Food Malaysia

Ultimate South East Asia Street Food Guide: Penang Must Eats and Where to Find Them

March 11, 2019

Penang is known as the food haven of South East Asia and after visiting it, I must say, it lived up to its reputation! It is very hard to find bad food in Penang, unless you decide to walk into what appears to be an affordable restaurant (but is not because they will sell you instant noodles for 10 times the price on the street)! All of the street food I had in Penang ranged from good to yummy to so freaking delicious! As a tribute so such an amazing trip of food discovery, here are my must-try Penang street foods!

Char Koay Teow

Penang’s Famous Char Koay Teow

Char Koay Teow is probably the best food I’ve ever had in Malaysia! This noodle dish is made of wok-fried flat rice noodles, spring onions, eggs, chicken, prawns, Chinese sausages, cockles and vegetables (yes, you can add more ingredients if you want!). The highlight of Char Koay Teow is its smokiness and mix of textures. This is the type of dish you might decide to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner and still not get bored of! I probably tried this dish at six different places and, ironically, the best one was the hawker stall around the corner from where I was staying! Go there, you will not regret!

Price: USD 1.50 (RM 6)

Where to find it: Presgrave Street Hawker Centre

Kimpo Famous Roast

Kimpo Roast Duck and Pork

If you enjoy eating roast meat, Kimpo should definitely be on your bucket list. This place has amazing reviews on Google and it definitely lived up to them! Kimpo specialises in roast meat: chicken, pork and duck! My personal favourite is the roast duck and rice but if you are more of a pork and noodle person, you will not be disappointed here! Their plates are served with a delicious side of clear or wonton soup.

Price: USD 1.50 – 1.70 (RM 6 – 7)

Where to find it: Red Garden Food Paradise

Lor Bak

Lor Bak: cripsy fried cakes, tofu, sausages, fish balls and more!

If you are craving a greasy salty snack, walk around George Town and you are guaranteed to find a Lor Bak stall around the corner. Lor Bak, originally from eastern China, is essentially a mix of crispy fried savoury cakes, vegetables, tofu, sausages, fish balls and other seafood. The uniqueness of this dish comes from the traditional Chinese five spices seasoning that is added to these vegetables and meats. Who thought fried tofu could taste so yummy?!

Price: USD 0.70 – 1.20 (RM 3 – 5) per item

Where to find it: every food court guaranteed!

Prawn Mee

Prawn Mee at Night

I was making my way to the Char Koay Teow stall one night when a delicious aroma caught my attention. I started sniffing the air looking around me and found the beautiful culprit: Prawn Mee! The locals, who were hungrily slurping down this noodle soup dish, saw my curious look and told me to this place was known for its Prawn Mee. I was shocked: Best
Char Koay Teow AND Prawn Mee! I had to try it! Prawn Mee is, yes you guessed it, noodles with prawn (well done!). BUT that’s not the end of it. It seems Malaysian cooks are in some kind of battle to make the most elaborate and interesting dish that can still taste amazing! Prawn Mee (or Hokkien Prawn Mee) is a mix of different types of noodles, meat, eggs, beansprouts, all submerged in a thick spicy prawn stock. Absolutely delightful!

Price: USD 1.95 (RM 8)

Where to find it: Presgrave Street Hawker Centre


Penang’s Famous Laksa

I tried many interesting dishes in Malaysia but Laksa definitely won the award for being the most controversial taste! When tasting this dish, I was not sure whether I liked it or did not (and, to be honest, I still don’t know!). However, Laksa is definitely a soup that is unique to Malaysia and, in this case, Penang, so it had to be added to this list. The soup is very special: an interesting blend of tangy, spicy, fishy, and minty which will leave your palate completely confused and asking for more just for the sake of solving this mystery! My advise is to try it only if you feel like going on a culinary adventure with well-defined ending!

Price: USD 1.20 (RM 5)

Where to find it: everywhere (I tried mine near the Kek Lok Si Temple)

Peanut, Banana and Chocolate Pancake

Peanut, banana and chocolate

Yes, I know what you are thinking: there is nothing exotic about pancakes, Chadvee! Unfortunately (or fortunately), my friends, you have never been more wrong! This pancake is not your classic pancake. It is thin and crispy and contains fresh crushed peanuts, sweet chunks of banana and melted chocolate, served still hot out of the pancake maker. Sweet, cripsy, warm and chocolatey. Pair this with a ice teh tarik tea and you just found yourself questioning why this has not gone viral in the world yet! I have made midnight 30- minute trips just to have these pancakes, do I need to convince you more?

Price: USD 0.70 (RM3)

Where to find it: Red Garden Food Paradise

Wanton Mee

Probably not the most mind-blowing of dishes but definitely a must try in Penang is the Wanton Mee. If you like wantons and if you like noodles, well then you can’t really go wrong with this dish. Simple, yet tasty, this dish is good for a quick lunch or snack in between meals. What makes this noodle dish particularly different from other noodle dishes is the picked chili side they tell you to add to it!

Price: USD 1.20 (RM 5)

Where to find it: Presgrave Street Hawker Centre

Curry Mee

I had no plans to try this dish as I am already well acquainted with curry dishes. However, after being told by my air bnb host, two grab drivers and a few friends who had been to Penang before, I had to give it a shot. Curry Mee definitely did not taste the same as the curry I was used to! Penang’s curry mee is flavourful in a more creamy, coconut-y way and the mint adds a taste of freshness to the dish! You will most likely find topping such as coagulated blood (I chickened out and asked the vendor not to add this to mine), cockles, cuttlefish, tofu and egg. A side of chili paste is given to you if you want to enjoy something more fiery!

Price: USD 1.50 (RM 6)

Where to find it: Presgrave Street Hawker Centre

Chicken and Rice

Chicken, rice and soy sauce egg

This was probably one of the later things I discovered in Penang and it quickly became my go-to lunch place. Chicken and Rice is a common dish in Malaysia, but I only learned to appreciate it properly in Penang. While looking for a printing shop for my Vietnamese Visa application, I passed a chicken and rice stall that was quite crowded. I have a simple rule when it comes to trying new food: follow the locals! The crown in this place convinced me that there was magic happening inside. I walked in and ordered their special chicken and rice and while waiting for my dish saw news clipping of the restaurant stuck on the walls: I guess this place was famous! And the food sure did taste that way! Juicy pieces of roast chicken with crispy skin glazed in honey, saucy rice and soy sauce eggs (my favourite!).

Price: USD 1.60 (RM 6.50)

Where to find it: Tong Seng Hainanese Chicken Rice

There you go folks, I hope you enjoyed!

Chadvee x


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Victoria, BC

Hi! My name is Chadvee, welcome to my blog! An ENTP digital marketing strategist with a loud personality and a risk-taker when it comes to trying new street food, I blog about food, travels and lifestyle. In a parallel world, my life is a musical and I break into a love song every time I try my favourite noodle dish.