burma, George Town)
If the foodie in you shows no signs of slowing down; pasembur is another local delicacy waiting to impress. Call it the Penang’s take on salads, you will find heaps of shredded cucumbers, potatoes, turnip, bean curd, and bean sprouts blanketed by nutty sauce. In between bites, enjoy the crunchy prawn fritters and spicy fried crabs from this plate of awesomeness.
Try here: Hussain Pasembur at Padang Kota Lama Food Court (Jalan Padang Kota Lama, George Town), and Stall 9 at Gurney Drive Hawker Center (Gurney Drive)
Penangites’ favorite way to tame the tropical heat is by savoring a bowl of refreshing cendol. A local dessert that is uniquely Malaysian, experience the depth of flavors from a simple combination of ingredients; such as shaved ice, green rice flour jelly, fresh coconut milk, red beans, and gula Melaka. Mix it all together and you have yourself an afternoon treat.
Try here: Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul (Jalan Penang, George Town)
It’s natural to feel overwhelm by the array of street food delights that Penang has to offer. Just follow our food guide and rest assured that your food trip will be a satisfying and rewarding one. Since Penang is a must-visit destination for foodies, remember to plan ahead to guarantee a hotel booking in Penang, and to make the most of your culinary adventure.