12 Foods to Makan in Penang That Are Worth the Calories & The Journey

Ever wanted to go on a food trip in Malaysia? Fret not, for you can do it in Penang! Known as a food paradise, this beautiful city takes pride in its booming good food scene. You’ll never go wrong with a trip to Penang with your loved ones, so better make the most out of it and explore its famous food street and all the old and new food stalls and restaurants.

Foodies from across the globe will definitely love Penang as it offers a diverse range of flavors and dishes. You will find the best Malaysian eats around this city and enjoy your time binge eating every food you see. Even its hawker and street food are worth a try, for they are nothing short of delicious. Might as well get your tummies ready when tripping Penang because you’ll surely find plenty of things to eat on the island.

As Southeast Asia’s food capital, Georgetown in Penang brings tons of food options to everyone. With its multi-ethnicity, you’ll have plenty of choices to choose from when eating. Here’s a list of the best food in  Penang you must eat when in the city:

1. Mee Goreng at Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng

Mee Goreng at Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng
Image Credit: Morton Fox | flickr.com

Taste the delectable Mee Goreng and have a satisfying meal. This ubiquitous dish in Penang is one of the must-try eats for all travelers. It is usually prepared by Mamak made with yellow noodles, portions of bean sprouts, cuttlefish, and potatoes and then fried in a tangy mix of soy sauce, tomato, and chili paste. Once served, drips of lime are added. Probably the best place to get this dish is at Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng, which has been around for about 80 years already. Interestingly, you can watch the Hokkien-fluent chef cook your food and be entertained while seeing him display his unbelievable rhythmic tossing of noodles and wok skills.

  • Location: 280, Jalan Burma, Georgetown, 10350 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

2. Char Koay Teow at Kafe Ping Hooi

Char Koay Teow at Kafe Ping Hooi
Image Credit: PROlilian aka 5xmom | flickr.com

Indulge in one of the most iconic street food in Penang. Char Koay Teow can be found everywhere you go in the city. It literally means stir-fried rice cake strips, which consists of flat rice noodles stir-fried in pork fat with chili, prawns, fermented shrimp paste, soy sauce, bean sprouts, egg, and chopped Chinese chives. Typically it is served on a banana leaf. You can best buy it at Kafe Ping Hooi and taste this yummy dish.

  • Location: 181 Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10450 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

3. Lor Bak at Kafe Kheng Pin

Lor Bak at Kafe Kheng Pin
Image Credit: Alpha | flickr.com

Are deep-fried dishes your thing? Then Lor Bak will certainly suit your taste buds. This dish is made of a variety of deep-fried seasoned strips of meat, vegetables, seafood, and tofu. These are then wrapped in a thin bean curd skin and seasoned with five-spice powder prior to being deep-fried. Usually, it is served with chili or sweet sauce. Lor Bak is a perfect mid-day or late night snack. Simply go to Kafe Kheng Pin to grab this delish dish.

  • Location: 20, 16, Jalan Penang, George Town, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

4. Char Koay Kak at New Lane Hawker Centre

Char Koay Kak at New Lane Hawker Centre
Image Credit: Alex H W Khoo | flickr.com

Delight in the appetizing Char Koay Kak at New Lane Hawker Centre. Translated as fried squares of rice cake, this Penang dish is a famous breakfast food in the city. The rice cakes are fried in thick black soy sauce with bean sprouts, flat noodles, eggs, radish, and chili. Apparently, recipes of this dish may vary from vendor to vendor, but the main ingredients remain the same. You’ll surely love the tasty Char Koay Kak, especially when you start your day by eating it in the morning.

  • Location: Lorong Baru, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

5. Assam Laksa at Air Itam Laksa

Assam Laksa at Air Itam Laksa
Image Credit: Jasmine | flickr.com

A trip to Penang won’t be complete without tasting its most famous and signature dish, the Assam Laksa, at Air Itam Laksa. It is a spicy and rich fish-based noodle soup that each visitor would keep coming back for more. The ingredients also include lemongrass, chili paste, mackerel flakes, and shrimp paste. Additionally, Assam Laksa is tamarind-based, making it tastes tangy and way more sour than the usual curry dishes. You can also choose to have yours either with white or yellow noodles or thick or thin bee hoon.

  • Location: Jalan Pasar, Paya Terubong, 11500 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

6. Popiah at Gerai Gerai Padang Brown

Popiah at Gerai Gerai Padang Brown
Image Credit: Anna-Rina | flickr.com

Head to Gerai Gerai Padang Brown and have a bite of its savory Popiah. This spring roll is always served fresh, so you’re sure to have a healthy dish. Its ingredients are thin crepe, soybean curd, finely grated turnips, fried tofu, shredded egg, Chinese lettuce, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, pork, and seafood. You can then dip it in sweet chili sauce for a final wholesome taste.

  • Location: Jalan Dato Keramat, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

7. Oh Chien at Yi Garden

 Oh Chien at Yi Garden
Image Credit: Michael C Ng | flickr.com

Relish in scrumptious Oh Chien at Yi Garden. Yet another popular Penang food, it can be found all over the city. Basically, it is a fried oyster-filled omelette made with fresh oysters, eggs, and fried rice flour batter for a crisper and lighter finish. You might have tasted like one when you travel around Asia, but this one in Penang is definitely different and tastes better.

  • Location: 150-152, Jalan Macalister, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

8. Koay Teow Th’ng at Pitt Street Kway Toay Th’ng

Koay Teow Th’ng at Pitt Street Kway Toay Th’ng
Image Credit: Yun Huang Yong | flickr.com

Devour in a bowl of Koay Teow Th’ng and satisfy your soup cravings. It is a fish ball noodle soup consists of flat rice noodles in clear soup broth with pork slices, chopped scallions, fish balls, browned garlic bits, and chicken. Also, it comes with condiment of soy-vinegar, lime, or freshly chopped red chilies for an additional zest. You can request a dry version of it if you want to or a duck meat instead of pork. Get a bowl at Pitt Street Kway Toay Th’ng for a delightful dish.

  • Location: Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

9. Lok Lok at Pulau Tikus Market

Lok Lok at Pulau Tikus Market
Image Credit: PROisaiah_sg | flickr.com

Enjoy a communal form of eating at Pulau Tikus Market! Lok Lok is a communal steamboat, which every ingredient is skewered on a stick in order for it not to float or sink around in the pot of boiling water. You can choose whatever you want to eat, such as fish or meatballs, vegetables, oysters, shrimps, mushrooms, and crab sticks. Since it’s communal, you will be seating with strangers and sharing the same hot pot of water with them. The skewers have various colors that indicate the prices, so once you’re done eating, you count the sticks and the vendor will compute your bill.

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  • Location: 250, Jalan Burma, 10350, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

10. Penang Rojak at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre

Penang Rojak at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
Image Credit: ImipolexG | flickr.com

Get that luscious Penang Rojak for lunch or dinner. Apparently, Rojak means mixture and a Penang Rojak is a conventional Asian vegetable and fruit dish that is usually found in Malaysia. It is made with bean sprouts, cuttlefish, fritters, bean curds, and a variety of fruits covered in shrimp-based or thick syrupy peanut sauce. The sauce will totally leave you speechless as it’s such an eclectic delight to the palate.

  • Location: 172, Solok Gurney 1, Pulau Tikus, 10250 Jelutong, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

11. Apom Manis at Kedai Kopi New Cathay

Apom Manis at Kedai Kopi New Cathay
Image Credit: Fazai 38 | flickr.com

Try the toothsome Apom Manis at  Kedai Kopi New Cathay. This popular dessert in Penang is a must-eat for everyone in the city. It’s like a crepe with soft flour center made with coconut milk, sugar, flour, and egg. Each one is freshly cooked in a pan that can be enjoyed by all ages. There are also multiple variations of Apom other than the plain ones, so select one according to your preference.

  • Location: 425, Jalan Burma, George Town, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

12. Teochew Chendul at Joo Hooi Cafe

Teochew Chendul at Joo Hooi Cafe
Image Credit: parenthetical.pilgrim | flickr.com

Last but definitely not the least on this list of must-try Penang food is the Teochew Chendul. Don’t forget to have a taste of this heavenly dessert while in the area. It is a bowl of shaved iced with fresh coconut milk, green rice flour jelly, brown sugar syrup, and red beans. Line up at the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul and be refreshed with this ice cold dessert. The long queue is truly worth the wait!

  • Location:  475 Jalan Penang, George Town, Penang Island 10000, Malaysia

Feast on the great-tasting Penang food

Revel in good food when in Penang and be sure to taste these dishes specified above. Nothing beats an escapade that satisfies not only your eyes but also your tummy. So, visit this Malaysian island for a wonderful trip with your best food buddies and try all the places to eat.

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