Hawker Food in Penang

Penang Hawker Food
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 Geroge Town. 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.

Coffee Shop in Penang
One of the coffee shops in Penang
Penang Hawker Food

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 Fried Kuey Teow


Penang Chow Kuey Teow

One of the popular local hawker dishes in Penang is no other than the world famous Fried Kuey Teow, which also goes by other names lie Chow Kuey Teow or stir fried rice cake flat noodles. Some foreigners even call them fried flat noodles.

There has been raving reviews all over the internet about who has the best fried kuey teow while in my honest opinion, there is NO best in this category. They all have their own distinctive and unique taste.

Large prawns fried kuey teow. Photo by Becky Becks
Among the many top contenders in this popular hawker dish, you will hear many people recommending personal favorite places in Penang for fried kuey teow.

Where To Try Penang Fried Kuey Teow
  1. Campbell Street Chow Kueh Teow who sells it by the junction, 
  2. Lorong Selamat Chow Kueh Teow who a lady in goggles fries it in front of a coffee shop, 
  3. Sisters Chow Kueh Teow at Burma Road and 
  4. Fried Kuey Teow with crab meat at New Lane, off Jalan Macalister 
  5. Fried Kuey Teow stall at Long Beach Food Court in Batu Feringgi
Penang Asam Laksa

Asam Laksa Penang
 A bowl of the famous Asam Laksa
Penang Asam Laksa is another popular local favorite which can be found at many places throughout the island in different styles. 

Asam Laksa is in fact a fish based noodle or gravy soup done mostly by the Chinese and even Malay hawkers. But the one from Penang seems to be the most well known dish, and can be found throughout the island. 

The Penang Asam Laksa dish also made it into #7 at CNNs 50 Worlds Most Delicious Foods in July 2011, and currently is accepted by many travelers in Penang. 

Even for locals visiting Penang, they would go out of their way just to sample some of the islands best Asam Laksa places.

Where To Try Penang Asam Laksa
  1. Ayer Itam Asam Laksa - Probably the most famous
  2. Penang Road Asam Laksa - Famous with TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet
  3. Joo Hooi Cafe - Another Laksa with recommendations by travel books
  4. Gurney Drive Asam Laksa - This is one of the pioneer famous laksa's in Penang
  5. Taman Emak Kopitiam - More of a local Laksa joint with great taste
Penang Asam Laksa Photo
Asam Laksa from Penang
Penang Hawker Food Photos

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.

Some of them may look strange, but I can assure you that they are absolutely one of a kind. The only way to find out is by trying some of them.

Personally, I cannot wait to go back to the island to explore the many other hawker favorites, as every time I go, there will be some new Penang food to experience.

Penang Pasembor
Pasembur Penang, a unique dish to try
 Penang Cendol

Satay Penang
Penang Satay being cooked. Photo Mohd. Fazlin
 Teh C Peng Special and Iced Coffee

Must Try Drinks in Penang

While you are out there on the streets trying out the many local favorites, do not forget to try some of the local coffee and tea, which is consumed by locals regularly.

Around Penang, you can find the famous Teh C Peng (Special three layered iced tea with milk) and some awesome local brewed coffee from the many coffee shops around Penang.

If you should know, Teh C Peng Special is also well known around Sarawak Borneo and often called three layered tea there.

Penang Ais Tingkap
Ais Tingkap and Pasembor in Penang
Unique Hawker Delights in Penang

Among the strangest hawker food found in Penang, you will most likely come across Fried Chicken Skin, eaten by itself, and is a delicacy among the locals.

This snack is not easily found, therefore you will most probably find them as road side hawkers or at some food courts.

One of the places where you can most likely 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.

Hawker Center Gurney Drive Penang
Gurney Drive hawker center in Penang. Photo Wikipedia
Hawker Centers in Penang

There are a few well known hawker centers in Penang, and the most famous of them being Gurney Drive, which is really crowded and mostly with tourist. Local foodies do not come here from what I know.

The locals prefer to go to other lesser known hawker centers in Penang, and I do that too when I visit the island. 

Famous Hawker Places in Penang:
  • Swatow Lane Food Center
  • New Lane Hawker Street
  • Gurney Drive
  • Batu Feringgi
  • Ayer Hitam Market Area
Immigration Nasi Kandar Penang
Famous Nasi Kandar Immigration in Penang
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 a very unique Southeast Asian lifestyle, interesting placers of worship and even pre-war buildings. 

One of the interesting places to visit on foot would be the Penang Peranakan Mansion and Museum which is located around the main George Town area.

And as a photographer, I managed to capture a series of Pictures of Penang during my walkabout around George Town. 

Fish Head Curry Penang
Penang Fish Head Curry
While there are so many choices of local hawker dishes available here, I have highlighted only a few of them in this article. The rest is up to you to explore while you visit the island of Penang. 

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 honestly, for the food aficionado or street food lover, nothing beats traveling around the island looking for good hawker food in Penang, Malaysia. 
Hawker Food in Penang Hawker Food in Penang Reviewed by David Jr on Wednesday, November 09, 2011 Rating: 5

11 comments:

JIPP said...

Certainly my favorite place in the whole Malaysia. Sorry to say but Sabah probably come in second (mostly because I really don't know what to eat there) :-D

backpacker said...

выглядит аппетитно думаю что блюда очень пикантно .Спасибо за фото и обзор

travelman said...

looks appetizing dishes that I think is very juicy. Thanks for the photos and review

Charmaine Pua Li Ping said...

Penang is my favorite state! Rich in history and delicious food :)

Barbara Weibel said...

David you are just mean...now my mouth is watering for Chow Kuey Teow!

David Jr said...

Jipp - Thanks and yes, Penang hawker food is da bomb! Sabah, still looking for some great dishes.

Travelman - Thanks, have you tried the local Penang dishes?

Charmaine - Spot on! Best of both worlds :)

Barbara - Sorry... :) But when are you making a stop over again?

jason @ corfu villa said...

You've made me hungry now, It's 1am in England, and nothing is open!

Thanks a lot! LOL

David Jr said...

Jason, thanks and go find that Malaysian restaurant in London when you wake up :)

Gerard ~ GQ trippin said...

Holy cow. OK, this is the 4th time I've seen Penang cross my eyes this week. We ARE squeezing it into our Malaysia itinerary. Hopefully 3-days is enough.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Sooo yummy! We'll be in Penang this coming weekend - looking forward to all the good eats :-d

Property Penang said...

Penang the food heaven. Yum yum... Nice pictures you taken up there :)

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