Saturday, July 8, 2017

Penang, Malaysia Food Hunt: The Ultimate Street Food Hunt ~ Updated

If there’s one place that could exemplify what street food culture is then that would be the state of Penang in Malaysia. Located at the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Penang’s cuisine mirrors the diverse culture of the country with influences from the Chinese, Nonya, Malay, Indian and Thai into its wide selection of food options; probably a bizarre mix but it works as it wouldn’t be regarded as the Best Street Food in Asia by Time Magazine (2004) for nothing. So let me share with you my recent food trip that would make you drool afterwards.

Penang Kopi Ais

Penang is one of those places that I love to explore because even if it’s constantly visited by tourists, its tenacity to maintain its origin and culture is so strong that they don’t modify their customs just to suit to the needs and wants of the visitors. Food junkies all over the world, and even in Malaysia, are crazy over hawkers and street food vendors that filled Penang’s alleys. Hawkers and vendors usually start at dawn until midnight or much longer (check here for discounted tours, transportation and activities in Penang).

Penang Kopi Ais
Penang = Food trip!
Influences from Chinese, Mamak (a term for men with Indian Muslim origins or uncle), Nonya/Nyonya (a term for women of Malay and Chinese origins or aunty), Indian, Malay and Thai cuisines are usually merged to create unique recipes. The marriage of flavors is respected and appreciated by all communities in Penang, thus making Penang a unique culinary experience.

Penang Ice Ball
Penang ice ball
During my trips (it’s my third time), I noticed how consistent Penangites were on the quality of the taste in each dish. The richness of flavors and generous amounts of ingredients are some of the many factors that made me yearn for more. I also love the fact that people from all sectors of society converge on a coffee shop or roadside eatery, no social status or whatsoever when it comes to food.

A photo posted by blissfulguro (@blissfulguro) on

As they say to each his own, selecting the best hawker food actually depends on your taste buds. The best way is to follow your heart and try every dish that your gut feel tells you so.

So here’s a rundown on my latest food trip in Penang on what I consider as the best and most authentic street food during our Beach Hop Asia 2016 summer backpacking trip. Please note that we don't subscribe on guide books or whatnot but just went wherever our feet led us and ordered whatever seemed interesting.

475 Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang
11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Penang Jooi Hooi Cafe

Penang Kopi Ais
Kopi Ais
It kinda lacked that sweetness I was looking for.
Penang Asam Laksa
Asam Laksa
Not really my thing.

Lebuh Campbell, Georgetown, Penang
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. | Mondays to Saturdays

Penang Toh Soon Cafe
Legit kopitiam-coffee shop
Penang Toh Soon Cafe
Charcoal-grilled toasts
Penang Kaya Toast
Kaya toast with soft-boiled egg (RM4)
This is awesome!
Penang Hainan Coffee
Kopi Ais (RM1.50)
Legit Hainan coffee!

Jalan Pasar, Air Itam Penang (near Kek Lok Si Temple)

Penang Hawker Center

Penang Char Kway Teow
Char Kway Teow
This is good!
Penang Char Mee
Char Mee

Persiaran Bayan Indah, Bayan Lepas, Penang (near Queensbay Mall)
7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Penang Ultimaxx Cafe

Penang Pasembur
This is great when mixed together, as it supposed to be.
Penang Tok Tok Mee
Tok Tok Mee
Deconstructed noodles-nice concept but I totally forgot how it tasted.
Penang Sambal Fried Rice
Sambal Fried Rice
Fried rice will always be a winner for me.
Penang Street Food
*Help me in naming this, hehe*

Lebuh Kimberley, Georgetown, Penang
6:00 p.m. onwards

Penang Street Food
Lebuh Kimberley becomes alive at night!
Penang Street Food

Penang Kway Chap
Kway Chap (RM8)
Not my kind of soup.
Penang Lorbak
Fried lorbak, beancurd, tofu, etc. (RM11 for everything)
I super love the lorbak and beancurd!

Solok Gurney, Georgetown, Penang
6:30 p.m. onwards

Penang Satay
Gurney Drive Hawker Center
The very touristy Gurney Drive Hawker Center
Penang Asam Laksa
Asam Laksa (RM4)
Still, not my favorite in Penang.
Penang Char Kway Teow
Char Kway Teow (RM6)

9 Tanjung Bunga Park, Penang

8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Penang Roti Canai
Roti Canai
My all time fave flatbread.
Penang Fried Bee Hon
Fried Bee Hon
I'm not a fan of rice noodles.
Penang Char Mee
Char Mee
Mee Goreng is still the best!

Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling corner Lebuh Armenian, Georgetown, Penang

Penang Mee Goreng Mamak
Penang Mee Goreng Mamak
Mee Goreng Mamak in 2014 (RM3.50)
Simply delicious!
Penang Mee Goreng Mamak
Penang Mee Goreng Mamak
Mee Goreng Mamak in 2016 (RM4)
Still, our favorite Mee Goreng in Penang!

Little India
Lebuh Pasar, Georgetown, Penang

Penang Little India Street Food

Penang Little India Street Food
Kopi Ais-to go (RM1.50)
This will always be our favorite drink in Malaysia!
Penang Little India Samosa
Chicken Samosa (RM1.20)
The best samosa I've had so far.
Penang Little India Samosa


UPDATE 2017: Penang Food Hunt

For this particular food trip in Penang, my sixth, me and my buddy went back to our old favorites and discovered new ones. And this time around, we were with our moms.

It's crazy how every year, during our annual two-month backpacking trip, we’d stop by at Penang. On this year’s trip, Same Same Summer Trip 2017, we tagged along our moms on the first leg in Malaysia. After exploring Melaka and Kuala Lumpur, we went to Penang for a weeklong historical and gastronomical adventure.

Lebuh Kimberly, Georgetown, Penang

6:00 p.m. onwards

Lebuh Kimberley Penang Food
And we're back again in Lebuh Kimberley!
Penang Soya Sauce Chicken
Soya sauce chicken (RM6)
The chicken itself is bland
Penang Kway Chap
Kway Chap (RM8)
Same as last year, I didn't like it. Haha
Penang Fried Lorbak
Fried lorbak, tofu, beancurd, etc (RM15 for everything)
Lorbak and beancurd ftw!

Lorong Baru, Georgetown, Penang

4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Penang Sambal Fried Rice
Sambal fried rice (RM6)
You'll never go wrong with this dish, especially if you love spicy stuff
Penang Crispy Noodles
Crispy noodles (RM5.50)
This is really good!
Penang Ais Kacang
Ais kacang (RM8.80)
It was just okay. I still love the Philippines' shaved ice dessert (halo-halo)
Penang Char Kway Teow
Char kway teow (RM6)

Lebuh Campbell, Georgetown, Penang

8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. | Mondays to Saturdays

Toh Soon Cafe Penang
The cafe can be very busy in the morning
Toh Soon Cafe Penang

Penang Kaya Toast
Kaya toast, poached egg and kopi ais (RM5.50)
It's still the best kaya toast

48 Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang

Open 24 Hours

Penang Mee Goreng
Mee goreng + telur mata (RM4.30)
It was just okay

48A Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang

Afternoon til midnight

Masehi Burger Soho Penang
They were very busy that night
Masehi Burger Soho Penang
Beef burger + egg (RM4.70)
My buddy loved it

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