Hawker Food in Penang



Hawker Food in Penang is definitely one of the must try local foods that everyone should experience when you are visiting this former British ruled island. As Penang Island or Pulau Pinang is located on the northwest of Malaysia on an island which houses over two million Penangites (what locals from Penang are called), there are many ways to get there which are by self driving, bus, train, ferry or by flight. The island is also one of the popular places for a holiday destination as many locals and foreigners seem to enjoy the old world charm of Unesco World Heritage Site Gerogetown. As I have been to the island many times over the years, one thing that stood out for me as a local was the hawker food there.
I will personally vouch for the originality of some of the famous hawker food which are found all over the island. Somehow, the unique and distinguished taste has manage to remain original despite change and modernization that has gone through over the years. Some of these hawkers are found in the core heritage zone itself while a number of them are well spread over town at food courts, road shoulders and even under trees. If you are a food lover, then Penang is one of the places you must try as they dish out some of the countries most famous local hawker dishes.


Penang Chow Kuey Teow

One of the popular local hawker dishes in Penang is the Chow Kuey Teow or Stir Fried Rice Cake Flat Noodles. There has been raving reviews all over the internet about who has the best dish while in my honest opinion, there is NO best. They all have their distinctive and unique taste. Among the top contenders, you will hear many people recommending this fried kuey town dish when in Penang. Some of the well known hawkers that sell them are Campbell Street Chow Kueh Teow who sells it by the junction, Lorong Selamat Chow Kueh Teow who a lady in goggles fries it in front of a coffee shop, Sisters Chow Kueh Teow at Burma Road and Crab Fried Kuey Teow at New Lane just to name a few.


Penang Asam Laksa is another local favourite which can be found at many places throughout the country in different styles. This is in fact a Fish Based Noodle Soup done mostly by the Chinese hawkers. But the one from Penang seems to be the most well known dish and can be found throughout the island. This Malaysian dish also made it into #7 at CNNs 50 Worlds Most Delicious Foods in July 2011. 

Below you will see a series of photographs related to some of the popular hawker foods in Penang just to give you an idea of what they look like. Personally, I cannot wait to go back to the island to explore the many other hawker favourites. 

 Wan Tan Mee or Wan Ton Noodles (Dried)

 Penang Cendol

 Teh C Peng Special and Iced Coffee

While you are out there on the streets trying out the many local favourites, do not forget to try some of the local coffee and tea. They have the famous Teh C Peng (Special Three Layered Iced Tea with Milk) and some awesome coffee from the many coffee shops around Penang. Teh C Peng Special is also well known in Sarawak too.

Fried Chicken Skin

Among the strangest hawker fare here, you will most likely be introduced to Fried Chicken Skin, eaten by it self and is a delicacy among the locals.Not all places has this therefore you will most probably find them as road side hawkers or at some food courts. One of the places where you can find the fried chicken skin is at New Lane Road night hawker. A van sells them and for those who are enjoy all part of the chicken, there is the bishops nose and neck which is also deep fried. 

Famous Hawker Places in Penang:
Swatow Lane Food Center
New Lane Hawker Street
Gurney Drive
Batu Feringgi
Ayer Hitam Market Area

For photographers, the Pearl of the Orient is a wonderland as it is rich in culture and heritage. While hunting down your food, you are bound to come across unique lifestyle, interesting placers of worship and even pre-war buildings. One of the interesting places to visit would be the Penang Peranakan Mansion and Museum which is located around some of best hawkers in town. I managed to capture a series of Pictures of Penang during my last trip there. 

While there are so many choices of local hawker dishes available here, I have highlighted only a few of them. The rest is up to you to explore while you visit the island. On a side note, if you have a weak stomach, all is not lost! You still have the option of trying some of the famous Penang dishes which can be found in proper restaurants, cafes and even on hotel menus. But for the food aficionado, nothing beats traveling around the island looking for good Hawker Food in Penang.

11 comments