Penang is known as one of the places with the best street food in the world! Listed by Time Magazine in 2004 as having the best street food in Asia, in Lonely Planet as No.4 in their Top 10 cities for travel list in 2016 and CNN Travel as one of the world’s top eating destinations, Penang is definitely not to be missed.
Penang food is definitely one of the most delicious in the world. Not to mention, the food is also extremely affordable, meaning you can have a feast during every meal!
Char Kway Teow
The 1st Street food i would like to introduce is Char Kway Teow. A fried flat rice noodle dish with Teochew Origins, it is probably the most recognisable and outstanding of all the Penang food dishes. It is cooked with pork and various types of seafood such as cockles and prawns that give it such a unique taste. Each plate would set you back a mere USD1.50 with generous servings of prawns and cockles! This dish is a MUST try.
A signature dish in Penang and extremely popular among Penangites, Assam Laksa is a spicy fish based soup cooked with chilli paste, tamarind juice, lemongrass giving it a sour taste. I would say that not all tourists will like this at first taste. However, it is definitely somewhat of an acquired taste, hence why the locals love it!
Curry Mee is definitely one of my personal favourite dishes. Similar to the traditional coconut laksa found in other parts of Asia, it is a dish formed with a combination of curry and coconut milk, giving it an extremely fragrant taste and smell. Served in a bowl with yellow noodles and/or rice vermicelli, it is one of the most rich dishes you could ever taste!
Tandoori Chicken + Naan
What makes Penang food so special, is the wide variety of food available due to the city’s ethnic, racial and religious diversities. The dishes stated above are very much of Chinese origin, while the dish we are about to introduce is of Indian origin. Tandoori Chicken is a chicken dish prepared by roasting chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices in a tandoor (A cylindrical clay oven). Combined with oven baked flatbread, known more commonly as Naan. It is both a sight and taste to behold. I would definitely recommend trying this dish at the famous ‘Kapitan’ restaurant in Penang. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
A communal way of eating in Penang whereby strangers share the same pot of boiling water. A variety of ingredients such as oysters, crab sticks, fish/meat balls, shrimp, mushrooms and vegetables are placed on skewers. Each skewer has different colours which indicate different prices. This is a local delicacy and favourite and is definitely a must try for all tourists!
Now, enough of all that meat.. Penang Rojak is a traditional dish made of fruits and vegetables and served with thick syrupy peanut or shrimp based sauce. Warning: This dish is extremely sweet and might not suit everybody’s tastebuds. However, I would definitely recommend trying this dish since you are already in Penang!
Time for Dessert! After all those dishes, what better way to finish off the meal than with a cold dessert soup under the blazing sun in Penang? Cendol is an iced sweet dessert that contains droplets of worm-like green rice flour jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. Probably the most famous dessert in the whole of Asia, this is a definite must try!
These street foods that we have recommend are but the tip of the huge food iceberg in Penang.. There are tons more types of food that you can eat in Penang! Expect to put on a few kgs in Penang with all the sumptuous food you will be surrounded by on a daily basis. Do read our two previous blogs on What to do in Penang
and Where to stay in Penang
for a whole guide on this beautiful city located in the Northwest of Malaysia!
With that, I would like to wrap up this blog. I hope that my reviews of the wonderful street food in Penang has made up your mind on your next travel destination!
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