Penang is among the world’s top eating destinations and has one of Asia’s best street foods that make Penang famous to locals and travelers alike. Plating significantly low-priced intensely flavored Penang cuisine, hawkers or street food stalls serve all day. These hawkers manage keeping the price low while always serving tasty food is because the cooks use inherited age-old family recipes and old-fashioned cooking methods. While food presentation isn’t always at par with restaurant standards, the quality and freshness is guaranteed.
Penang’s hawker food echoes the multicultural diversity of the city, as is evident in its cuisine with Chinese, Malay and Indian influences. There’s also the identifiable Nyonya cuisine in Penang, a fusion brought by the converging of Chinese and Malay immigrants.
Dine al fresco and try these Penang specialties at the famous hawkers by the street.
Penang Personality in a Bowl
Assam laksa in Cecil Market Food Court, Lebuh Cecil
Truly Penang, this wildly contrasting flavorful soup with mackerel, sour tamarind and chili are perfect together with chewy white noodles, fresh mint, shallots, cilantro, cucumbers and ripe pineapple.
Char kway teow in Pulau Tikus Night Market, Jalan Pasar
Made of stir-fried long, flat rice noodles with soy sauce, fresh prawns, cockles, scrambled egg, bean sprouts and green onions served on a banana leaf is among the most popular hawker dishes that’s a Penang specialty.
Nasi kandar in Line Clear, Jalan Penang
Originally Indian Muslim that’s now Penang’s specialty is this rice and curry dish that features white rice smothered with different meat curries and gravy.
Lorbak in Jalan Johor
A succulent Nyonya dish of minced pork marinated in five-spice wrapped in bean curd skin then deep-fried. Usually served with two dips of spicy red chili sauce and a gravy thickened with cornstarch and beaten egg called.
Koay chiap in Kimberley Street Duck Koay Chiap, Lebuh Kimberley
This is not for the faint hearted. Drowned in fragrant and flavorful pork and duck soup with star anise and cinnamon are duck and pig parts often avoided like ears, tongue, liver, intestines, blood. The rich broth is served with rice noodles, hard-boiled egg, sliced green onions and spicy chili sauce.
Hello, is it MEE you’re looking for?
Hokkien mee in Beach Street
Originally from Fujian given a Penang twist; this soup is a combination of aromatic prawn-and-pork-bone broth with chewy yellow egg noodles and thin rice vermicelli. Generously laden with boiled egg, prawns, fish balls, crispy fried shallots and sambal, the dish is perfect any time of day.
Wonton mee in Lebuh Chulia
Also of Chinese origin, the Penang version has springy egg noodles with thick sauce from soy sauce and lard oil, and a spoonful of intensely hot sambal. It is garnished with leafy green Chinese kale, sliced green onions, pickled green chilies and wontons which you can order “wet,” or served withflavorful broth.
Curry mee in Lebuh Cintra
Though similar to other noodle dishes, this intensely spicy coconut curry soup with chewy yellow egg noodles and thin rice vermicelli is rich and a little sweet; with chicken, tofu puffs, prawns, pork blood, cockles and cuttlefish. It is usually topped with fresh mint leaves and a spoonful of peppery sambal paste.
Sealed With a Sweet
Rojak in Gurney Drive Hawker Center, Persiaran Gurney
This Penang fruit salad has pieces of fried crullers and topped with a thick, sweet sauce from black shrimp paste and crushed peanuts. Ripened pineapple, green mango and papaya, rose apples, jicama, cucumber and guava are combined with the dark sauce, make a surprisingly unique and flavorful dish.
Ice kacang in Gurney Drive Hawker Center, Persiaran Gurney
Perfect on a hot day, this shaved ice dessert is filled with red bean, grass jelly, sweet corn and palm fruit and smothered with sugar syrup and condensed milk. To make it truly Penang, add a dash of shredded nutmeg..