Heading to Penang and wondering about Penang Food & Penang Street Food – of course, you are! It’s honestly some of the best in the world.
Malaysian, and in particular Penang food has been growing in popularity over the years. Our first insight into Penang food was through watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s TV show No Reservations, and when we visited and had the opportunity to discover Penang’s famous food scene for ourselves, including one of the most happening Penang street food scene’s we’ve ever come across we knew we were hooked.
It’s not just us at Food Fun Travel that love trying Penang food – plenty of our fellow travel and food bloggers have told us about the best food in Penang that they’ve tried – so we decided to put all of our foodie finds and experiences into one tasty Penang food and Penang street food guide so that you too can discover Penang’s famous food as well.
Penang Food – Discover the Best Food In Penang + Penang Street Food
What to Eat in Penang / Best Restaurants in Penang
Nasi Kandar – Restoran Mohammed Raffee
One of the most popular spots in Penang for Nasi Kandar is “Line Clear” near Chulia Street, but a personal favourite is Restoran Mohammed Raffee, found further up on Burma Road. For those new to Nasi Kandar it is like a canteen buffet offering a wide variety of pre-cooked curries and foods served on a plate or rice, and while these canteens do vary, they are generally Indian inspired in Penang (Mamak) with occasional regional favourites on offer like Fish-head Curry and maybe Beef Rendang.
To eat, just join the queue, grab a plate, pile on the rice, and then take your pick from the delightful array of curries on offer at the canteen. Prices vary at Restoran Mohammed Raffee depending on meats etc. but meals are generally silly cheap at local prices.
Allan – Live Less Ordinary
Aloo Mutter plus Roti at Sri Ananda Bahwan, Tanjung Bungah
There is some great Indian food in Penang and it’s mandatory that you make time to experience the best at Sri Ananda Bahwan in Tanjung Bungah. The restaurant is not only spacious and a nice place to be but also has the best Indian food we have tasted anywhere. We used to eat here multiple times a week when we lived in Penang and, although everything is good, I particularly recommend the Aloo Mutter, a creamy, spicy vegetarian curry with potatoes and peas, with some roti.
Sharon Gourlay – Dive Into Malaysia
Chili Crab – Bali Hai Seafood Market
There are a lot of things to see and do in Malaysia, and they mostly happen around food. Many cities in Malaysia are close to the ocean, and so, seafood is one of the specialties that you could find in almost all food markets in Penang. Wok-fried chili crab and black pepper crab are my favorites, especially because they are not easy to cook at home – a giant mud crab is wok-fried in immense heat with onion, ginger, with delicious chili sauce or black pepper sauce. This is a dish that has to be made by a pro. Where to have it in Penang? I recommend the famous Bali Hai Seafood Market.
Kenny – Knycx Journeying
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Hokkien Mee at 888 Hokkien Mee
At 3pm, when 888 Hokkien Mee opens, a long queue has already formed, giving a good indication as to the quality of the one dish served here, Hokkien Mee. This version of the bowl of noodle soup originates in Penang, and the first thing you notice is the deep red colour, oozing flavour and intensity.
The broth is made using a combination of pork bones, dried shrimp, as well as prawn heads and shells. Added to the soup broth are a duo of noodles (rice and yellow egg noodles), as well as freshly chopped chunks of roasted pork, with crunchy crackling, large prawns, sprouts, egg slices, morning glory, lard, fried shallots, and a large dollop of chilli sauce on the side. A rich, spicy, well balanced, and hugely satisfying Penang food experience. By the time I had finished my bowl, all available seats had been taken, and the queue was still long.
Markus – The Roaming Fork
Shanghai Dumplings at the unnamed restaurant next to Chowrasta Market
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Get your hot, juicy, delicate dumplings at a stall on Jalan Kuala Kangsar Road, right across from the Chowrasta Market. They’re available every morning except Mondays – don’t go too late or they may run out! The dumplings are savory and slightly sweet with the dipping sauce. And just 1 RM and a couple of cents for each one. They’re best eaten hot, so take a seat in the coffee shop behind the stall (drinks required). Coffee or tea are just 1RM each.
Michelle –Intentional Travelers
Mushroom Panang Curry at Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant
There is a wide variety of choice when craving some decent vegetarian food in Penang. Having traveled in Asia for a while, I was looking for something other than noodles and rice when I stumbled across Woodlands Restaurant in Georgetown. This casual place specializes in authentic South Indian cuisine at a good price.
I opted for the mushroom Panang curry and the dish arrived freshly made and full of flavor shortly after, in generous portions, despite the restaurant being full with dinner crowds. I particularly enjoyed the well-balanced combination of coconut milk, peanut butter, and curry paste. Mushroom curry is a dish I’ve never tried before and the rich, creamy, and spicy flavor left me wanting more. Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant provides a real taste of India all the way in Penang.
Rai – A Rai of Light Travels
Ondeh-Ondeh at Kheng’s Nonya Kueh
Ondeh-Ondeh is one of the most popular of the many different types of Malaysian cakes known as “kuih”. They are small balls that are made of pandan-flavored glutinous rice flour on the outside and filled with a palm sugar syrup called “gula melaka” on the inside. The balls are cooked in boiling water and then rolled in freshly grated coconut. Chewy on the outside, they suddenly burst in your mouth and you taste the sweet, runny gula melaka. Like many desserts in Asia, ondeh-ondeh are egg-free, dairy-free and vegan! One of the best places to try this traditional dessert is at Kheng’s Nonya Kueh stall inside the Batu Lanchang food court. Get there early, as they often sell out!
Wendy –The Nomadic Vegan
Mee Goreng at Hameed Pata Mee Sotong
This fried noodle dish is one of my favourite foods, so a visit to Hameed Pata Mee Sotong was top of my Penang to-do list. The stall located in a hawker centre near Fort Cornwallis reportedly makes the best Mee Goreng in Penang and it absolutely didn’t disappoint. The noodles were firm and smokey from the fierce heat of the wok with just the right spice kick. They open at 11.30am, get there early to beat the queues. You’ll find them at 5 Esplanade Park, Lebuh Light.
Helen – Destination>Differentville
Chendol at Teochew Chendol
Chendol or Cendol is a typical dessert from Malaysia made with shaved ice, palm sugar syrup, green rice flour jelly, coconut milk and topped with kidney beans. Although the combination may sound strange, very strange, the mixture of ingredient works. It is very refreshing and delicious.
This dessert is even declared a Malaysian heritage food, but you will find different versions of Chendol all around South East Asia. Its origin is uncertain some say it was originated in Indonesia, others in the port cities of Malacca or Penang. In Penang, there are several food stalls selling it in the streets, and they are all good, but one of the most famous stalls is the Teochew Chendol in Jalan Penang street.
Jorge – Travel Drafts
Nasi Lemak at Ali Nasi Lemak
It wouldn’t be a trip to Penang without a serving of the Malaysian national dish, nasi lemak. This simple yet delicious
combination of rice, spicy sambal, peanuts, anchovies, egg and cucumber will rarely set you back more than $1 but will it will leave you feeling full for hours. The best place to eat nasi lemak in George Town is Ali Nasi Lemak at the front of Sri Weld Food Court. For 1.80 ringgit (less than 50 cents) you’ll get a freshly made potion served on a banana leaf. Visit before 2.30pm on weekdays.
Rose – Where Goes Rose?
Dim Sum at Tai Tong
Penang is famous for incredible Dim Sum, and you’ll see locals flocking to the most popular establishments to feast on these Chinese-influenced dumplings for breakfast. One of the most famous places to visit to sample Dim Sum Penang-style is Tai Tong in the historic old town. Trolleys of bite-sized steamed dumplings are wheeled amongst the tables, and you can pick whatever you’d like to try from the stacked steamer baskets as they pass by. The Shumai I tried were incredible!
Maire – Temples and Treehouses
Vegetarian Rendang at Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House
The food in Penang is as iconic as its street art. In fact, these were the two main reasons we had to stop in Penang during our 5 weeks in Malaysia. The only unfortunate part was that most of the traditional Penang dishes are full of meat… and we’re vegetarians! But this ended up being a blessing in disguise because we found the most delicious vegetarian restaurant, Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House!
They create typical Malay and Penang dishes without any animal products or byproducts! We tried our fair share of meals here, from the laska and dumplings, all the way, to our new favorite dish: the Rendang! This mix is supposed to have been created in Penang so it was a big must our bucket list! The rendang is a spicy concoction with tons of spices. At Yun Shui Ge, the meat is replaced by tofu. This delicious meal made with coconut milk and a tasty paste of mixed ground spices, like ginger, galangul, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chilies and a slew of other spices.
We highly recommend you try this restaurant – we can vouch that pretty much everything on their menu is delicious!
Carine & Derek – We Did It Our Way
Hokkien Mee at Red Garden Food Paradise Court
This delicious dish comprises both yellow noodles and rice vermicelli. They are covered in a spicy, thick broth containing prawns and pork. Water spinach and bean sprouts are added. The dish is topped with slices of pork, boiled egg and prawns. A squeeze of lime finishes the dish off. You can have this with the broth or as a dry dish. Both are awesome. The dish has its origins in China’s Hokkien (Fujian) province. We found Hokkien Mee in most places in Penang, but the best Hokkien Mee was in the Red Garden Food Paradise food court.
Sarah – ASocialNomad
Satay at Long Beach at Batu Feringghi Night Market
Batu Feringghi in Malaysia boasts beautiful seashores and beach tours in the morning, but during nighttime, activities revolve around the famous Batu Ferringhi Night Market, where you can check out the flurry of small shop carts and their assortments of souvenir goods and food carts. Batu Feringghi Night Market, with its lively ambiance and cultural significance, is one of the best ways to taste the truest, authentic Penang.
From traditional nasi lemak to Hokkien mee, the variety of authentic dishes available at the Batu Feringghi Night Market is a dream for any foodie. One restaurant, in particular, that is infamous for its great taste and price is the Long Beach. This Penang food hole offers the best Satay in the region. Order an assortment of chicken and shrimp satay to experience Batu Feringghi’s authentic taste.
Andrew – RoadGoat
Coconut Pancake (Apom) at Chulia Street Hawker Area
Click, clang, add the coconut and roll the pancake (Apom). Again and again. Watching the street chef near on Chulia Street was like seeing a symphony of motion and music. The taste was even better. A delicate and crispy pancake with coconut inside. We had one every night that we were in Penang. And, several on the last night. It was the perfect ending to a street food dinner.
The stall can be found on Chulia Street (between Lorong Chulia and Love Lane). The street chef doesn’t come out until later in the evening. Order one (or more) and eat it right away while it’s hot and crispy.
Sue – Travel for Life Now
Apam Balik – Apom Balik Station at Batu Ferringhi
Batu Ferringhi is a popular beach and along with night market every evening, it wears a look of a festival place. To add to the atmosphere, a couple of Apam or Apom Balik in your hand from Apom Balik Station will do wonders. Apam Balik is crispy sweet pancakes made with mainly rice flour and coconut milk and are also considered as a dessert. With over 32 choices of filling such as banana, Nutella, Oreo, original peanuts, corn, assorted jams and whatnot, this place gives you the best Apam Balik in the whole Penang.
Nisha and Vasu – Lemonicks
Koay Teow Th’ng – Pitt Street Koay Teow Th’ng
Don’t be fooled by this rather unassuming facade – inside you’ll find the best place to try the Penang dish Koay Teow Th’ng. It’s a noodle soup with flat noodles and a clear broth, that comes with either pork or duck meat. What makes it really special, though, are the fish or eel balls that are the key part of the dish!
The restaurant name is a bit misleading because it used to be on Pitt Street but has since moved. You’ll now find it at 183 Carnarvon St, George Town. Have a look at the bowls being prepared at the front and then grab a plastic stool inside to taste one for yourself!
Michael – Time Travel Turtle
If you are planning to explore Penang, see the latest entry requirements for visiting tourists in Malaysia.
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