Malaysia’s sunny Penang Island is dubbed the ultimate food destination by people all over Southeast Asia. It is historically rich in culture, art and amazing cuisine. You may be used to hearing “Let’s go on a food trip to Penang!” but do you really know where to look for all the must-try dishes? Use this list as your dining guide for the best street food and hawker centres in Penang.

Read also: 13 Must-Try Food in Teluk Intan

    penang street food
    10 of Penang's Best Hawker Street Food in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

    Penang's Best Hawker Street Food in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

    Ayer Itam Asam Laksa

    We can find asam laksa anywhere in Malaysia so what makes the Penang Asam Laksa so special? Each Malaysian state has its own unique twists when it comes to preparing this classic dish and each variation has its own flavors and aromas!

    When it comes to the famous Ayer Itam Asam Laksa, it is nothing but pure magic in a bowl. The noodles soak up the zesty tamarind broth that has been cooked for hours with fresh mackerel, lemongrass, galangal, and various spices. Other than freshly picked garnishes such as mint and scallion, pineapple and sweet prawn paste are also added to this dish. The owners have been serving Asam Laksa at the humble stall for the past 30 years and they aren’t planning to stop anytime soon!

    Address: Jalan Pasar, Paya Terubong, 11500 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
    Opening Hours: 10.30am-7.00pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    best asam laksa in penang
    Looking for the best Asam Laksa in Penang?

    New Lane Oyster Omelette (Or Chien) 

    Just a few years ago, oyster omelette was all the fad and food reviewers from across the country were trying out every stall in town and proudly claimed that the one they found is the best version - but nothing really comes close to the Or Chien served at New Lane Hawker Centre!

    The utmost importance when it comes to nailing the most delicious oyster omelette would definitely be the freshness of the oysters. Thankfully on this island, fresh oysters are high in volume and are easily accessible. Any fresher, you’d have to fish for them yourself!

    New Lane elevates its omelette game by mixing eggs with its perfectly concocted tapioca flour slurry in order to achieve the right amount of chewiness and crisp, while triumphantly maintaining the plumpness and juiciness of the oysters. The balance in texture is what makes the dish stand out from the rest!

    Address: New Lane Hawker Centre, Lorong Baru, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang
    Opening hours: 4pm -11pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    best oyster omelette in penang
    Oyster Omelette or Or Chien is a must-try hawker food in Penang!

    Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul

    Cendol is a classic sweet Asian dessert of shaved ice, green-dyed rice flour jelly, creamy coconut milk and thick syrupy brown sugar. It is fondly described as a Malaysian childhood after-school snack. Although Cendol is typically sold by roadside vendors, it has evolved to be a national-favourite today with many dedicated shops serving it as a high-end, refined dish.

    For the locals, nothing is more reminiscent of the yesteryear than the famous Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul, which has touched the hearts of many with its sweetness in a bowl. They have been serving this classic dessert for over 80 years at the UNESCO cultural heritage historic site. In fact, they are part of the heritage itself!

    Note: Embrace yourself for the long lines (with social distancing of course) with a minimum waiting time of around 20 to 30 minutes as both regulars and curious visitors will be flocking the area pretty much from the time it is open till closing!

    Address: 4 2, Lebuh Keng Kwee, George Town, UNESCO Historic Site
    Opening hours: 10.00am-7.30pm

    Best Hawker Street Food in Pulau Pinang
    Cendol is a refreshing dessert that must not be missed when in Penang!

    SS Penang Lok Lok

    Lok-lok is undeniably one of the most iconic street foods in Malaysia! Boiled or grilled, these skewers are intended for easy consumption and quick snacks in-between meals. There isn’t a line drawn when it comes to lok-lok as all types of vegetables and meats can be used as long as there is a way to thread them onto sticks. 

    At SS Penang Lok Lok, there are over 50 types of lok-loks served along with many different types of condiments according to your liking. Fun fact: SS stands Super Spicy. Are you ready to challenge your taste buds?

    Address: 209, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
    Opening hours: 8.00am-12.00pm

    best lok lok in penang
    Lok-lok is one of the favorite street food in Penang!

    Air Itam Sister Curry Mee

    In Malaysia, there is one dish to rival all - even the famous Nasi Lemak! This dish is so popular that it might even become the next McDonald’s ice-cream flavor, the new Miss Malaysia’s costume, or the new burger - if they can find a way to incorporate it! We are talking about the creamy and utterly delicious curry mee.

    Curry mee has been around in Southeast Asia since the time of migration and is heavily influenced by all major cultures and cuisine of Malaysia, be it Malay, Chinese and Indian - making it the perfect noodle dish! Assembled using vermicelli or yellow noodles, fishcakes, roasted meat, scallions and spiced coconut cream, this fiery curry dish is ready to excite your palate. 

    In Penang, you can taste this legendary classic dish for yourself at Air Itam Sister Curry Mee. The stall was started by the famous Lim sisters who have been whipping up noodles for the past 75 years near the famous Kek Lo Si temple. They maintain the classic flavour by cooking it over a charcoal stove and making their own chilli paste to elevate the flavour of their curry. Grab a bowl and stool just like old times and go to town with it! 

    Address: 612 T, Jalan Air Itam, Pekan Ayer Itam, 11500 Ayer Itam, Pulau Pinang
    Opening Hours: 7.30am-1.00pm (closed on Tuesdays)
    Contact number: +6012-410 8152

    Must-try food stalls in Penang
    One of the dishes you must try at a Penang hawker food court is curry mee!

    Restaurant Ikan Bakar Din

    Ikan bakar or grilled fish is not something you would expect to eat when you set foot in Penang. It is a beautiful dish of fresh fish stuffed and marinated with spices, wrapped in banana leaf and cooked over a charcoal grill. The spicy yet soft and juicy flesh is guaranteed to turn anyone into a fish lover!

    Restaurant Ikan Bakar Din is the place to go if you are looking for fresh seafood of any kind. Serving only halal dishes, it could be a challenge to get a seat here especially during peak hours with many diners dropping by for their favorite Malay dishes. Their signature Ikan Bakar is loaded with homemade spices that’s rich and flavorful, and you can choose from the array of seafood you’d like for the day, from stingray to squids. It is simply a haven for seafood lovers!

    Address: 6735, Jalan Butterworth, Kampung Permatang Manggis, 13200 Kepala Batas
    Opening hours: 11.00am-4.00pm (closed on Thursdays and Fridays)

    best ikan bakar in penang
    Ikan bakar is also one of the must-try dish on the sunny Penang Island

    Left Handed Char Kuey Teow

    It’s almost illegal to leave Penang without trying this classic Malaysian dish! These flat rice noodles is stir-fried with eggs, cockles, bean sprouts, prawns, meat, fish cakes, soy sauce and served with a side of spicy chili paste or cut chilies in soy sauce. It is something no one should miss whenever they are in Penang - not even the locals!

    Head over to Left Handed Char Kuey Teow located in Georgetown, Penang and meet the lefty ‘uncle’ managing the stall who attracts plenty of attention with his stir-frying skills! Interestingly, people are here not just for the amazing charred flavours of the stir fried rice noodles, but also for his cooking presentation over high, fiery flames! 

    Address: 79-G-11, M Mall, Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 George Town, Pulau Pinang
    Opening hours: 11.00am-9.00pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    best street food in penang
    Penang has one of the best Char Kuey Teow dish in Malaysia

    Roti Bakar at Toh Soon Cafe

    Roti bakar is as simple as the name suggests - slices of hand-cut bread toasted on a charcoal grill and slathered with creamy kaya and butter. It is typically accompanied by the kopitiam-style black coffee, teh tarik or half-boiled eggs in a meal. Something as simple as toasts can also be a challenge to perfect but the team at Toh Soon Cafe are no amateurs when it comes to this!

    Their signature roti bakar topped with half-boiled eggs has been a hit among many celebrities and politicians during their visit to the island, and their perfectly charred bread with generous serving of their fresh homemade kaya is a must-try item here!

    Address: Lebuh Campbell, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang
    Opening hours: 7.00am-12.00pm
    Contact number: +604-2613754

    best food court in penang
    Simple but yummy, roti bakar is a must-try when visiting Pulau Pinang!

    Tau Sar Piah at Soon Hiang Biscuit Shop

    Tau Sar Piah is a classic Chinese pastry dish made from wheat flour, sugar, green bean paste, powdered fried onion and salt. It is a simple snack that holds a special place in the hearts of many Malaysians as many grew up eating it. These flaky biscuits traditionally contain lard, but modern variations which are vegetarian and halal can also be found in Penang today.

    Looking for a souvenir to bring home? Tau Sar Piah is the famous ‘take home snack’ for anyone returning from Penang as a treat for their loved ones.

    It is becoming increasingly difficult to find traditionally produced Tau Sar Piah, but thankfully there are a few shops in Penang that are still making this classic snack by hand! Soon Hiang Biscuit Shop which has been operating for over 60 years still prepares their pastries the traditional way. Their passion shines through the shiny crust of the biscuits. You can almost taste the labor of love in each bite! Due to their popularity, it is best to make reservations before you head over to their humble abode-cum-store!

    Address: Soon Hiang Biscuit Shop, 33, Jalan Kuantan, George Town, George Town
    Opening hours: 9.00am-7.00pm
    Contact number: +604-229 5799

    Apom at Lebuh Chulia

    Apom is a type of traditional Indian crepe that are prepared using blended soaked rice that has been fermented overnight with toddy and sugar. They are typically served with coconut milk, but can also be simply eaten on their own at any time of the day.

    The apom stall at Lebuh Chulia has proven that delicious food does not need to be complex, as the specialty apoms are made using only sugar, coconut milk, flour, salt and egg. With each piece costing just RM0.50, it’s no wonder why the stall is always packed with visitors for its cheap, soft and crispy apoms!

    Address: Lebuh Chulia, 10200, Georgetown, Penang (nearby Crystal Guesthouse)
    Opening Hours: 7.00pm-11.00pm

    best hawker food penang
    Looking for Indian food in Penang? Make sure to add Apom to the list!

    The best food in Penang is humble in appearance and simple in taste, yet it is capable of evoking thousands of memories in our hearts. Over the years, Penang has slowly but surely evolved to become the country’s economic powerhouse, but it has achieved that so gracefully without forsaking the roots and culture of the people. Have a fantastic time exploring the island and its heritage!

    Don't forget to share your travel & dining moments with us on Instagram by tagging @rollinggrace or #RollingGrace. Happy travelling!