Penang Food

  • January 13, 2014
  • food

For many visitors to Malaysia, part of the fun is sampling Penang food. This is not surprising since culinary offerings are an important part of the experience for many travellers. Whether you choose to buy food from a food stall (hawker), a simple café or a five-star restaurant, you will fall in love with the culinary delights of this island.

Popular Penang Food to Try

Asam Laksa

Penang asam laksa

Penang asam laksa.

A combination of Malay and Chinese cuisine, this sour fish noodle soup is a traditional dish in Malaysia. In most cases, laksa noodles are the main base although using the thinner variety, the vermicelli is common. You will want to try the many variants of this recipe to truly enjoy all the delicious flavors available. Do not be surprised if this becomes one of your favorite meals of all time.

Char Kuey Teow

A popular choice among hawkers, this dish is a delicious mix of rice noodles (ricecake), soy sauce, prawns, cockles (seawater clams) and bean sprouts. The ingredients will vary greatly depending on the cook. Traditionally, the cook will stir-fry the noodles in pork fat, although there are variations that exclude pork. Cooking the rice noodles at high temperature in a wok leads to a better tasting meal.

Hokkien Mee Penang

Although many variations of this meal exist, you will find that the penang hokkien mee is most popular, especially in Malaysia. This is a rice and egg noodle dish cooked in seasoned stock made with shrimp, pork, chicken, as well as dried prawns and fresh shrimp.

Penang Curry Mee

This is another common offering from Penang food stalls. The dish is made by cooking noodles in coconut milk mixed with curry. The toppings are interesting and if you are the adventurous type, you may want to try all of them. This savoury soup dish is a favorite among visitors to Penang as well as locals.

Penang Hawker Food

The choices available from these street vendors range from simple snacks to delicious meals, and the price is always within reach of the average traveller. You can easily get a substantial meal for $1.00 US. Finding sellers is easy as they are all around the city selling their wares. Visitors will have no trouble getting breakfast, lunch or dinner whenever they want it.


The offerings are mostly noodles and rice with an assortment of seafood. Whenever you buy food from a hawker’s stall, you should make it a point to try these two dishes, Penang Laksa and Char Koay Teow. Other food from hawkers worth trying includes fried oysters and Dim Sum. These food stalls are a part of the cultural melting pot of Malaysia’s traditions and ethnic background.


When dessert is in order, one choice that is worth trying even once is cendol. This treat consists of coconut milk, jelly noodles, palm sugar for taste, with green food coloring and shaved ice. This sweet dessert is a tradition on the island.

More Familiar Fare

You can also find a mix of American and international food choices in many restaurants if you have a hankering for more familiar food.  These options include burgers, tea or lavish continental fare. Since part of the pleasure of being in Malaysia is to enjoy traditional Penang food most visitors will try at least a few of the local meals.

Some eateries to visit when in Penang include Kedai Kopi Siew Fong Lye, Tiger Char Kway Teow and De Tai Tong Café. After eating Penang food it is easy to see why the area is the “Food Paradise of Asia”.

Whatever you decide to try, having hawker’s food should be a must on your list of things to do as this is one thing that Malaysia is known for – the delicious meals these simple vendors provide.


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