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

*Updated October 19, 2023*

This post has been updated with additional narrative on my fifth visit to Penang.

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 Malaysia Food Blog

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 Malaysia Food Blog
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 Malaysia Food Blog
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 Malaysia Food Blog

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Kopi Ais
It kinda lacked that sweetness I was looking for

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Asam Laksa
Not really my thing

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

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Legit kopitiam (coffee shop)

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Charcoal-grilled toasts

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Kaya toast with soft-boiled egg (RM4)
This is sooo good

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Kopi Ais (RM1.50)

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

Penang Malaysia Food Blog

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Char Kway Teow
This is good!

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Char Mee

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

Penang Malaysia Food Blog

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
This is great when mixed together, as it supposed to be

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Tok Tok Mee
Deconstructed noodles-nice concept but I totally forgot how it tasted

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Sambal Fried Rice
Fried rice will always be a winner for me

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Lorbak in curry

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

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Lebuh Kimberley Hawker Food Stalls

Penang Malaysia Food Blog

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Kway Chap (RM8)
Not my kind of soup

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
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 Malaysia Food Blog

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
The very touristy Gurney Drive Hawker Center

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Asam Laksa (RM4)
Still, not my favorite in Penang

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Char Kway Teow (RM6)

9 Tanjung Bunga Park, Penang
8:00 am to 10:30 pm

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Roti Canai
My all-time fave flatbread

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Fried Bee Hon
I'm not a fan of rice noodles

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Char Mee
It was good

Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling corner Lebuh Armenian, Georgetown, Penang

Penang Malaysia Food Blog

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Mee Goreng Mamak in 2014 (RM3.50)
Simply delicious!


Penang Malaysia Food Blog

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Mee Goreng Mamak in 2016 (RM4)
Still, our favorite Mee Goreng in Penang!

Little India
Lebuh Pasar, Georgetown, Penang

Penang Malaysia Food Blog

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Kopi Ais-to go (RM1.50)
This will always be our favorite drink in Malaysia

Penang Malaysia Food Blog
Chicken Samosa (RM1.20)
The best samosa I've had so far

Penang Malaysia Food Blog


UPDATE 2017: Penang Food Hunt

For this particular food trip in Penang, 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 pm onwards

Lebuh Kimberley Penang Food
And we're back again in Lebuh Kimberley

Penang Soya Sauce Chicken
Soy 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 pm to 11:00 pm

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 am to 6:00 pm | 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 for me

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
Burger stall

Masehi Burger Soho Penang
Beef burger + egg (RM4.70)
My buddy loved it

UPDATE 2023: Penang with our son, Akira

It was this year when we resumed our backpacking trip which was halted because of the pandemic. For the first time as well, we brought our 3-year-old son and went to Malaysia, Singapore, and some islands in the Philippines for 36 days. We aptly called the trip, Backpacking With A Kid 2023. In Malaysia, we went around Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur, and of course, Penang. 

Penang is synonymous with good hawker food. It was surprising how we find everything cheaper than in the Philippines given that Malaysian hawker food prices skyrocketed since our last trip in 2017. We were always on the hunt for our comfort food favorites and we feasted every time we had the chance. I guess three meals per day isn't enough when you're in Penang. Our son, Akira, almost always finished his food and he really loved the noodle dishes. 

Here's a rundown on what food we had on our trip to Penang in 2023. 

48A Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang

Char Kway Teow 
This was good

Grilled Chicken 
This is for Akira 'coz he can't handle spicy food yet

The Hokkien Mee was also good

We were treated by a Penang vlogger, Steven Goh of 48 Holiao vlog.
Terima Kasih!

48A Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang

Char Chintan Mew (noodles) - RM7
Nasi Goreng - RM7
Roasted Chicken - RM6.90
Kopi Ais - RM2.10
Orange Juice - 3.20

48A Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang

Chapati set - RM3
Mee Goreng Ayam - RM8.50
Kopi Ais - 2.30
Teh Tarik - RM2.30

48A Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang

Bean Sprout - RM9 (big)
Roasted Pork
Chopped Boiled Chicken - RM10 (big)
Duck Blood Curry Mee - RM9 (big)

Pork Intestine Congee - RM 11
I loved this

Dry Duck Blood Curry Mee

Century Egg with chili garlic
This was really good

With our friends in Penang, Steven and Stephanie.

48A Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang

Char Kway Teow - RM9
Fried lor bak - RM6.40
Wan Thun Noodles - RM8.5
Kopi Ais - RM2.60
Orange Juice - RM3.40

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