Penang Best Hawker Street Food: Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Penang is a jewel in Malaysia's crown, renowned not just for its historical allure but as a gastronomic haven that tantalises the taste buds of the adventurous foodie in you. As you wander through its bustling streets, you are invited to delve into a world where every corner and every alleyway is an open-air banquet hall under the sky.

The air is thick with seductive aromas, a prelude to the culinary delights that await. Penang's hawker street food embodies the island's melting pot of cultures, serving up dishes that are a testament to its rich heritage. From the hearty, comforting bowl of Penang Laksa, with its spicy and tangy fish broth, to the irresistible Char Kway Teow, wok-fried to perfection with a smoky char that speaks of generations of street food mastery; each dish offers a narrative of the island's history and a burst of flavour in every bite.

You'll find yourself drawn to the rhythmic clatter of woks and the cheerful banter of locals and travellers alike, mingling over shared tables. This is where the true spirit of Penang's street food scene comes alive, in the communal joy of discovering new tastes and making new friends.

Let your senses guide you to a steaming plate of Nasi Kandar, where the rich, curry-coated meats and perfectly cooked rice promise a delightful explosion of flavours. Or perhaps, a delicate, sweet bowl of Cendol, with its soothing coconut milk and gula Melaka, offers the perfect conclusion to your culinary quest.

Penang's street food doesn't just feed the stomach; it nourishes the soul, offering a taste of its people's hospitality and the vibrancy of their culture. So, step off the beaten path, embrace the adventure, and let Penang's hawker food be the highlight of your journey – an experience that stays with you long after the flavours have faded from your palate.

Read also: 13 Must-Try Food in Teluk Intan

Table of Content

penang street food
Penang Best Hawker Street Food: Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Penang Best Hawker Street Food: 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 flavours 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 flavour, 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 favourite Malay dishes. Their signature Ikan Bakar is loaded with homemade spices that’s rich and flavourful, 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!

Remember to capture and share your travel and dining adventures with us on Instagram! Tag @rollinggrace or use #RollingGrace for a chance to be featured. Safe travels!


  1. terliur nya..wawa..dh lama tak balik utara. dh setahun lebih rasa..huhu...dah lama juga tak ke pulau pinang ni.

  2. Oh my those looks yummy! Indeed, Penang got variety of yummy foodies to try right! It’s been a while now that I haven’t go to Penang, would love to again someday 😁

  3. Oh yummy!!!!!!! I love Penang street foods. All are yummy! I miss Penang. I pray that the COVID will reda x lama lagi. So that we can travel to Penang again.

  4. I'm familiar with all the names listed here but didn't know where to find the best ones. But thanks to your article, now I do!

  5. Waaa good info, memang plan nak ke Penang nanti bawa anak-anak bercuti, so bolehlah Sis rujuk pada info posting ni.. yang penting sampai Penang nak makan laksa tu haa, peberet Sis..

  6. The lok-lok is called cucuk at my place. Have heard the apom but never had chance to eat yet. Will do someday

  7. Aduii, rindunya Food Paradise kat Penang ni.. I never try the Apom even I have been to Penang for so many time. Okay, I will check this out on my next trip bah..

  8. Makanan yg dalam list semua tak try lagi masa di penang. Makan nasi kandar je kat sana. Hihi

  9. Omg! Lamanya tak pergi penang n i hope that covid ni cepat la go away so that kita semua boleh menjalani kehidupan yang normal semula

  10. chendul tu memang wajib..alamak baca posting ni terus rasa rindu pada negeri penang..lama x bercuti ke penang huhu

  11. Lama tak pegi penang rindu nak pg jln2 cari mkn kat sana, byk juga tempat menarik and food street kat sana

  12. Semua sedap-sedap. Rindunya Penang. Last pergi awal tahun ngam2 sebelum MCO..kena plan ke sana lepas release CMCo ni..

  13. All listed food most of em mdm nay yet try. Oh i love cendol, currymee, ikan bakar. Its good to know all the tastylicious list waiting forus.

  14. kalau pi pineng nanti boleh la try makanan-makanan yang nampak sedap semua ni.. suka makan-makan ni.. yeah..


  15. Pernah pegi sekali je penang. Bila lah dpt merasa pegi lagi n rasa mcm2 makanan best kt sana

  16. Oh no now im missing penang's food.. I suka cari2 makan kat sana especially rojak and laksa

  17. Nothing can beat a penang cendol! There are few food even I as Malaysian have never heard. Wow! So many new food to try.

  18. nampak gaya banyak benda lagi tak cuba ni. nanti kalau ke Penang nak pergi carilah. thanks for the sharing ya. terbaiklah.

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