When in Penang: Best Street Food Must-Eats in The Area

Your food trip guide in Penang
By: Ria Mirano
October 5, 2022

Located in Malaysia’s northwest region, Penang is a multicultural area with a street filled with historical agriculture, art, and atmospheric nostalgia. Aside from the charming frozen-in-time-like neighborhoods, the culinary scene is definitely one of the main highlights that both locals and tourists can’t get enough of. The food selection is endless, but you’re in for a delicious adventure. 

If you’re in the mood for a good food trip, take your friends or family with you to the street food capital in Malaysia! Glitz has gathered the best street food to try while you’re in Penang. Take notes, ready your tummies, and read on further! 

The Best Food To Try in Penang 2022

1. Penang Char Kuey Teow

Photo credit from BBC Travel

Starting off the list with one of the most famous street food in Penang – the Char Kuey Teow! You definitely shouldn’t miss out on this one or your food trip wouldn’t be complete without it. The mouthwatering stir fried dish is made up of flat noodles, shrimp, Chinese sausages and topped with bean sprouts, chives, and croutons. While in Siam Road, George Town, stop by Uncle Tan Hooi Chong’s (who BBC dubbed as “the King of Humble Noodles”) resto to try his charcoal-cooked Char Kuey Teow that people – both local and tourists – line up for. 

2. Penang Cendol

Beat the heat when you grab yourself a bowl of Cendol! This delicious iced dessert is made from green rice flour jelly, sugar syrup, and coconut milk mixed with ice. The original recipe comprises of adding jackfruits, red beans, and durian. Some modern version flavours of this dessert include durian, chocolate, mangoes, strawberries, and more. We recommend stopping by Penang Chendul to try their signature Cendol or trying their Durian or Cemperdak!

3. Assam Laksa

Photo credit from Eat n Joy

Another food trip staple in Penang is their Assam Laksa! Have yourself a serving of this savoury sour and spicy soup that’s flavourful surrounded with seafood and a generous amount of vegetables. Each spoonful will have you shaking with how good with it is. Great for a hearty meal over lunch or dinner. These are usually served per person, but some restaurants offer larger portions to share. The Assam Laksa by Penang Road is what we recommend checking out as one of the oldest makers of authentic Assam Laksa with an original authentic recipe. 

4. Loh Bak

Photo credit from Choi Yen

A Hokkien delicacy that’s composed of minced meat and spices stuffed inside the bean curd skin then fried. This is a popular pick for street food served in a platter alongside other food of your choice and cucumbers, then dip it into a sweet and spicy chili sauce or a special thick Loh Bak sauce. Aside from meat, the Loh Bak can also be rolled with fish cakes, tofu, prawns, sausages, meat balls, and more. Choose a favourite or try them all – we promise after trying them out, you’ll end up coming back for more. We recommend the Loh Bak at Kheng Pin Cafe!

5. Penang Nasi Lemak 

Photo credit from Food Advisor MY

Rich, creamy, and fragrant, the signature Malaysian dish, Nasi Lemak is also a must-try in Penang. It’s a classic Malaysian dish that’s a local staple and is loved worldwide. In Penang, there’s ton of options to choose from that put their own twist to it. We recommend the ones from the humble stall named Ali Nasi Lemak, where they serve fresh and hot Nasi Lemak wrapped in equally fragrant banana leaves. Can you handle the heat? Fans of spicy food will enjoy this dish – topped with a egg, crunchy anchovies, and a generous amount of sambal chili sauce that packs a punch when it comes to spice!

6. Penang Curry Mee / Curry Noodle Soup

Another best street food to try in Penang is Curry Mee. Another popular spicy dish made from yellow egg noodles and rich curry broth garnished with vegetables, meat or seafood of your preference. What makes this dish distinct in Penang is the use of solidified pork blood and special sambal chili sauce. What we recommend comes from the Air Itam Sister Curry Mee, founded by two sisters who have found and to this day, are still operating the stall! Their Curry Mee cooked over charcoal stove is their legacy and one of the best-selling in the area. 

7. Chee Chong Fun

Photo credit from Eric Theo

Another local favourite street food in Penang is the simple yet delicious Chee Chong Fun! Made with steamed rice rolls flavoured with sesame oil, shrimp paste, and chili sauce. It’s a great quick snack that is enough to fuel you while you stroll. We recommend trying one of the OG Chee Chong Fun from the Yan Kee Chee Chong Fun stall operated by a lovely couple – the business that’s been going on for 40 years already. 

8. Oh Chien / Fried Oyster Omelette

Photo credit from Penang Foodie

For seafood foodies, Oh Chien is a street food to indulge in when in Penang! It’s a great breakfast or lunch staple that puts a twist on the traditional omelette. Oysters are added into the egg then fried to crispy goodness. It’s usually paired with sweet and sour chili sauce. This dish is served in many hawker centers in Penang but, if we have to recommend one, try the Oh Chien at the Bayan Baru Market Food Court. The omelette served there is a more golden brown and crispier, but what makes it unique is that the chili sauce is cooked with the oyster omelette.

9. Wantan Mee

Photo credit from Mark Wiens

The Penang style of wonton noodles is something locals enjoy and tourists should try! Usually served dry using a soy sauce base or in a soup using pork or chicken broth, then topped with vegetables, spring onions, pork dumplings, other meat variants, sambal chili, and pickled chilies. Visit Lebuh Chulia for the stall operated by the mother and son duo who serves a Wantan Mee with finely textured noodles and flavours that mesh well with one another instead of overpowering. 

10. Duck Kway Chap

Photo credit from MyPenang MY

Next on the list of best street food in Penang is the kway teow made with flat noodles simmered in dark soy sauce broth and topped with fishcakes, braised pork, pork blood curd, vegetables, egg, and what makes this soup unique… duck. It’s another comfort food that hits the spot for those days when you’re craving for something warm and savoury. What locals would usually recommend getting the best-selling Duck Kway Chap at the Lebuh Kimberly.

11. Popiah

Photo credit from MyPenang MY

The Penang-style spring roll, Popiah, is made with minced turnips, lettuce, tofu, grated carrots, and egg then dipped in sweet and sour chili sauce. Some of them also contain shiitake mushrooms, crab, and other seafood bits to enhance the flavours. Another great option for those looking for a light snack to go with their iced tea. We recommend the Popiah from the Gurney Drive Hawker Center with stalls that sell their own variety of Popiah for you to choose from – from deep fried to steamed Popiah. 

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