Penang street food is renowned for its tantalising and unique blend of flavours. As foodies, we spent our month-long trip here looking for the most hyped-up hawker stalls. As a result, we've compiled a list of all the best street food in Penang (and gained a few kilos on the way).
We've decided to not include common Malaysian street foods like satay, lok lok, grilled chicken wings, rojak, nasi goreng, pisang goreng on our list. We wanted to focus on regional specialities as well as hidden gems.
It also means that our list is quite different from your average street food guide. So are you ready to embark on a culinary journey like no other?
- Best Penang Street Food Spots
- Char Koay Teow at Siam Road Charcoal Char Kuey Teow
- Penang White Curry Mee at Hot Bowl White Curry Mee
- Cendol at Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
- Penang White Coffee at OO Coffee
- Durian at 2 Acres Cafe in Balik Pulau
- Duck Koay Chap at Kimberley Street Duck Kway Chap
- Roti Canai at Gemas Road Brothers
- Asam Laksa at Penang Air Itam Asam Laksa
- Four-fruit soup at Kimberley Street Dessert Old Time Delight Shop
- Apom at Apong Guan's on Jalan Burma
- Hokkien Mee at 888 Hokkien Mee
- Hor Ka Sai at Toh Soon Cafe
- Mee Sotong at Hameed Pata Mee Sotong
- Pasembur at Pasembur King Hussain at Medan Renong
- Ice Kacang at Swatow Lane Ice Kacang (New World Park)
- Wan Tan Mee at Kedai Kopi Seng Thor
- Char Koay Kak at Sister Yao’s Char Koay Kak
- Sotong Kangkung at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
- Koay Teow Th'ng at Lum Lai Duck Meat Koay Teow Th'ng
- Fried Fish Bee Hoon at Village FishHead
- Oyster Omelette at OO White Coffee at Lebuh Carnarvon
- Nasi Lemak at Ali Nasi Lemak Daun Pisang
- Nasi Kandar at Hameediyah
- Top 10 Street Food in Penang
- Taking a Penang Street Food Tour
Best Penang Street Food Spots
Food courts and night markets are where you will find most of the best street food in Penang. Unless you're a serious foodie, these food courts and night markets will have enough variety of different hawker foods to satisfy you.
You can also take a Penang street food tour, so you can discover the best places and try various dishes quickly.
Otherwise, it's best to go to the particular spots that we'll mention in our comprehensive guide.
|Char Kuey Teow
|Siam Road Charcoal Char Kuey Teow
|White Curry Laksa
|Hot Bowl White Curry Mee
|Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
|2 Acres Cafe in Balik Pulau
|Duck Kway Chap
|Kimberley Street Duck Kway Chap
|Roti Canai Banjir
|Gemas Road Brothers
|Penang Air Itam Asam Laksa
|Four Fruit Soup
|Kimberley Street Dessert Old Time Delight Shop
|888 Hokkien Mee
|Hor Ka Sai
|Toh Soon Cafe
|Hameed Pata Mee Sotong
|Pasembur King Hussain
|Swatow Lane Ice Kacang
|Wan Tan Mee
|Kedai Kopi Seng Thor
|Char Koay Kak
|Sister Yao’s Char Koay Kak
|Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
|Koay Teow Th'ng
|Lum Lai Duck Meat Koay Teow Th'ng
|Fried Fish Bee Hoon
|OO White Coffee at Lebuh Carnarvon
|Ali Nasi Lemak Daun Pisang
Street Food in Penang (Early Morning)
Lebuh Cecil is a bustling street with many food stalls. Meanwhile, Sri Weld Food Court is another popular spot for breakfast and lunch, with a wide selection of local cuisine.
Best Penang Street Food at Night
If you're feeling a little hungry after a night out in Penang, check out Chulia Street Night Hawker Market, New Lane, and Kimberley Street Food Night Market in Georgetown. These are also popular spots to try the best street food in Penang at night.
We also suggest popping by Macallum Road Night Market (only on Mondays) and Big Crab street food, which is just a 12 minutes drive from Gurney Drive. These locations also offer a wide selection of tasty street food options.
Char Koay Teow at Siam Road Charcoal Char Kuey Teow
Char Koay Teow is a famous street food in Penang. This delicious dish is unique due to its charcoal-based cooking method. The charcoal gives the koay teow a distinctive smoky flavour and aroma. Meanwhile, the rice noodles are smooth and well-seasoned. The dish is layered with flavour from the added cubes of crispy pork lard.
When it comes to Penang street food, Siam Road Charcoal Char Kuey Teow is the pioneer for charcoal-fried Kuay Teow. The stallholder whips out delicious plates of Char Koay Teow accompanied with other delicious ingredients.
What makes Siam Road Charcoal Char Kuey Teow special is the large helpings. For example, the stall owners generously top each plate with a handful of plump medium-sized prawns, Chinese sausages, bean sprouts, chives, and cockles. Furthermore, the koay teow noodles are stir-fried with dark soy sauce and chilli paste to create a rich, savoury flavour.
You will find many locals and tourists queueing up for this humble stall. In fact, you'll find that Siam Road Charcoal Char Kuey Teow is on the list for many domestic tourists who will travel from KL to Penang.
Therefore, our top tip is to make sure you go before noon to avoid the lunch-hour crowds. Going before noon will also give you a better chance to see the original cook making his famous dish. Due to old age, he will take a break and switch shifts with his son in the afternoon.
Siam Road Charcoal Char Koay Teow
Siam Road, Off Jalan Anson 10400 George Town
Where else can you get this famous Penang street food?
There are two other great places to try this dish! One of the stores is called Ah Leng Char Koay Teow, which offers an extra special char koay teow. They serve it with large, juicy prawns, creamy duck eggs and bits of crispy deep-fried pork fat.
Alternatively, you can also get this famous street food in Penang at Tiger Char Koay Teow. Their dish is lighter and less fried.
Penang White Curry Mee at Hot Bowl White Curry Mee
Penang white curry mee is a unique Penang speciality because it has a more distinct creamy taste than regular curry mee. Cooks usually dish this out with noodles, seafood, spongy tofu, and an aromatic curry. However, with the chilli paste, the subtle brothy dish gains bold flavours. Curry mee can be a halal street food in Penang, depending on the ingredients used.
Hot Bowl White Curry Mee is a popular restaurant that serves white curry mee. The restaurant offers a simple yet cosy dining setting. In addition, they make the dish with a mix of vermicelli and yellow noodles in a soup. The broth is a mixture of coconut milk and spices. As a result, the soup is not too spicy but has a rich, creamy taste. They also serve it with toppings such as cockles, tofu puffs, and long beans.
Additionally, Hot Bowl serves other popular local dishes, such as Steamed chicken. Many customers have praised the steamed chicken's juicy meat that pairs perfectly with the curry mee. So, order the steamed chicken if you want a sensational culinary experience. If you want to try the best Penang street food, Hot Bowl is definitely a place you must visit.
Hot Bowl White Curry Mee
58C, Jalan Rangoon, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Where else can you get curry mee in Penang?
Another famous place to try this dish is at Air Itam Sister Curry Mee. The dish is different from the local curry sold elsewhere on the island. The gravy is thinner but chock full of toppings such as cuttlefish slices and coagulated pig's blood cubes. You can also ask for certain toppings to be removed.
The sisters have cooked at the Ayer Itam market for over 70 years. So if you visit them, you will notice a large mural depicting them cooking. This tasteful tribute is an excellent example of how Penang art and street food come together. Although the two sisters have since retired, they have passed down their recipe to their relatives, and the flavours are still great.
One alternative spot to get this dish is Chulia Street Curry Mee, which is famous for its fish balls. The advantage is that you get to try other best foods in Chulia Street. The street is adorned with many amazing Penang street foods to try.
Cendol at Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
You can find cendol as a dessert in many parts of Southeast Asia. However, it is a signature Penang street food that you must try. The locals make it with green rice flour jelly, coconut milk, shaved ice and palm sugar. The dish tastes very sweet, and the texture is slightly rubbery due to the jelly.
The place to go for this treat is Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul. We like that their cendol is creamy with finely shaved ice. They also generously fill it with kidney beans, homemade cendol, fresh coconut milk and palm sugar. Furthermore, the aromatic gula melaka (palm sugar) and fragrant coconut milk make it a perfect remedy for the blistering heat. Fortunately, the dish is generally vegetarian-friendly and vegan-friendly.
This place has existed since 1936. It is a local favourite because of its long history of deliciousness. So, you can enjoy their cendol while soaking up the historical and cultural atmosphere of Georgetown.
However, please note that it can get quite busy during peak hours. So, expect to wait at least 15 minutes for service. But the wait is worth it.
Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
27 & 29 Lebuh Keng Kwee, Georgetown, 10100 Penang Malaysia
Where else can you get cendol in Penang?
Another popular spot to get cendol is at Penang Road Famous Chendul. However, don't be confused by the names. They are two different stalls. This stall is located just opposite Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul on the left side of the entrance. There are so many other places to find cendol in Penang - you will not be left unsatiated.
Penang White Coffee at OO Coffee
Penang White Coffee is a blend of Robusta and Liberica coffee roasted with margarine, sugar, and a sprinkling of salt. Towards the end of the roasting process, the barista adds sugar. The coffee is mostly sweet, but you will taste a slight saltiness which makes it more delectable.
OO White Coffee Cafe is a charming cafe that has been serving traditional hand-brewed white coffee for decades. The restaurant is in a heritage building on a main street in the heart of Georgetown. The building's nostalgic atmosphere, with rustic wooden furniture and vintage accents, takes you back to a bygone era.
We loved their signature hand-brewed white coffee. Their aromatic brew consists of a carefully selected blend of Arabica and Robusta beans roasted to perfection.
Aside from their famous white coffee, why not enjoy some of their local breakfast dishes on the menu? OO White Coffee Cafe also serves traditional Malaysian breakfast dishes such as kaya toast, half-boiled eggs, and nasi lemak. They're not known as one of the best Kopitiam in Penang for nothing.
262-264, Lebuh Carnarvon, Georgetown, 10100 George Town
Where else can you get white coffee in Penang?
Toh Soon Cafe is a long-standing cafe in Georgetown known for its rich Hainan-style coffee and charcoal-toasted bread. Interestingly, the owner steams the bread using a charcoal stove converted from an oil drum. It's the perfect Penang street food experience.
Durian at 2 Acres Cafe in Balik Pulau
With its distinct and pungent odour, durian is a well-loved fruit in Southeast Asia. Durians are grown all over Malaysia. Balik Pulau, in particular, is home to many durian estates. Hence, why durian is a great example of iconic Penang street food.
2 Acres Cafe is a new cafe located within a durian orchard in Balik Pulau. The cafe serves freshly harvested durians for patrons to enjoy in a scenic environment. You can also choose from their range of durians and enjoy the creamy flesh of the fruit under the cooling shade of the cafe.
2 Acres Cafe in Balik Pulau
Lot 313, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Kampung Sungai Pinang, 11000 Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Where else to find durian?
Durian season in Penang usually starts in June and lasts until August. During this time, you can find durians everywhere. For cheap deals, you also drive through Balik Pulau where you can get the freshest durians from the farmers.
However, another good place for durians that we would recommend is MacCalister in Georgetown. The stall's popularity and reputation for serving delicious durians make it a must-visit spot for enthusiasts.
Alternatively, another go-to durian spot in Georgetown is Ah Teik Zai Durian. The street vendor has a 50-year history of selling durians, so you can be sure that they know what to recommend.
Duck Koay Chap at Kimberley Street Duck Kway Chap
Duck koay chap is a popular Penang street food unique to the state. The locals cook duck with a rich herbal soup that gives it a distinct earthy taste. The serving of duck meat is also generous. Furthermore, the fatty oils mingling with the herbs give the soup a great balance of bittersweet flavours. Unfortunately, duck kway chap is generally not halal.
Kimberley Street Duck Kway Chap is one of the best places to try this iconic soup. Given several decades of experience, the stalls' reputation for their kway chap has only ever grown. One reason is their rich and flavourful herbal soup and the many hours of labour put into making this soup.
Additionally, their customers can choose from several dishes alongside their kway chap, such as pork belly, intestines, and tofu skin. While Kimberley Street has many notable hawkers, this is certainly one of the best foods in Kimberley Street Penang. Ultimately, we love this stall for its reasonably priced authentic street food.
Kimberley Street Duck Kway Chap
135, Lebuh Kimberley, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Where else can you get this famous street food in Penang?
One alternative spot to get duck koay chap is at Kedai Kopi Seng Thor. The food stall is located on Lebuh Carnarvon, just a short walk from the famous Chew Jetty and other historical landmarks in Georgetown. The highlight of this place is its broth, made by simmering duck meat and bones with a blend of herbs and spices for several hours. Hence, the result is an irresistibly aromatic soup.
Roti Canai at Gemas Road Brothers
Although you can get roti canai in every state across Malaysia, Penang's rendition is worth trying. Their harmonious combo of ingredients makes roti canai one of the best Penang street foods.
This halal dish typically consists of flatbread served with curry or dhal. However, the locals like to serve roti canai with eggs and sambal.
The bread has a flaky and crispy outside and a soft and chewy inside. Furthermore, the dish boasts a rich aroma from all the spices in the dhal or curry.
If you want an unforgettable roti canai experience - go to Gemas Road Brothers. The locals know this stall for their roti canai banjir. The dish consists of a generous curry sauce. The word 'banjir' in Malay means to drench.
So imagine flatbread drenched completely in curry. Their roti canai also differs from your typical fare as they serve it with julienned onions, cheese, and a sunny-side-up egg.
The curry simply tastes amazing when it is slathered over the extra ingredients. Customers have praised how well the savoury curry goes with everything on the flatbread. So, you must enjoy a Malaysian breakfast here with some roti.
Gemas Road Brothers
55, Jalan Gemas, Taman Kampar, 10460 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Where else can you get roti canai in Penang?
You can also head over to Roti Canai Transfer Road to try this dish. This stall is located on Transfer Road in Georgetown. People know them for their crispy and flaky rotis. We recommend heading there early as the queue gets quite long during peak breakfast hours.
Asam Laksa at Penang Air Itam Asam Laksa
For another phenomenal dish, you must try Penang assam laksa. It has thick rice noodles in a tangy fish broth with tamarind, lemongrass, and other spices.
Inside is shredded fish, cucumber, pineapple, onion, and chilli. As a result, assam laksa has a distinct flavour that sets it apart from other types of laksa found in Malaysia. In general, the dish is halal.
Penang Air Itam Assam Laksa is a famous stall serving authentic Penang laksa since 1951. The stall makes their assam laksa with thick rice noodles, onions, and mint leaves.
Furthermore, their soup has a perfect balance of sour and savoury flavours. Ultimately, it's a must-visit because of its long history and reputation for serving delicious laksa.
However, it is open only three weekends a month. Therefore, this Penang street food joint gets really crowded because of its popularity and infrequent opening times.
You can't book a place in advance, so you will have to watch for their announcements on Facebook and go quickly to queue when they open.
Penang Air Itam Asam Laksa
Jalan Pasar, Paya Terubong, 11500 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Where else can you find assam laksa？
If you're looking for other places to try assam laksa, one option is Penang Road Famous Laksa. This stall on Jalan Penang is known for its sour and spicy assam laksa with fresh mackerel fish.
Another popular spot to try this delightful noodle dish is Joo Hooi Cafe on Penang Road. They are well known for their delicious and authentic hawker food.
Four-fruit soup at Kimberley Street Dessert Old Time Delight Shop
Four-fruit soup (See Guo Tang) is an iconic regional dessert dish that hawkers make with a combination of four fruits. These fruits are typically lychee, longan, winter melon, and red dates.
This dessert hails from Shantou Street, a famous food street in Guangdong Province, China. Restaurants often serve Four-Fruit Soup with grass jelly and stone flower jelly, which provide a slightly bitter balance to the sweetness of the fruits. Furthermore, they usually serve this dessert chilled, making it an ideal treat for hot and humid weather.
One of the best places to try it is at Kimberley Street Dessert Old Time Delight Shop. Each bowl of four fruit soups at the stall also comes with snow fungus, longan, and ginkgo seeds. This is one of the best foods in Kimberley Street Penang when you need a sweet and refreshing soup for cooling down on a hot day.
This delightful shop has been open since the 1930s. The long history makes it a local's favourite spot. Therefore, slurping on this four-fruit soup will give you an authentic taste of Malaysian street food culture.
Kimberley Street Dessert Old Time Delight Shop
78, Lebuh Kimberley, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Where else can you get four-fruit soup in Penang?
If you're looking for other places to try four-fruit soup, one option is Tong Sui Po, located on Jalan Seang Tek in George Town.
Aik Hoe Restaurant, located on Carnarvon Street, is another popular spot to try the sweet treat. Additionally, they offer a variety of other amazing traditional Chinese desserts.
Apom at Apong Guan's on Jalan Burma
Apom is a type of Indian-influenced pancake popular throughout Malaysia. The Chinese version of apom, aka apom balik, is a sweet Nyonya fold-over pancake made from flour and egg, topped with bananas, sweet corn, and sugar.
The pancake has a thin and crispy outside and a soft and fluffy inside. It has a sweet aroma. In general, hawkers cook apom with halal ingredients.
Apong Guan's is a beloved spot for locals and visitors to indulge in these delicious pancake. Old Uncle Guan has run the stall for many decades. Consequently, he has gained a reputation as the "Don of Apom" for his mastery and skill.
What makes eating at Apong Guan's a one-of-a-kind experience is far more than just delicious apom. The stall has a nostalgic and charming feel, with its traditional wooden cart and hand-painted sign board. In addition, old Uncle Guan is known for his cheeky attitude and friendly demeanour.
Moreover, this stall makes apom fresh to order, with a crispy edge and a soft and fluffy centre. They usually serve it with fillings such as sweet corn, banana, and coconut to enhance the dish. Consequently, many locals have grown up with Apong Guan's - so it is not uncommon to see multi-generational families stopping by to enjoy some apom.
Jalan Burma, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Where else can you get apom in Penang?
Head to APOM Egg Waffles, located on Chulia Street in Georgetown. This stall is known for its delicious egg waffles. These waffles have a slightly different texture and taste to apom. This stall operates at night. It is one of the best foods in Chulia Street Penang if you want a late-night snack.
Alternatively, try Apom King on Penang Road. This small stall makes fluffy and soft apoms that are great for breakfast or a midday snack.
Hokkien Mee at 888 Hokkien Mee
People in Malaysia love Hokkien mee, a famous dish renowned for its umami broth made from prawn, dried shrimp, pork ribs or chicken stock. The dish contains noodles with bean sprouts, water spinach, eggs, prawns, pork, and sambal.
The combination of soft and chewy noodles with crunchy vegetables is a hit among many, and the broth has a rich aroma from the blend of spices used. Unfortunately, Hokkien mee is generally not halal.
888 Hokkien Mee is a popular hawker stall on Lebuh Presgrave. The stall is famous for making a rich and savoury broth that people have described as "liquid gold". Furthermore, customers can choose their preferred type of noodles and add additional ingredients to their liking. Despite the popularity, the quality of this Penang street food remains consistently high. The broth is thick and flavorful, with a strong shrimp aroma that will satisfy your taste buds.
This spot is worth visiting if you want some of the best Hokkien mee in the region. Note, though, that we recommend heading there on a weekday. It is near impossible to find a seat if you dine in on weekends.
Where else can you get Hokkien mee in Penang?
Another place to try Hokkien mee is Ah Keong Hokkien Mee on Jalan Tavoy. The stall has been serving up some of the best Hokkien mee on the island for the past three decades and has a long history of culinary excellence. Alternatively, you can head to Bee Hwa Cafe on Lebuh Dickens for an equally delicious halal Hokkien mee.
888 Hokkien Mee
67-A, Lebuh Presgrave, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Hor Ka Sai at Toh Soon Cafe
People in northern Perak, especially in Taiping, Kuala Kurau, and Kuala Sepetang, enjoy drinking Hor Ka Sai. It is a mixture of black coffee (Kopi O) and Milo in a 2:8 ratio. Those who like the taste describe it as a great combination of bitter coffee with a strong chocolate flavour.
Hor Ka Sai is a Hokkien term that translates to "Tiger bites Lion" in English. According to the locals, miners in the past drank Hor Ka Sai to feel energised enough to continue their work. They described the feeling as if they were a tiger that was strong enough to bite a lion. Hor Ka Sai is a drink that you can drink alone or with food.
Toh Soon Cafe is a popular spot in Penang to try Hor Ka Sai. The cafe is located on Lebuh Campbell and has been serving delicious tiger cups for many years. The cafe's signature Hor Ka Sai is a must-try if you're a coffee lover looking for an energy boost to start your day.
For us, Toh Soon Cafe is a must-go on any of our family trips to Penang, and we'll most likely continue this tradition.
Toh Soon Cafe
Lebuh Campbell, George Town, 10450 George Town
Where else can you get Hor Ka Sai in Penang?
One of the other popular options is Kedai Kopi Bobo, located on Lebuh Carnarvon in the heart of Georgetown. This is a well-known spot for locals and visitors to indulge in traditional Malaysian breakfast foods, including hor ka sai.
You can order toast to enjoy with your hor ka sai. The toast is served hot and crispy alongside some kaya or peanut butter spread. Kedai Kopi Bobo has a rustic feel with traditional decor - it's the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely Penang street food breakfast while soaking in the local ambience.
Mee Sotong at Hameed Pata Mee Sotong
Mee sotong is a delightful and flavourful seafood noodle dish. The use of cuttlefish is what makes this dish unique. The cuttlefish is locally sourced on the island. It has a slightly chewy texture as it is cooked in a flavorful broth until tender. Then, the cook adds yellow noodles to the broth. The noodles soak up all the flavours of the broth and the cuttlefish. Muslim hawkers often sell the dish, and it is, therefore, generally halal.
The gravy that accompanies mee sotong is simply life-changing. The gravy is made with a blend of spices and herbs, including lemongrass, shallots, garlic, and ginger, and cooked until fragrant. Additionally, the gravy has a tangy and spicy flavour because of the addition of tamarind juice and chilli paste.
Hameed Pata Mee Sotong is one of the most popular places to try this dish. The second-generation stall has been operating since 1978. You can order two options: mee rebus sotong or mee goreng sotong. After the noodles are cooked, the sambal squid is placed on top to complement this special menu.
The taste of mee sotong here never disappoints and encompasses all flavours: spicy, sweet and sour. Besides, the location of Mee Sotong Hameed Pata is at Kota Selera Food Court. It's easy to find as the place is just beside Fort Cornwallis. After eating, pop over to the historical landmark of Fort Cornwallis to learn more about the island's history.
Hameed Pata Mee Sotong
5, Esplanade Park, Lebuh Light, 10300 George Town, Malaysia
Where else can you get mee sotong in Penang?
Another place where you can get mee goreng is Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng stall which has moved to New World Park Food Court. A spicy, delectable sauce coats these classic noodles alongside some crispy cuttlefish. The unmistakable smoky wok hei flavour has made it one of Penangites' favourite comfort foods.
Another option is Seeni Mee Sotong in Sri Weld Food Court. The Seeni Mee Sotong dish boasts a reddish hue from all the tomato sauce and chilli paste added during the frying process. We particularly enjoyed their sotong's chewiness and the subtle spicy aroma. The food court also serves various street food in Penang, Malaysia.
Pasembur at Pasembur King Hussain at Medan Renong
Pasembur is a beloved hawker food in this part of Malaysia. It is usually taken as a side dish during lunch and dinner. It is a salad dish famous for its sweet and sour ingredients, all mixed 'rojak' style.
The dish comprises shredded cucumber, Chinese turnip, potatoes, beancurd, bean sprouts, prawn fritters, flour-batter fritters (literally meaning "mouse fritters"), and sliced boiled eggs. The cooks then top the dish with a thick peanut sauce.
Malaysians love pasembur because it makes for a delicious yet light meal. The dish is also known as Indian rojak, mamak rojak, or simply rojak. Penang pasembur is a fantastic mix of sweet and savoury vegetables and meat on a sharing plate.
Indian-Muslim hawkers usually sell pasembur. However, there are also Chinese hawkers selling a Chinese version.
Pasembur King Hussain at Medan Renong food court is famous for serving one of the best street foods in Georgetown, Penang. It is one of our favourites when craving pasembur.
Their peanut sauce is one of the best pasembur sauces on the island, and they have more than 25 types of items that you can add to the salad. Furthermore, you can also let them choose the food items according to your budget.
Pasembur King Hussain
Medan Renong, George Town, 10200 George Town
Where else can you get Pasembur in Penang?
Another popular spot for the best Penang pasembur is GANI Famous Pasembor. The stall is located at the same food court (Medan Renong). You can find other good street food in Penang at this food court.
The pasembur served here is a delightful mix of cucumber, potatoes, turnips, bean sprouts, and deep-fried flour cakes. The dish is then smothered in GANI's signature creamy peanut sauce. For us, we love that it's a perfect combination of sweet, salty, and spicy flavours.
However, if you want to try Chinese-style pasembur, head to Lebuh Cecil instead. Chinese-style pasembur is also called cheh-hu and usually has raw fish added to it.
Ice Kacang at Swatow Lane Ice Kacang (New World Park)
Ice Kacang consists of a tower of shaved ice dressed in rich, colourful confections and assorted chewy bites. This cold treat packs a jubilant jolt in every mouthful and is one of our favourite desserts in the hot weather.
The ingredients brimming in a bowl include red beans, creamy corn, evaporated milk, splashes of syrup, cincau grass jelly, and chewy pearls. Finally, a scoop of ice cream rounds up the icy treat. This sweet Penang street food is generally halal.
Swatow Lane Ice Kacang is known for its authentic and traditional taste. They use a generational recipe, ensuring you get the same authentic taste that locals have enjoyed for years. You can expect affordable prices and generous portions that are perfect for sharing.
The ice kacang comes in a large bowl filled with shaved ice, sweet syrups, and various toppings. You can customise your ice kacang with a wide range of toppings, including red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly, and more. Each ingredient is carefully selected to ensure that the flavours and textures complement each other.
Swatow Lane Ice Kacang is in the heart of New World Park, a vibrant and bustling area. The outdoor seating area has a unique atmosphere and is the perfect place to enjoy your ice kacang while people-watching.
Swatow Lane Ice Kacang
E, 102, 1, Jalan Burma, George Town, 10050 George Town
Where else can you get Ice Kacang in Penang?
One popular spot is Jalil Special Ice Kacang, a stone's throw away from Fort Cornwallis. It is habitually swamped with hordes of patrons, especially when the sun is glaring brightly. Their version of Ice Kacang is jaw-dropping. You'll get a towering ice glacier liberally loaded with syrups, a dollop of red beans, creamy corn, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the pinnacle.
Wan Tan Mee at Kedai Kopi Seng Thor
Wantan Mee is one of the best Penang street foods on this island. This Cantonese dish consists of egg noodles served with dumplings or wan tan, a unique black sauce seasoning, choy sum, and barbecued pork (char siew).
The spot serves the dish in either dry or soup form. However, stalls offer a new variant in this region - white or colourless dry. We found it was much milder than the dark soy sauce base but had more depth.
If you're craving this delicious dish, head to Kedai Kopi Seng Thor in Georgetown. The popular and well-known eatery serves delicious char siew wan tan mee. They cook the noodles perfectly. Furthermore, the char siew is tender, juicy, and flavoured. This combination of perfectly cooked noodles and tender char siew makes for a satisfying and delicious meal.
Additionally, Kedai Kopi Seng Thor has a long history. Trying their wan tan mee is a must for any food lover visiting the city because it is considered an iconic establishment.
Kedai Kopi Seng Thor
160, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10100 George Town
Where else can you get this famous Penang street food?
Wantan Mee House, located on Jalan Burma, is another well-known place for wan tan mee. This stall serves a unique twist on the dish, as they top it with a generous serving of chicken and mushroom gravy. The noodles are cooked al dente and topped generously with meat and vegetables.
Lily Vegetarian Kitchen is the place to go if you're a vegetarian looking for the best street food in Penang Island. They offer a vegetarian-friendly version of wan tan mee. The chef makes the wanton dumplings with a mixture of vegetables and mushrooms.
Char Koay Kak at Sister Yao’s Char Koay Kak
For another iconic street food in Penang, Malaysia, you must try char koay kak. The chefs fry rice cakes in a thick black soy sauce with eggs, bean sprouts, and chye por (preserved vegetable bits) to make this dish. The bean sprouts and chye por add crunchiness to the rice cakes, which caramelise in the black soy sauce. The dish is generally not halal because of the lard used.
Sister Yao’s Char Koay Kak are known for their generous portions. The food stall also offers various portion sizes to cater to different appetites. The Char Koay Kak at Sister Yao’s has fresh and flavourful ingredients, including cubes of radish cake, eggs, bean sprouts, chives, and dark soy sauce. The perfectly cooked dish has a smoky flavour that is hard to resist.
Sister Yao’s is well-known for its fast and efficient service. The staff are friendly and efficient, and you can expect to receive your order quickly, even during peak hours. Moreover, despite its delicious taste and generous portions, the Char Koay Kak at Sister Yao’s is also affordable. This means you can enjoy the best street food in Penang Island without worrying about spending too much money.
Sister Yao’s Char Koay Kak
96, Lorong Macalister, George Town, 11400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Where else can you get Char Koay Kak in Penang?
There are many places to get good street food in Penang. Some popular spots include Kimberley Street Char Koay Kak and Lebuh Cecil Char Koay Kak. Kimberley Street Char Koay Kak is located in Georgetown. The street vendors perfectly cook this dish with plenty of bean sprouts and Chinese sausage.
At Lebuh Cecil Char Koay Kak, the chefs cook the dish with various ingredients, including radish cake, eggs, bean sprouts, and dark soy sauce. Furthermore, night owls must check out the char koay kak food truck at the Macallum Road Night Market for one of the best street food in Penang at night. The food truck serves freshly cooked char koay kak with various toppings and sauces.
Sotong Kangkung at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
Sotong kangkung is a distinct and beloved cuttlefish salad dish from this region. The hawkers make it with blanched water spinach (kangkung) and pre-soaked squid, which is brown. The chefs serve this dish with a sweet sauce poured over it and ground peanuts sprinkled on top. Chilli sauce comes on the side. The dish is usually cooked with lard to get the savoury umami taste and is, therefore, not halal.
Gurney Drive Hawker Centre is a well-known food court famous for its Sotong Kangkung dish. This spot uses fresh and high-quality ingredients in their sotong kangkung dish. The squid has a tender texture, while the water spinach is fresh and crunchy. The sotong kangkung here has an authentic flavour that is true to the traditional Malaysian recipe. Furthermore, the blend of spicy and savoury flavours complements the natural sweetness of squid and water spinach.
Additionally, the upside of visiting Gurney Drive Hawker Centre is trying all kinds of other good street food in Penang. Several stalls offer a wide range of food options. We suggest that you order a rice or noodle dish to enjoy a complete meal with your sotong kangkung. From Penang seafood to local Malaysian cuisine, there is something for everyone. After you have eaten, take an hour's drive to the scenic Tanjong Bangah Beach. You can swim there and enjoy the sun!
Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
172, Solok Gurney 1, Pulau Tikus, 10250 Jelutong
Where else can you get Sotong Kangkung in Penang?
Another location you can get delicious Sotong Kangkung is at Medan Renong food court at Padang Kota Lama. Here, you can also enjoy pasembur from Pasembur King Hussain or GANI Famous Pasembor. These Penang street foods go well together and are best shared with a few people.
Koay Teow Th'ng at Lum Lai Duck Meat Koay Teow Th'ng
Koay Teow Th'ng is a popular soup dish made from flat rice noodles cooked in clear broth. This Penang street food bowl is then topped with fish balls, slices of chicken meat and fish cakes. Most hawkers add minced pork as well. It's simple but comforting and reminds us of the comfort food we grew up having in a Chinese household.
Go for the Koay Teow Th'ng at the Lum Lai Duck Meat Koay Teow Th'ng stall in Cecil Street Market. This stall has been serving up this delicious soup for over 30 years.
At Lum Lai, the Koay Teow Th'ng comes with shredded duck and chicken meat, fish balls, and fish cakes, all topped with crispy pork lard, spring onions, and deep-fried garlic.
Despite its delicate appearance, the broth has a rich flavour from boiling the chicken and duck meats for hours. Adding some chilli padi will provide a satisfying kick for those who like it spicy. We certainly recommend having a dollop of chilli.
Lum Lai Duck Meat Koay Teow Th'ng
Lebuh Cecil, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Where else can you get Koay Teow Th'ng in Penang?
Many people like the comforting dish by Pitt Street Koay Teow Th'ng, located at 183 Lebuh Carnarvon. The stall has served this delicious soup for many years, building a loyal following among locals and tourists alike. Their version of Koay Teow Th'ng is known for its broth, made by boiling pork bones, chicken, and dried flounder for many hours.
Another place to try Koay Teow Th'ng is at 113 Coffeeshop, Lebuh Melayu. This street food stall is famous for its rich and savoury broth.
Fried Fish Bee Hoon at Village FishHead
This unique Penang street food dish is made from a combination of crispy fried fish and silky smooth rice noodles in a rich and flavourful broth.
The broth is made by boiling fish bones, pork bones, and vegetables for several hours to create a rich and umami base. Then, the cook adds noodles to the broth. Finally, they add a range of toppings, such as crispy fried fish, tofu, and fresh vegetables.
The dish tastes rich, with a slight sweetness from the fish and a subtle hint of spice from the chilli paste. In terms of halal status, this can vary depending on the vendor. Some vendors may use pork bones in their broth, while others may use only fish bones and vegetables.
Village Fish Head is a popular spot to try fried fish bee hoon. What sets this place apart is the quality of the ingredients used. The fish used in the dish is fresh and sourced locally, which gives the dish a more authentic and fresh taste.
The broth used in the dish is also cooked using traditional methods that simmer the ingredients for hours to create a rich base. This results in a broth full of umami flavour, with a slight sweetness from the fish. We loved that the dish also had a generous serving of crispy fried fish cooked to perfection.
No 107-A, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town
Where else can you get fried fish bee hoon in Penang?
There are many places to find fried fish bee hoon. One popular spot includes Goh Chew Kopitiam, located in New Lane. Goh Chew Kopitiam is located off Jalan MacAlister. It has a stall serving luxury fried bee hoon, yellow noodles with sea bass, giant prawns, and excellent sambal chilli. The noodles are cooked with lard oil (a lot of it) and are infused with a mild savouriness from the soy sauce. It is one of the best places that Penangites managed to keep under the tourist radar.
Oyster Omelette at OO White Coffee at Lebuh Carnarvon
Oyster omelette, also known as "Oh Chien" in the Hokkien dialect, is a unique street food in Penang, Malaysia. The preparation and the ingredients are what make it special. The omelette is made from rice flour, egg, and water batter. It is fried until crispy outside, and fresh oysters are added to the omelette.
The dish is usually served with spicy chilli and tangy lime sauce. The oysters in the omelette are slightly chewy and contrast with the crispy omelette.
Some vendors may use pork lard or other non-halal ingredients in the cooking process. When we checked with the vendor at OO White Coffee branch in Lebuh Carnarvon, he told us no lard was used in his version.
OO White Coffee in Penang offers a variety of local food and drinks. The cafe has indoor and outdoor seating areas, with a charming and cosy decor that adds to the overall dining experience.
One of the signature dishes at this branch is the fried oyster omelette, a crowd favourite for years. The dish is prepared with fresh oysters, eggs, and other ingredients, all cooked to perfection. Moreover, the menu at OO White Coffee's branch in Lebuh Carnarvon is extensive. Therefore, we suggest you also try other popular hawker foods such as Hokkien mee, char koay teow, and wantan mee.
OO White Coffee at Lebuh Carnarvon
262-264, Lebuh Carnarvon, Georgetown, 10100 George Town
Where else to get an oyster omelette in Penang?
You can also get an oyster omelette at 3888 Fried Oyster in Presgrave Street Hawker Centre, known as the Taman Kheng Tian Market. Here, the batter is fried to a crisp with lard and served with a sweet and spicy chilli sauce.
On the other hand, you can also grab fried oyster omelette on Kimberley Street. The night market on Kimberley Street also has plenty of other types of good street food in Penang.
Nasi Lemak at Ali Nasi Lemak Daun Pisang
Nasi lemak is a staple Malaysian dish that is often eaten at breakfast. It's probably the most well-known dish in Malaysia, but we had to mention this stall because of how perfectly they nailed the dish.
It is a fragrant rice-based dish cooked with coconut cream and topped with sambal (spicy shrimp paste). The dish has various sides, such as boiled egg, peanuts, anchovies, and cucumber. It comes in compact rice packets with different side dishes. Nasi lemak is considered halal, as Muslim hawkers mostly sell it.
One place you can get Nasi lemak is Ali Nasi Lemak which is in Georgetown's central financial district. What makes Ali Nasi Lemak unique is the quality of the ingredients used. The rice is cooked with high-quality coconut milk and pandan leaves, giving it a fragrant and sweet aroma. The sambal is also freshly made every day. Furthermore, the anchovies and peanuts provide a crunchy texture to the dish.
In addition, Ali Nasi Lemak offers a range of different side dishes. For example, you can go for the classic anchovies and egg, or for unique sides like salted fish, sambal cuttlefish or prawns. The quality of nasi lemak here is pitch perfect, which is why they are on the Michelin Guide in Penang!
It is important to note that Ali Nasi Lemak is a halal stall. This makes it an excellent option for Muslim travellers and locals looking for halal street food in Penang.
Ali Nasi Lemak Daun Pisang
Beach St, Georgetown, 10300 George Town
Where else can you get nasi lemak in Penang?
They serve fragrant coconut rice and various toppings with the nasi lemak. For example, some of these toppings include crispy fried chicken, sambal prawns, and beef rendang. These are some of the many spots that serve the best nasi lemak in Penang.
Nasi Kandar at Hameediyah
Nasi Kandar is a famous dish that originated in this region and has become a staple in Malaysian cuisine. This halal street food in Penang is unique because it was a popular meal served by Indian Muslim street vendors along Penang's streets in the 19th century.
The dish typically consists of steamed rice and various curries, meat, seafood, vegetables, and condiments.
The blend of flavours from the various spices used in the dish is what makes Nasi Kandar so good. The curries are usually rich and fragrant, mixing sweet, spicy, and savoury flavours.
The meats and seafood used come in rich gravy or sauce that complements the rice and curries. Furthermore, diners can mix and match curries and ingredients to create their preferred combination. This customisable dish is generally halal.
If you are looking for good street food in Penang, you can't miss Hameediyah. Hameediyah is one of Malaysia's oldest and most famous Nasi Kandar restaurants. Here, you will experience an authentic taste of nasi kandar. The recipe has been passed down for generations.
Eating at Hameediyah is not just about the food but also about the cultural experience. The restaurant has a traditional atmosphere that transports you back to the island's early days. However, if you visit during lunch or dinner, expect to wait for at least 15-20 minutes for your food.
164 Lebuh Campbell, Georgetown, Penang 10100 George Town
Where else can you get nasi kandar in Penang?
Deen Maju is another amazing nasi kandar restaurant located in Jelutong. This spot has been open for over 20 years. They are known for their delicious and affordable nasi kandar. The restaurant offers a range of curries, vegetables, meats, and seafood that customers can choose from to accompany their plate of rice. These are but a few of the many places that serve the best nasi kandar in Penang.
Top 10 Street Food in Penang
Here are our top 10 dishes you must try on the island for you to save for later:
- Char Kuey Teow
- Asam Laksa
- Nasi Kandar
- White Curry Laksa
- Hor Ka Sai
- Hokkien Mee
- Duck Kway Chap
Taking a Penang Street Food Tour
As we're quite familiar with the island and speak Malay and Chinese, we had no trouble communicating with local street vendors about what we wanted to order. You can still get around by speaking English and doing a bit of pointing when there's no menu.
However, going on a street food tour on the island is also a great way to experience the local cuisine without the hassle of finding the locations and ordering in the local language. Plus, you get to meet some new friends on the way.
While we've not been on this particular tour, our friends from the UK took a tour. Their tour guide took them to many of the best Penang Georgetown street food on our list and helped them navigate the local food scene. It saved them a lot of time and effort, considering they had only had 3 days in Penang.
Lots of tour guides in South East Asia are also happy to accommodate your needs if you share them beforehand. So we recommend you grab our Penang street food list and let them exactly which ones you want to try. Finding the right stalls to get the best street food in Georgetown, Penang, with a tour guide's help, also means you won't ruin your stomach at the wrong spot.
For more, join us on Instagram @tabitogether as we eat our way around the world and share our adventures!