A Foodie Guide to Penang

When you are in Penang, one of the activities you are encouraged to do is to eat. The streets of Penang is filled with people chattering on the side of the street with a plate full of goodness. From savoury food to sweet desserts, there is something for everyone. Asian food is always exciting, it’s more than just a bite to fulfill the stomach, there’s always a lot of colours and tons of flavours involved, which I can never get enough!

I found the food in Penang to be delicious and cheap. A drink should not cost more than 2 RM while a full meal should be around 3-5 RM, unless of course you eat inside a fancy cafΓ©. Hopefully this guide can help you find some mouth-watering food when you visit Penang.


This is a noodle soup with a sharp soury taste. Asam means sour and its source of sourness is from the tamarind which is the star of the dish. Inside this dish is fish, red onions, red and green chillies, pieces of pineapple and cucumber. The sauce in the green spoon is shrimp-paste which adds an extra zing into the soup.

Price: 3-4 RM


This is my absolute favourite dish. It is made from rice noodles stir fried with chives, bean sprouts and eggs. I have eaten some variations in Penang where they also add sweet pork sausage, prawns and cockles. There are plenty of them sold in Penang,

Price: 2-4 RM


If Assam Laksa is a soury noodle soup, Curry Mee has a more salty curry taste. It has a thick broth and is filled with noodles complete with tofu, fish ball, cuttlefish, egg and of course chilli paste because you can’t eat without chilli in Asia. It is the perfect meal to be eaten with your friends on the side of the street in the middle of the night, trust me I’ve done that!

Price: 3-4 RM


I am not a mutton fan myself, but my friend, Timothy, ordered this Mutton Biryani which has so much flavour. The tender mutton is eaten with yellow rice and mint chutney.

Penang has so many cultures going on, Chinese, Malay and Indian. I love this as it enriches the food scene. I love Indian food as it is never shy to add strong spices into its dishes. I have to say this Mutton Biryani costed me a little more than the other food but if you gotta have Indian food every once in a while.

Price: 5-10 RM


Nasi Goreng or fried rice is a seemingly-easy dish that can be found nearly everywhere in Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore especially. Although it looks simple, it is quite hard to have the balance of flavour into the rice. Recently I ate an amazing fried rice near Bayan Lepas, Penang consisting of rice, fish cake and huge, juicy prawns. It is easy to find fried rice on the road of Penang, but only a few are so damn delicious.

Price: 3-4 RM


Well, you don’t come to Malaysia and skip Nasi Lemak, that would be a sin. The most authentic nasi lemak is wrapped in banana leaf and shaped like a small pyramid. It is sold in small portions (and you should have more than one, no one’s judging). The rice is cooked with coconut milk and you should have a dollop of sambal and your choice of side dishes. I love mine with fried anchovies, egg and a samosa. Full blown yumminess.

Price: 1-4 RM


Both drinks are icy and refreshing. It is the drink you can have in the middle of the afternoon…or just about anytime you want. Cendhol has green jelly shaped like worms with ice, coconut milk and melted palm sugar. Some variations of cendhol may have nuts and ice cream.

Ais Kacang is basically an explosion of sweet things. It has red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly mixed with shaved ice and syrup. Oh forget the calories and dig in!

Price:2-3 RM


As an Indonesian, I do find some of the Malaysian food to be similar but different in flavour. And I’m glad we are different in flavour as this is one of the things that excite me when I come and visit Malaysia. Rodjak is filled with pineapples, sour mangoes, cucumber, tofu, bengkoang and other fruits. It is topped with a special sauce made from shrimp paste, palm sugar, chilli and water. It is just delicious.

Price: 4-6RM


I am addicted to teh tarik and always have it whenever I am in Singapore or Malaysia. In Penang though, they say the best teh tarik is found on Penang Road where you can also find the most famous Nasi Kandar. Unfortunately I was too full to have their tempting Nasi Kandar, but the teh tarik is the best one I have ever tried (and I’ve drank a LOT of them). “Tarik” means pull and that is how you make the tea, it is a combination of black tea and condensed milk and then pulled. It’s just heavenly!

So where to start in Penang?

  • Chulia Street is brimming with food hawkers at night. I love the atmosphere and also the different kinds of food offered. I tried Char Koay Teow and Curry Mee here.
  • Penang Road is also an amazing place to start, check out Penang’s famous Nasi Kandar and Teh Tarik here.
  • Keng Kwee Street is a small aisle just off Penang Road and this is where the famous Chendol is sold. Try their Assam Laksa and Rodjak here too!
  • New World Park is a mall which looks quiet at the front but go to the back and you’ll find an amazing selection of street food. My friend told me they used to sell on the side of the street and then this open-aired mall was built and these sellers were put inside the mall. Their Ais Kacang is delightful here.
  • Gurney Hawker Centre has maybe the most hawker stalls put together. The locals say it is “too touristy” but I love eating here!

So, have you been to Penang? What’s your favourite bite?

38 Comment

  1. Great, now I’m hungry! πŸ™‚ The char koay teow looks and sounds delicious!

    1. Vlad, I did tell you not to look haha! Oh yes it’s my favourite dish, I could eat char koay teow everyday πŸ˜€

      1. Well I looked before I read your warning πŸ˜€

  2. Oh yummie!!! This looks so dewlicious, eventhough it is morning and I just had breakfast IΒ΄m hungry again! Great post, keep up the stomach filling spirit =)

    1. Woopsie! Hope this post can inspire your lunch πŸ˜‰
      Thank you dear, I don’t I can ever stop posting delicious food!

  3. duh nasi goreng keknya enak tuh, bikin nasi goreng sendiri ga pernah sama kek nasi goreng abang2 ya bo :))

    1. Klo di Penang yang bikin encik2 kaka haha πŸ˜€

  4. I can just imagine how yummy Char Koay Teow is! Hope to taste some of them in Indonesia soon!!!

    1. Lucky for you we do have some similar ones in Indonesia, although as I mentioned above, it does taste quite different πŸ™‚

  5. This is making me seriously hungry! I love tofu so the curry Mee sounds so tempting!

    1. It was my intention to make you hungry πŸ˜‰ good choice, Curry Mee is sensational!

  6. why you didn’t share your Rodjak with me, Gyyy? Whyyyyy? *crying out loud* T.T

    1. I did tell you to join me in Penang πŸ˜€

  7. Great post, all looks so yummy! Haven’t been in Penang in years but will make sure to try all these dishes on my next visit.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. You must come back and try all this dishes and let me know what you think πŸ™‚

  8. Trust me. If I was in Penang I would not need any encouragement. Everything just looks so delicious! I just had dinner and now you just woke up my appetite. Thank you! πŸ˜‰

    1. You’re welcom Will. Penang is absolutely a food haven which I’m sure you will love πŸ™‚

  9. Lia fotonya kin laper malam2..tanggung jawab kak..

    1. *lempar semangkuk curry mee*

  10. Such a great guide! Love it. Fortunately, I’m reading it after I’ve just had dinner, otherwise I’d be ravenous! Lovely pics too.

    1. Thanks Clare! Definitely a great collection of food πŸ™‚

  11. Everything looks delicious and I hope I get to sample some of them myself sometime on location in Penang. The variety of colors, flavors and ingredients is just amazing. I think the Char Koay Teow might be favorite, too — just from looking at it I can tell.

    1. Good choice Cathy! If you love Asian food, I’m pretty sure Penang will treat you just fine πŸ™‚

  12. Oh God, this was one painful post to read πŸ™‚ Soup is the my favorite dish and I am quite obsessed with the Asian ones, and so needless to say I am salivating. I CANNOT WAIT to visit you there so I can try all these wonders. Yum!

    1. Asia is a soup paradise and you will love it! I hope you can come soon and try it for yourself πŸ™‚

  13. Oohh … I still remember that we never missed a day without eating cendhol! Haha …

    1. Hahaha well of course! It was drink of the day everyday

  14. You are making me drool with all these pictures! I cannot wait to plan a trip to Penang, I want to taste the authentic Penang Laksa!

    1. Hmmm you should definitely go soon! I think a foodie like you will love it there πŸ˜‰

  15. Hmm, Malaysian food… I don’t think I have much experience with it, but it reminds me of Thai food, which I like a lot. I could go for some soup, that’s for sure!

    1. Oh Pola you should try Malaysian food. It has some similar taste to Thai but very different too. I must say the soup was very good!

  16. Malaysia is not a country I look back at and think: oh the food was so good there. But seeing a lot of my favorites lined up here, I think I’m wrong. I miss teh tarik so much..I feel sad just thinking about how much I miss it.

    1. Gotta have to join the sadness, I miss it bad too! I am in so much in love with teh tarik!

  17. Ahayyyy, infonya mantap nih kakak agy. Moga2 ntar pas kesana bisa nyobain smua

    1. Yey, jangan lupa dicoba semua ya pas ke Penang πŸ™‚

  18. Nasi goreng nya bikin gk nahan

  19. Hi Aggy, is there any difference between Malacca’s cendol and Penang’s cendol?

    1. Hi Jessica, not quite sure there but they tasted pretty similar to me

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