Penang is state of Malaysia, with George town as the capital city. The state is consist of two part penang island and seberang perai which connected with Penang Bridge. Founded by British 1786, George town is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Penang is also known as the heterogeneous with diversity ethnicity, culture, language and religion. This diversity influences to their cuisine from Chinese, Nyonya, Malay and Indian.
“Penang is food paradise, nice and varied food with low cost”. Many survey has mention Penang as the place with good and cheep street food either in Malaysia or even in Asia. I had been stayed in Penang for almost 3 years during my college days and have been experienced the live, culture and food in Penang. I love penang food so much and even though now i don’t stayed in the city anymore i am always miss Penang food.
In Penang famous place which provide a one stop good variety of high quality and sanitary food at down to earth prices called hawker center and kopitiam. Of course there also cafes, restaurants, food courts, mamak stalls and etc. Mamak Stalls is Indian type restaurant sold indian muslim food like nasi kandar, briyani, chicken tandori, roti canai etc. Hawker center is street permanent stall in open air complex that sell a variety of inexpensive food. Some hawker food even provide both a halal and non-halal section such as Gurney drive hawker center. Meanwhile, there also kopitiam which have the same pattern like hawker center. Kopitiams is Malaysian Chinese coffee shops which usually exclusively only sold Malaysian Chinese cuisine. Kopitiam mostly open in morning time from 7am to 1 or 2 pm.In modern time nowadays, Kopitiam is famous and identical with cafe-restaurant which sell coffee and Malaysian cuisine open from morning to late night with the concept of young-convenient place and old malaysian decorative design. Each place either hawker center, kopitiam, mamak stalls, food courts and restaurants sold Penang-Malaysian foods. So’ here’s 40 type or dish Penang-Malaysian foods:
1.Char Koay Teow
Char Koay Teaw or english called Fried Koay Teaw is one of popular penang foods. Made from flat rice noodles added with chili spices,spring onion,seafood like prawn and cockles, pork meat then mix add with egg fried in wok. It has very nice flavor and the essence of wok hei (essense which resulted by the wok when stir-frying over very high heat) In Penang you can found Char Koay Teaw almost everywhere from kopitiam, hawker food, restaurants and etc.
2.WanTon Mee (Dry/Soup)
There are two type of Penang Wan Ton Mee, the soup and the dry one. Both use the same ingredients such as egg noodles, wontons, sliced of vegetables,barbecue pork added with the sweet black soy sauce made of clear pork stock, soy sauce and sesame oil. Wan Ton mee sold in many hawker stalls, kopitiam or restaurants in penang. There also halal wan ton mee without pork instead they use chicken. You can found the halal wan ton mee in restaurants with the certified of halal. In Penang a bowl of wan ton mee usually price Rm.5 – Rm.10 Try the wan ton mee in near burma road kopitiam infront the church.
3.Koay Teaw Th’ng (Koew Teaw Soup) & Beef Koay Teaw
Koay Teaw Th’ng or in english Koew Teaw Soup is Penang-Malaysian dishes made from fresh flat rice noodles added with a clear soup broth, fish balls, slices of pork, chicken, golden brown garlic bits and chopped scallions. It served hot with sliced of fresh red chilies in soy-vinegar. It has very nice taste with freshness from the soup and mix flavor. Penang Koay Th’ng is my favorite food, it is different from other place i have try it in Johor bahru which totally different taste. Other dishes same like Koay Teaw Soup is Beef koay Teow which made of Beef soup and flat rice noodles. Try the Beef Koay Teaw in Kopitiam in Pasar Pulau tikus (pulau tikus market) beside the Mamak Nasi kandar restaurant open early morning until 1pm.
Penang fried rice is almost same like others fried rice. Made of rice,chili spices,spring onion,soy source added with pork or lap chiong, seafood like prawn cooked in big fried pan and wok. In hawker centre or kopitiam the price is very variable from Rm.5 to Rm.10. Beside the non halal one there are also the halal fried rice without pork.
Hokien Mee who doesn’t like it? It’s one of Penang popular dishes made of spicy prawn and pig bone stock added with egg noodles, small prawns, bean sprouts, water spinach, meat slices and hard boiled eggs. In Kuala Lumpur hokien mee served in different way instead of spicy soup it is fried in sweet soy sauce with the same ingredients oh hokien mee and prawn.
6.Fried oyster Omelette
Fried oyster Omelette is same like egg omelette the differences is they add the oyster. It is usually served with coriander or parsley then added chili sauce and garlic paste. Fried oyster omelette or in Chinese called Oh Chien available in many hawker stalls and kopitiam in Penang. They will cook the fried oyster omelette in front of you. The price is very variable depends of the size you order but mostly start from Rm.10
7. Hainan Chicken Rice
Hainan Chicken Rice maybe is one of dishes you can found in any of hawker stalls or kopitiam in Penang. Available with variable price, hainan chicken rice is made from the basic ingredient of rice that cooked in chicken stock.Then, this Hainan rice added with either roasted or steamed chicken served with sliced cucumber, bean sprout, spring onions, parsley, clear soup and chili sauce. Other dishes use the same pattern with Hainan Chicken rice are Char Siew, Siew Bak and Taiwanese Sausage. Usually they sold in the same stall or you also can mix it. There are also Halal hainan chicken rice like what they sold in Gurney drive hawker centre or many restaurant in penang.
8. Penang Laksa
Penang Laksa is Chinese and Malay originated dish from Pulau Penang, Malaysia. It is popular signature dish from Penang made of spicy curry coconut milk based or sour tamarind based fish soup added with thick rice noodles or rice vermicelli, chicken, prawn or shredded kembung fish (small mackerel), shredded lettuce, pineapple mint, cucumber, torch ginger and onions. It is usually served hot with a thick sweet prawn/shrimp paste source on the topped. Try the Laksa in Ayer Itam market place, near the Kek Lok Si Temple or in Gurney Drive.
Two types of laksa with different flavour:
|Curry Laksa||The curry coconut milk based|
|Asam Laksa.||The fresh and sour asam tamarind fish based|
Lok Lok is almost same like steamboat or hotpot but the foods served like seafood, meats and vegetables are skewered. Then, this skewer variety foods dipped into hot boiling water and once it’s cooked dipped into variety of sauces. The price of Lok-lok is variable depends of how many you take or pay for what you eat.
Nasi Lemak is Popular Malay original dish made of rice which cooked in coconut milk. Nasi Lemak served with anchovies,peanuts, boiled egg, cucumber, chili paste and sometime with fried chicken or chicken curry. It is very nice, bit of spicy and one of the food you need to try if visit Malaysia.
Nasi Kandar is popular Indian Muslim dish originate from Penang. Mostly nasi kandar can be found in mamak stalls or sometime hawker stalls. Nasi Kandar usually use steamed rice served with adding variety of curry dishes, vegetables, meat like chicken tandori or fried chicken, cubed beef, lamb, fish roe, fried prawns or fried squid and other side dishes. You pay based on what dishes you take which very variable prices
12.Claypot Chicken Rice
Claypot Chicken Rice is one of the popular hawker food in Penang. Similar with the name, Claypot Chicken Rice is cooked in a claypot over a fire. The ingredients to make this dish are rice, chicken, sweet soy source then served with egg, salted fish, mushroom, spring onion, sliced chili, soy sauce and sometime with Chinese sausage. There are also halal claypot chicken rice which you can found in Gurney Plaza or Gurney Paragon food courts.
Pasembur is Indian Muslim a spicy salad dish made of fried titbits, shredded vegetable added with sweet spicy chilies on the top of ingredients. The way of Pasembur served is you choose the things you want to eat from the stall then they will cut it for you in small cutting added with shredded vegetables and chilies sauce with the spiciness depends on your request. If you come to Penang try the famous pasembur in Gurney drive hawker center; while their prepare your foods you also can enjoy their dance and singing of Indian song.
Dim sum is Chinese cuisine which popular in many countries include Penang, Malaysia. Many Chinese restaurants, hawkers stalls, kopitiam in Penang sold dim sum for breakfast , lunch, tea time or dinner. Dim Sum are variety of small dishes which are steamed, fried and baked like shaomai, dumpling, char siu bao, mantou, egg custard tart, spring roll, pudding and etc. It is usually served with tea and you can order or choose the dishes without living your chair.
15.Bak Kut Teh
Bak Kut Teh or english mean meat bone tea is popular dish served in Malaysia and Singapore. Bak Kut Teh is made of pork rib added with herbs and spices like star anise, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, dang qui and fennel seeds then cooked until become broth. Malaysian Bak Kut Teh have darker soup as they use dark soy sauce to create more fragrant and texture meanwhile the Singapore have light color as they use more pepper and garlic in the soup. Bak Kut Teh usually served with char kueh (strips of fried dough) and chopped chili padi with soy sauce.
Curry Mee is one of popular Penang dish which available in many hawker center or Kopitiam. The ingredients to make Curry Mee are egg noodles, shrimp, cockles, pig blood curd, cuttlefish, been curd puffs, been sprouts, chili spices and coconut milk. Curry Mee served hot with coconut curry soup as the based and chili paste.
17.Char Koay Kak
Char Koay Kak based on picture maybe have similarity with char koay teaw but both dishes totally different. Although the way of cooking of two dishes is stir fried but the main basic ingredient used are different. Char Koay Kak use radish cake as the main ingredients add with chili spices, been sprout, spring onion and etc. If you come to Penang maybe you can try it and felt the texture and flavor of Char Koay Kak.
In Penang there are various taste and form of porridge. Porridge or Congge or in Malaysia or Indonesia called “bubur” are dishes made of rice boiled with a lot of water, add with soy sauce, spices, fried garlic, various vegetable, spring onions and meet like shredded chicken, slices pork, salted fish, salted duck egg, dried oyster or pork intestine. It has soft texture, nice flavor and usually served with chili sauce and soy sauce.
19. Chicken Chop
Chicken Chop is one of a popular western dish in Penang. It is chicken meat deep fried served with gravy, chips, lettuce or salad and sometime add with bread. Although its western food but you can often found them in hawker center, food court with many variation of this dish. The price is very affordable from Rm.10 depends on the place.
Economy rice usually served on lunch time in many hawker centers, street vendor or food court in Malaysia and Singapore. It’s consist of many variety of dishes from vegetables, meet, seafood, eggs, tofu, fish and etc. The concept of eating is you chose the rice either brown rice or white rice and add the dishes you want then pay for what you choose. Most food served is hot or warm and it is has taste like home cooking dishes
Mee Goreng is a popular an Indian Muslim dish. It’s not made from maggie mee, well some maybe yes but often Indian mee goreng are made from thin yellow noodles which stir fried added with chili, spices, garlic, onion or shallots,tofu, tomatoes, egg, chicken, fried prawn and vegetable. It has very nice taste and one recommended dish you need to try especially to those people who like to eat at night or supper as many Indian Mamak stall open until late of night.
Tandoori Chicken is an Indian dishes which made from chicken marinated in yogurt and seasoned with spices mixture tandoori masala, red chilli powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric, paprika etc. Then it is skewed and cooked in clay oven or barbecue grill. Chicken tandoori is one of dishes in Nasi Kandar but you also can eat it solely. Nice flavor and fragrance of traditional Indian spices with crispy texture.
Lor Mee is one of Penang dishes made of egg noodles cooked in broth thickened added with corn starch and beaten eggs then served with eggs or duck eggs, been sprout and slices of meat. It’s available in many kopitiam and hawker center in Penang with variable price from Rm 6.
Lor bak is made from marinated minced pork which roll in soy been sheet and deep fried. It has chewy and crispy texture with nice taste and flavor especially if you mix with the chili sauce and loh. Loh is black thick broth thickened sauce which add with corn starch and beaten egg often served as sauce for Lor Bak.
I think many people known about satay, a dishes made of chicken, or beef or mutton which skewer then add with spices and sweet soy sauce grilled in charcoal fire. Penang satay or known as Malaysian Kebab style usually served with Ketupat (rice cake wrapped in palm leaf), a sauce dip made of peanut based, and slivers of cucumbers and onions.The price is very variable and often sold in many hawker center or restaurants in Penang.
26.Grilled Chicken Wings
Penang Grilled Chicken wings is one of the food you need to try. It has very nice taste of sweet marinade, fragrance of grilled, perfect crispy outside all around while tender inside with juiciness. Grilled chicken wings often sold in many hawker stalls in Penang. The aroma is very nice and very affordable so try this penang smoky, savory, sweet flavor of Penang Grilled Chicken Wings.
Briyani is one of popular an Indian Muslims mixed rice dish. Briyani has many different variant but generally made with spices, rice, and meat such as mutton or chicken. Rice indian spices Briyani usually add with vegetable, dried fruit and served with korma, curry, a sour dish of brinjal and salad.
28.Char Bee Hoon
Char Bee hoon is made of fried rice vermicelli and yellow noodles added with thick soy sauce, been sprout, eggs, hams, sausages, fish cakes, deep fried tofu skin or ikan bilis and other green vegetable. It’s usually served hot ( freshly fried when order) and with chili sauce .
29.Chicken Curry & Fish Head Curry
Chicken Curry maybe well known as Malaysian food or Indian food or other Asian country food. Chicken curry it self form in many variety style and use different ingredients depends on regions and style but one for sure it is favorite dishes even in Penang. You can found Chicken curry in Mamak stalls, hawker center, street vendor and restaurants in penang. Beside chicken curry, mutton curry, Penang also have a popular Indian curry dish known as Fish head Curry. Fish head Curry is made of red head snapper stewed added with okra, brinjals, tomato in a curry. Its served with white rice as main course.
30. Penang Grilled fish
If you have tried grilled chicken wings then next maybe you can try Penang grilled fish. Penang Grilled fish or barbecue fish is almost same like other grilled fish but it use a popular local fish which is Ikan Kembong (Mackarel Fish). The Mackarel fish is marinated with local spices, sambal, coconut milk and then wrapped in banana leaves and grilled in hot charcoals. It’s usually served with rice and have fresh taste, nice flavor and fragrance.
31.Chai tow kway
Chai Tow Kway or known as fried carrot cake is a common dish that found in dim sum made of stir fried cubes of radish cake. The radish cake are made of steamed of rice flour, water, shredded white daikon then it is stir fried with eggs, preserved radish, been sprout, spring onion, chili and other seasoning
32. Chee Chong Fun
Chee Chong fun is other common dishes of dim sum. But often it also sold solely in many hawker stalls, kopitiam or restaurants. Main ingredients to make Chee Chong fun is flat sheets which made of rice flour then this steamed, cut up and topped with sauce made of sweet soy sauce, hoisin sauce,thick black shrimp paste (He Ko) and chili sauce. It has very nice taste and one of my favorite dishes. Usually Chee Chong fun served with toasted sesame seeds on the top.
33. Penang Rojak
Rojak or Rujak is a fresh fruit and vegetable dish in shrimp and chili paste. Penang Rojak is almost same like other rojak, the differences is in the sauce that use different ingredients than basic common chili paste, soy sauce ,palm sugar and crush peanut. If you come to Penang try the Penang Rojak in Gurney Drive hawker center.
34.Roti Canai, Tissu & Boom
There are so many type of Indian style Roti or bread, from naan, roti canai, roti prata, boom, tissue and etc. Most of Indian roti style sold in Mamak stalls in Penang-Malaysia. It is popular halal snack and have nice taste and texture. Roti Canai or flat bread or also known as flying bread made from dough which consist of fat, flour,butter and water. There many variation of this roti from those fillings with eggs, onion, banana, meat or sardines. It usually served with any type of curry such as chicken or mutton curry but sometime also can be eaten with sugar or condensed milk or sambal tumis.
35. Kaya Toast
If you ask what kind of dishes most of penang people eat at breakfast then maybe the answer will be coffee/tea with kaya toast. Kaya toast is toasted bread with kaya (coconut jam). Off course beside Kaya Toast there also other menu served in penang for breakfast such as dim sum, porridge, chicken rice, kuih and etc. However kaya toast is a popular dishes for breakfast in penang. It is available in many kopitiam and street stalls and usually served with coffee/tea and half cooked boiled eggs paste. Kaya toast is inexpensive dishes yet very nice, crunchy, savory and healthy.
Kuih or Kueh/kue are snack or desert commonly found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Kuih are more often steamed than baked although it contrary have different meaning with its name which means in english cakes,cookies biscuits or pastries. In Malaysia many malay or peranakan kuih (nyonya style) use common ingredients such as grated coconut, pandan, palm sugar with the base and texture made from starches of rice flour, glutinous rice flour, tapioca, green been flour and etc. Many kuih are sweet and soft but some are savory and have firm texture. Kuih is mostly sold in pasar (wet market), street stalls, kopitiam and some bakery.
Types of Kuih: Kuih Lapis, Apam balik, wajik, Kuih serimuka, ang koo kuih, curry puff, cucur, pinapple tart and etc.
Apom Balik or also known as apam is a sweet snack which have the same pattern like pancake or thin crispy crape. Apom is nyonya style crispy pancake made of flour, egg, water,sugar, baking soda mix batter then cooked in thick around in iron frying pan over charcoal fire. In the top of this pancake often add with butter, peanut bananas, sweet corn, coconut shreds, brown sugar or a sprinkling sugar depends of preference. It’s available in many kopitiam or hawker stall with the affordable price.
Muah Chee is a popular penang snack which favorite of all ages. Muah Chee is made of sticky glutinous rice ball which coated with peanut sugar mix. It’s sold in many hawker center or pasar malam with affordable price. It has very nice taste, sweet yet crunchy and chewy.
Popiah is style of spring roll which made from ingredients such as turnip,egg bits, a dash of chili paste, beancurd and sweet sauce. There are soft skin Hokien-style popiah or you also can found the crispy deep fried version one. You can fond popiah in many kopitiam or hawker center such as Gurney Drive hawker center. It’s very nice dish and health as made of vegetable.
Curry Puff is one of popular snack in Penang or Malaysia. This deep fried snack are made from dough which cut into small pieces and stuffed with filling such as spicy curry paste, potatoes, onions, chicken and some version of curry puff only filling with vegetables. Then it is cooked in deep fried hot cooking oil into golden brown. It is very tasty, crunchy outside yet very juiciness and savory inside. Curry puff mainly sold at Indian and Malay street food stall but some also can be found in pasar (wet market) or kopitiam. Try the popular curry puff that sold in Pasar pulau tikus, Penang which open from 3 pm until finish.
Bon appétit…^0^ Enjoy your trip in Penang, Malaysia and don’t forget to leave comment about you favorite Penang foods. Please free to ask if you have any questions.
See u in next food hunting articles.^-^