Hot, Cheap & Greasy: My Ultimate Penang Street Food Guide

I spent the last weekend working up in Penang. *groan*

My only consolation was being able to indulge in some of the world’s greatest street food feast ever. *yippee*
I stuffed myself really good and I did it for every meal each day I was there. *hooray for the tastebuds, but boo for the expanding waistline*
And not only did I come home with the knowledge and memory of new-found places to eat, I returned with a few new friends from this northern island too. 
Penang, thanks for feeding me well. 
After days of torturing my friends and followers with my endless stream of instagrams and tweets, here’s a full list of everything I’ve managed to wallop on this trip. This has got to be one of the best Penang’s street food trails ever. Eat and be merry!

*My only regret is not having enough space in my stomach for some nasi kandar. But I hear there’s an awesome one in Lebuh Chulia called Nasi Kandar Beratur (literally translated as Nasi Kandar with a Queue). Can’t wait to return and try this. Tell me what you think if you have tried it before.

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Low Eng Hoo coffeeshop 
Perhaps more on the pricey side, but this goggle man’s Char Kway Teow (fried flat noodles) is full of wok hei (breath of wok/fire power –  an essential quality in Chinese cooking) and tasted excellent. For that price you also get 3 large pink and springy prawns, a couple slices of lap cheong (Chinese waxed sausage) and a handful of tiny cockles stirred into the noodles and served on a plate laid with a piece of banana leave. A few steps away in Kafe Heng Huat is where the previous goggle wearing CKT seller has set up her own place. Food’s still good, but you just have to bear with her pricing and her I’m-all-that attitude.

Add: Lorong Selamat, Georgetown, Penang
Business Hours: Mornings til late afternoons

Sungai Pinang Foodcourt
The concept of a Bali-styled foodcourt complete with huts isn’t exactly revolutionary, but do make your way here for some unique treats which is not often synonymous with this island. Try the silky smooth Grilled Aubergine with Garlic, Grilled Salt & Pepper long beans, Belacan Fried Chicken, Salted Fish Fried Rice and a mee jawa like Prawn Noodles (not to be confused with Penang Hokkien Mee)

Add: Corner of Jalan Sungai Pinang, Penang
Business Hours: Lunch and Dinner til late.

Anba Coconut Trading Pte. Ltd
Cool yourself down and quench your thirst the natural way. Enjoy the refreshing and sweet fresh coconut water in Abu Siti Lane. This row of pre-war shophouses is THE place to go to for coconuts and they have been trading here for the last 20-over years. You get to choose from regular coconut to the sweeter and more fragrant pandan coconuts (frankly I have no idea how the sweet aroma of screwpine leaves ended up in these coconuts but it’s oh-so-good!) and even coconut jelly. What I love most about this place is scrapping the translucent young coconut meat with a piece of its shell.

Add: Lorong Abu Siti, close to corner of Burma Road
Business hours: 10:00am to 7:00pm. Closed on Sundays.

Seng Lee Cafe
This has definitely got to be my favourite breakfast place in all of Penang. I come here for the authentic taste of its Mee Mamak (Indian-Muslim styled fried yellow noodles). Watching the uncle toss the noodles in a gigantic cauldron is a show by itself, and beautifully coating them with egg, tofu, mixed vegetables, tomato sauce and the magic ingredient – a spicy cuttlefish sambal. Damn syiok! This mee mamak stall has been operating for generations and is believed to be the birth place of the dish. Across the lane, one can also find a good grilled roti bengali (to be eaten with sof boiled eggs) and a smokey turmeric-infused pork satay vendor that serves them with a special sweet potato sauce.

Add: Corner of Jalan Burma and Lorong Bangkok, Pulau Tikus, Penang
Business Hours: 8:00am – 630pm. Closed on Mondays.

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Pulau Tikus Market
Next to Seng Lee, this is another breakfast favourite of my mine. This is where I will get my Asian-styled pancakes fix. First is the traditional Indian Apom that’s baked in a claypot over charcoal at Swee Kong Coffeeshop at the corner of Moulmein Rd and Burma Rd. Be enthralled by the skills of the pancake maker and his heat-proof fingers as he whip them up. The apoms are crispy and flaky on the side while the middle is thicker and pillowy. Then go across towards a mobile stall parked outside Kwai Lock Coffeehouse a crispy Apam Balik. This version is like a thin and crispy crepe filled with your choice of fillings. I always stick to the original roasted peanut, sugar and corn combination.

Further down the street is a push cart selling Ban Chang Kueh located in front of Queensway. Here is where you’ll find a thicker and more chewy version pancake that’s slow-cooked in a hot iron flatpan, once again over charcoal fire. Once ready, you’ll find its generous amount of crushed peanuts and brown sugar filling oozing out with every bite. All of these are best eaten when hot. So dig in as you move along the street.

Also, if you are curious as to how Putu Mayam are made, there is a stall here that do just that. Even my local Penang friend was fascinated by it.

Add: Along Jalan Pasar, Pulau Tikus, Penang
Business Hour: Most stalls operate from 7:00 – 9:30am.

Kafe Sea Pearl Lagoon
A well-hidden and modest looking seafood restaurant located behind the Tai Pak Koong temple and beside the sea overlooking the north channel. Its modest cooking methods have also resulted in the popular Salt-baked Prawns and Baked Crabs that is both smokey and bursting with the flavours of the sea. Do order the excellent Fried Spring Chicken, Or Chien (Oyster Omelette) and the best fried spring roll I’ve ever had. Thanks to gorgeous CK Lam for revealing this place to us and for her wonderful company.

Add: 338 Mukim 18, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang.
Business hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm
GPS Coordinates : N05 2748.8 E100 1828.9

Goodall Cafe
This not so little food hawker centre is located opposite the Penang Chinese Girl School. Visit it for its famous Assam Laksa, which had us ordering seconds upon slurping its delicious broth. Or perhaps it had something to do with the rain that evening. Also worth trying there is Lobak (pork rolls), Char Kueh Kak (fried carrot cakes) and Mee Jutawan (which is a crossed between Hakka noodles and Wantan noodles).
Add: GoodAll, Jalan Gottlieb, 10350, Penang

Business Hours: Dinner til late.

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Kimberly Street Hawkers
When night time falls, I love to drop by here for a a bowl of Duck Koay Chiap. For over 30 years, this particular stall has been selling its famous combination of mixed stewed “spare parts”, which includes anything from duck meat, duck blood tofu, pig ears, pig intestines and an a hard boiled egg. And all of these are eaten with koay chiap which is a kind of flat and thin square noodles, its texture is similar to koay teow but slightly thicker. I’m not a real fan of innards but the rich soup and noodles is what I’m really after. And that heavenly chili paste that comes with it. Also, do try the Char Kway Teow and Penang Chee Cheong Fun here. They are both really ho chiak (hokkien for tasty). 
Add: Junction of Jalan Kuala Kangsar and Lebuh Kimberly, Georgetown, Penang
Business Hours: Appx 7:00pm – 11:30pm

Restaurant Kapitan
Lebuh Chulia is known for its Indian Muslim community and this restaurant is one of the many located in this area often referred to as Little India. Strategically located at the corner, locals flock this restaurant in the late hours of night to soothe their hankering for Chicken Tandoori and Cheese Na’an. But it is their 

Susu Badam that has gotten the restaurant on my Must-Return-to-Again list. Thanks to CK Lam once again for pointing the place out, we got to savour a cup of warm cow’s milk cooked with saffron, cardamon, cinnamon, almond, raisins, sugar and cashew nuts. It was the most comforting and smoothest combination a milk can ever be. Guaranteed to give you a good night sleep thereafter. So much for calling it “Energy Drink Booster”. 

Add: 93, Lebuh Chulia, Penang

Sim Kin San coffeeshop

The entire island may be bombarded with the tagline “Penang Famous Hokkien Mee“, but this is one place where that claim is not an exaggeration. Zero in on Ah Soon Kor Har Mee stall that’s located at the front of the shop for a bowl of noodles drenched in a stock that is thick and rich with prawn flavours. For RM1 extra you’ll get roast pork added in, or you can go straight for a premium bowl which is topped with roast pork and fried mantis prawns for only RM5! That’s a steal by Penang’s standards. Another thing worth mentioning is the Fried Pancake stall, where fluffy traditional western pancakes bits are “fried” with an egg, raisins, almonds and loads of butter. What an indulgent way to sweeten your meal here.

Add: 168 , Jalan Rangoon, off Jalan Mcallister, 10400, Penang
Business hours: 7:00am – 2:00pm. Closed on alternate Mondays
Apong Guan and Apom Chooi 
This two stalls are located no 20metres apart from each other. Both kiosk looks rather similar and they both sell the same banana pancake which our childhood memories are made of. Heck, these two stalls are operated by two brothers, who sadly after a family squabble, are no longer in good terms with each other. Guan is the more popular among the two due to his friendly nature. It’s a joy to see him wearing a genuine smile while making these pancakes. He even talks and entertains his customers who normally have to wait about 25-40mins. You see, he can only make 9 of these fragrant banana filled coconut pancakes at a time and topped them up nicely with a spoonful of creamed corn just before they are ready. 
The atmosphere around Chooi’s stall on the other hand, is more sombre. He is less chatty and looks more serious. He pays good attention to his apoms though. The truth is, as much as they claim that their recipes aren’t the same, nobody can really tell the difference. Really. Only perhaps on an off day, Guan’s version may come off a little eggy and Chooi’s can be a little burnt. But if I have to brave traffic and parking around these area, I guess a friendlier face will help make my day brighter.
Add: Push carts along Jalan Burma, in front of shophouses close to Union Primary School
Business Hours: Appx 11:00am – 8:30am, closed on Sundays.
8 Responses to Hot, Cheap & Greasy: My Ultimate Penang Street Food Guide
  1. Baby Sumo
    December 17, 2010 | 7:07 am

    Penang food… yums.

    Were u staying at Gurney Hotel? The view looks familiar.

  2. Keropok Man
    December 17, 2010 | 7:07 am

    u sure ate, ate, ate till you want no more?

  3. Sean
    December 17, 2010 | 7:18 am

    wow, i think u managed to check out more interesting places in penang in one weekend than i did in three years of studying there! if only i could turn back time, heheh :D

  4. qwazymonkey
    December 17, 2010 | 9:43 am

    Baby Sumo: You got it right!

    Keropok Man: I wonder what the island down south holds for me next week. LOL

    Sean: Aiya, all these food are too cheap for your taste lah.

  5. CUMI & CIKI
    December 17, 2010 | 9:44 am

    very cool. so that's where you've been hiding all this while. under a rock called Penang:P

  6. ck lam
    December 17, 2010 | 11:00 am

    I am hungry looking at all the food. Maybe I will drop by the Nasi Beratur later tonight. Care to join me? :)

    Anyway, it was great having you in Penang. I truly enjoyed the makan outing with your warm friendly company.

  7. Corinne @ Gourmantic
    December 19, 2010 | 6:43 am

    Great round up, Mr Qwazy! Makes me hungry, and makes me dream at the same time!

  8. Cheryl
    December 27, 2010 | 9:57 am

    First time to your blog. Lovin' it. Brilliant post by the way. Am thinking of going back to Penang next year to feast myself crazy and this is a great guide I'd definitely be following. Thanks for this post!

    Merry X'mas by the way!