Fueling Up Around The Island
One of the best ways to experience a new place and its culture is by the FOOD!
Penang has been named one of the most visited place for its glorious food selection. Even our neighbouring country folks floods the island especially in the durian season. Food like nasi lemak, char koay teow, asam laksa, cendol and prawn noodles are no stranger to travellers. As it also something you don’t want to miss while you’re visiting. In this To-Eat list, we’ve added some of the unconventional favourites to eat in Penang.
Char Koay Teow
Char Koay Teow is considered by many to be Penang’s most iconic street food. It’s a real personal preference kind of food. Every Char Koay Teow place has its own unique taste even though the ingredient to make this dish are similar. Siam Road charcoal fried Char Koay Teow is legendary for its long queue yet many are willing to wait hours for that platefuls of steaming, aromatic goodness.
The old uncle fries the flat noodles over charcoals in order to incorporate wok hei (char) into each plate of char koay teow. The flat rice noodles are stir-fried with light and dark soy sauce, chili, blood cockles, prawns, chopped Chinese chives, bean sprouts, and egg. He also adds cubs of crispy pork lard on top of the final dish, adding layers of texture and flavour into it.
No.82, Siam Road, George Town Penang
12pm-7pm (closed on Sunday)
When you put laksa and Penang in a sentence, it can only be sweetness, soupy and spicy bowl of awesome asam laksa. Asam laksa is a sour, mackerel fish and tamarind-based soup. This popular stall at Jalan Pasar next to the Air Itam market, is at the foot of a main tourist attraction Kek Lok Si Temple.
The bowl is always served with Penang’s signature ‘hae ko’ (thick sweet prawn paste) and shredded mackerel fish. Every spoonful is a different experience with the generous ingredients of cucumbers, onions, red chillies, pineapple, lettuce, mint and ginger. It’s a small bowl of satisfaction, and you may want a second bowl as soon as you finished the first.
1, Jalan Pasar, 11500, Ayer Itam, Penang (Beside the Air Itam Market)
Opens daily from 10:30am till finish
Prawn Noodles (Hokkien Mee)
Hokkien Mee is cooked very diversely in different states in Malaysia and even Singapore due to influences of the variety of Chinese ethnic group back in the old days. Here in Penang, Hokkien mee is known to others as Ha Mee (Prawn Noodles). You can easily find prawn noodles in every other kopitiam (coffee shop) here in Penang but this one that we’re sharing with you, has been around for more than 50 years.
Hidden in one of the heritage houses along Lebuh Pantai, near the junction to Magazine Road and Prangin Road Ghaut, is this small stall that sells hokkien mee. You can add toppings of meatballs, roasted pork and pork intestines that’s to your liking. The portion of noodles are relatively smaller so do get a bigger one if you’re a big eater. Also, do add in their chili paste for the extra kick as the broth itself was aromatic but not spicy.
533, Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street), 10300, Georgetown, Penang.
7:30am to 2:00pm Closed on Mondays
In Penang itself, there is a handful of variations of wan tan mee. The one that we would especially recommend is Gou Lou Wan Tan Mee. Moved into a shop lot along Lebuh Carnavon, they serve a hong kong style wanton mee. They use bamboo pole-noodles, also known as jook sing noodles, as the base of the dish. Bamboo pole noodles are famous egg noodles pressed using bamboo in the traditional way that gives it its extra springy texture. The wanton here is the highlight of the dish. Made from rich ingredients, every wanton you bite into, you can taste the fresh huge chunks of prawns and meat fillings.
There are two variations here which is the soup or the dry noodles. The dry wanton mee is topped with thick starchy soya sauce whereas the soup base is the conventional wanton soup. Both types have its own uniqueness so if you can, why not try them both?
169, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang
8 am - 10 pm (Closed on Monday)
Letting you in on a little secret that some Penangnites don’t even know about. This hidden gem is located in the UNESCO Heritage zone along Lebuh Acheh. It does not have a signboard nor is it fancifully decorated. However, it’s delightful cooked dishes warms the hungry tummy.
The banana leaf rice is a kaleidoscope of flavours. White rice, three choices of condiments and side vegetables with three choices of curry - chicken, fish and crab, served on a banana leaf. Customers can order additional dishes of chicken, fish or vegetables that are stir fried with different aromatics.
It caters mostly to the lunch time crowd who are mainly regular local Indians. Keep your eyes open so you don’t miss this.
143 Lebuh Acheh, 10200 Penang
Early to late lunch, Closed on Sundays
Ai Yu Jelly
A rather unconventional dessert from the usual Cendol and Ice Kacang that you must have read or heard about, Ai Yu Jelly (or as the Hokkien people calls them, Oh Kio) is a refreshing treat on a hot humid day. Located at Weld Quay, opposite the wonders of the Penang clan jetty, is a treat to all travellers after a day of exploration.
Ai Yu Jelly is a Taiwanese traditional desserts made from fig seeds, that is served with lemon, sugar syrup and shaved iced. This particular one adds a little treat of lychee to jazz up your taste buds. While you’re there, they do sell the old time favourite, Cendol as well. Freshly made cendol with gula melaka, red beans and coconut milk topped with shaved iced, it’s a Penang cool delight that you don’t want to miss.
56A, Pengkalan Weld, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Operation hours: 12.30 pm - 7.30 pm (Closed on Monday)
Mee Udang Batu Ferringhi is located further up the coastline, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. You can take the local Rapid bus up the curvy road to enjoy the beaches and when you’re feeling a little peckish, drop in for some mee udang which translates to prawn noodles. Not to be confused with Hokkien Mee, this is the Malay cooking twist which has a more tomato-ey taste. This place is known with the locals for its reasonable price and lip smacking goodness.
A generous amount of spicy tomato broth poured over noodles and topped with 5 fresh prawns. The locally sourced seafood here is fresh and juicy. The broth packs a kick that compliments the freshness of the seafood. Always served with a wedge of lime to be squeezed over the noodles, it elevates the umani flavour of the dish.
Opposite Hotel Holiday Inn, Batu Feringgi, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Open daily from 6pm to 1am