Foodie Paradise – A non-stop weekend of eating in Penang

I only spent a weekend in Penang, but during my 3 days there, it just felt like I was eating my way through the state. From right after we checked into our room right till we boarded the plane for home,

We tried to sample as much of Penang’s famous street food as we could, but between the two of us we still missed out on many dishes. We ended up eating some non-typical Malaysian cuisine as well with mixed results.

As with the street art, there’s an extensive map and listing that you can pick up at the airport, but Karen from our guesthouse Mango Tree Place gave us their guide to food and amenities around the area as well, so here’s what we ate and where you can find it.



Penang Food - Apong
1 pc of Apong at 0.50 RM (apparently it used to be 0.30 RM only!)

Apong is a little pancake-like food – egg, flour, coconut milk and some banana and corn bits – Uncle Guan, as the store is named for, is preparing several Apong in the picture above. He’s apparently been operating out of his little pushcart store since forever along Jalan Burmah, right at the junction of Jalan Phuah Hin Leong where our guesthouse was located, outside Union Primary School. You have to wait patiently for him to be done because it’s all freshly made, and he was a little bit cranky that we only bought 1pc each – most people go away in batches of 10 or more!

We took a long, sweltering walk down Jalan Burmah and turned off onto Lorong Selamat. Take a walk down the road and you should come to this bunch of pushcart stores all in one place which is Lorong Selamat Hawker Centre [84 Lorong Selamat]. This hawker centre seems to attract some famous people because there were a whole bunch of photos up on the wall. We sat inside Kedai Kopi Dan Ice Kacang and ordered a whole bunch of food:

Penang Food - Lorong Selamat Hawker Centre
Lorong Selamat Hawker Centre – there’s a whole bunch of food here we didn’t have stomach space to try!


Penang Food - Char Koay Teow
Char Koay Teow is flat rice noodles fried in a wok with egg, beansprouts (yuck, A nicely picked them out for me), prawns and chinese sausage

I thought this was that famous one with the lady in the red hat who had a big attitude problem that everyone kept talking about, but apparently there are more than one Char Koay Teow shops here. KTG however is still quite famous, and while the noodles weren’t that cheap (8.50RM for a medium portion!), they were really quite good and my favourite dish of that lunch – very tasty and just the right amount of spiciness without being too crazy hot.


Penang Food - indian rojak
Rojak is a term we often use in Singapore to describe something that’s all jumbled together, and indeed underneath that thick sauce you can’t quite tell that it’s about 5-6 different types of fruits

You might be familiar with Indian Rojak, but this is not quite the same thing. In my head I call this Chinese rojak because you usually get Chinese folk selling it, but more accurately, it’s a fruit rojak where various slices of fruits are coated with a thick sweet sauce and chopped peanuts. For 6 RM it was quite a sizeable dish.


Penang Food - Chee Cheong Fun
Chee Cheong Fun, literally translates into Pig Intestine Powder! This plate cost us 3.30 RM

Chee Cheong Fun can be done several ways – this Penang-style Chee Cheong Fun takes thin rice sheets and rolls them up with a sweet and spicy prawn paste, and covered with a thick sweet sauce and sesame seeds. I personally like the Hong Kong style best, with super thin rice sheets and char siew or prawns – not a fan of the weird sweetness of this style!


Penang Food - Ice Kachang
mmh yummy, I’m feeling happy chills just looking at this pic

We ordered this after our 3 dishes and it was SUCH a relief wolfing down this cold dessert on a hot day. Ice Kacang is basically a pile of shaved ice covered with syrup, condensed milk and gula melaka (this one came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as well) and other ingredients inside the bowl are red bean, corn and atap chee? as well.


We walked around the George Town area later on and ended up in a cafe called The Dine. Not going to review the place because I was less than impressed by their poor service. Our kahlua brownie was so-so, but the worst part was that they ran out of ice or couldn’t make cold drinks for some reason, and then NEVER TOLD US so we were left waiting and wondering how come our drinks never arrived. Poor form indeed.

We headed back to the guesthouse, and later that evening when we had dinner, we walked towards Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah instead and ended up in Northam Beach Cafe [58 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 6-11pm daily but closed on Tues], a hawker centre located right on Penang’s coast with a pretty nice view of the sea. This time I did the ordering and here’s what we ended up with:

Penang Food - Northam Beach Cafe
Entrance to Northam Beach Cafe along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah – it’s a little walk in towards the sea
Penang Food - Northam Beach Cafe View
View of the Penang coastline from Northam Beach Cafe
Penang Food - Mee Udang and Prawn Mee Stalls
Mee Udang and Hokkien Prawn Mee stalls – skipped the Sarawak Kolo mee


Penang Food - Mee Udang
The presentation was really kinda stylish for street food! 8.50 RM

This dish of dry noodles is apparently the specialty of the Udang folk. It kinda feels like how an Asian version of spaghetti would be like. Quite ok, nice prawns but the taste gets a little monotonous after awhile and can be a bit much for one person to finish on their own.


Penang Food - prawn mee
The Hokkien prawn mee cost 6 RM

Two stalls away from Mee Udang was the Hokkien Prawn Mee store. This version is their standard one and came with small shrimps and pork ribs. You have the option to upgrade some of the ingredients if you pay a little more! Fairly simple noodle soup dish but quite tasty.


Still feeling peckish, we took a cab ride over to Jalan Gurney Hawker Centre (Anjung Gurney), which is a sprawling area of hawker food stalls. Man, talk about food choice! We weren’t so hungry now so we settled for smaller food. Do take note that some of these tables are owned by specific stalls, so you have to order food or drinks from them if you want to use that table.

Penang Food - Anjung Gurney
The entrance of Anjung Gurney – there are rows of random shops outside the hawker centre


Penang Food - Muah Chee
Penang Food – Muah Chee

Muah Chee is not quite the same as its more popular cousin mochi – it is a sticky glutinous dough that’s rolled in crushed peanut sugar. Quite a yummy snack and surprisingly filling.


Penang Food - Cuttlefish
Penang Food – Cuttlefish

Fried cuttlefish when done well can be really addictive and moreish, but this one was just so-so and the sweet sauce not really to my liking.


The next morning we were all ready for more food. First we headed down to Occupy Beach Street, which is a little weekly affair where they close off a portion of Jalan Pantai / Beach Street and fill it with little stalls. Think like a mini fun-fair of sorts, it’s just a small stretch though so you can finish walking it quite quickly.

Penang Food - Occupy Beach Street
Occupy Beach Street – People takeover Jalan Pantai
Penang Food - cotton candy
Nothing that significant, just wanted to show off the pretty flower-shaped cotton candy that we had. One pull and that thing is destroyed though!

This was just something a little gimmicky and fun to eat, though it’s pretty sticky and gets everywhere and tastes… well like cotton candy!


After that we headed into Georgetown and went street art hunting, and Armenian Street was where we ended up spending a lot of our time:


Penang Food - Ice Ball
Look at the size of that ice ball! We took quite a long time to devour the whole thing

This classic snack was once a mainstay in Singapore but you can’t get it anymore! It’s basically crushed ice shaped in a ball and covered with flavoured syrup which is served up in a little plastic tray and 2 satay sticks, which you slowly rotate and suck on – mine was Sarsi and Ribena flavoured, and a huge relief from the heat. Look for the little 70’s Ice stall at the junction of Lorong Soo Hong and Armenian Street in front of Street Art House.

Penang Food - Ice Ball Making
One person crushes the ice blocks and packs it into rice bowls to get a hemisphere. 2 hemispheres are put together and then the other guys soaks it in your syrup of choice.


We took a detour from Armenian Street and headed to China House along Lebuh Pantai, a refurbished old shophouse which has been converted into a rather hipster eating place and perhaps the longest cafe ever. The food there was decent though it was probably our most expensive meal in Penang (about 99RM including non-alcoholic drinks, main course approx 30+RM), you can get drinks at the bar or pop upstairs to indulge in some art, it’s a nice respite from the sweltering heat.

Penang Food - China House
You wouldn’t think it from the outside, but the inside is really, really long


Penang Food - Basil Chicken Spaghetti
The Pesto Chicken Spaghetti was a bit spicy and the pesto was really strong tasting
Penang Food - Beef Sandwich
The steak and chesse sandwich took some time to come, but when it did, that steak was pretty good stuff


We headed to Enso spa later that afternoon, and after that had dinner at the nearby Bali 77 hawker centre along Jalan Burmah.


Penang Food - Fish Porridge
Yummy Sliced Fish Porridge

Nothing particularly revolutionary, but the porridge was tasty and a really huge portion!


Penang Food - Lor Bak Stall
In Singapore, something like this is usually called Yong Tau Fu where you pick your ingredients

Lor Bak is usually referred to as Ngoh Hiang in Singapore, minced meat in soybean skins, but in Penang’s case Lor Bak is just one of the ingredients from a whole selection that you can pick to get deep fried and dip in a sweet sauce to eat.

Penang Food - Lor Bak
There’s cheese sausage, beancurd skin, fried wanton, fishball and fishcake in here (8RM)


Later that night after visiting Kek Lok Si and Penang Bridge, our taxi driver brought us to a hawker centre along Jalan Macalister for a quick supper.

Penang Food - Jalan Macalister Hawker Centre
Penang Food – Jalan Macalister Hawker Centre


Penang Food - Carrot Cake
Char Koay Kak

Char Koay Kak is known as Chai Tow Kuay in Singapore, or Carrot Cake. Rice cakes with radish, beansprouts, prawns, egg and topped off with chilli. You can usually find it in Singapore or Malaysia either doused in dark sauce (black) or not (white). This one was not bad.


Penang Food - Lor Mee
Penang Food – Lor Mee

This noodle dish is distinct because of its ‘lor’ or the dark sauce gravy that the yellow noodles are soaked in. Mix in some fried shallots, ginger and chilli and you have a yummy dish, this one was just okay.


On our last day we booked a table at the Eastern and Oriental for the high tea brunch. It’s a place that reminds me of Raffles Hotel in Singapore, after a whole weekend of hot stuffy hawker centres, being in a nice air-conditioned and quiet dining room was quite the change! classic colonial hotel that’s not particularly Penang food in any way, but for a fancy hotel tea it was quite affordable – something like this in Singapore would easily cost 2x the price (65RM per pax inc taxes).

Penang Food - Eastern and Oriental Hotel
Welcome to the Eastern and Oriental!
Penang Food - Eastern and Oriental View
Coastline view from the back of Eastern and Oriental
Penang Food - High Tea at Eastern and Oriental
Little sandwiches, cakes and scones are surprisingly filling when you wash it down with a pot of tea


And we brought a little bit of Penang with us – MyKuali Penang White Curry Mee is a very popular souvenir for tourists who pack back entire cartons of it because we can’t get the freshly cooked ones readily. They tend to be sold out at supermarkets so grab yours if you see them, or get them at smaller shops who have very enterprisingly stocked them and marked up the prices (usually 6.90RM, we bought ours at 8RM)!

Penang Food - MyKuali White Curry Mee
Penang Food – MyKuali White Curry Mee


As you can see, there’s a lot more food that I haven’t eaten yet – Penang laksa, koay teow tng, curry mee, chendol… it just means I need to go back to Penang again some time!

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7 comments to Foodie Paradise – A non-stop weekend of eating in Penang

  1. Hi Jaclynn! Great food-ful post you have there! 😀 Feeling hungry already! Would like to hear from you your opinion on Mango Tree Place, the guesthouse you stayed at. Thank you babe! 😀

    • Hi Yvonne, thanks for dropping by! Mango Tree Place is an excellent place to stay at – I did up a review post here. It might not be that cheap, but it really is worth the money if you want a nice place that’s quiet. You are a little out of the way from main George Town though, so be prepared to have a driver or take cabs to get to and from the hotel, but other than that it’s a great place.

  2. What a wonderful blog! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I spent 24 hours in Penang a few years ago and agree with you entirely – it’s one of the best places in the world to just..well, eat!!! I look forward to reading more from you 🙂

    • Thank you Rachel 🙂 I had a hard time trying to decide what my favourite Penang food was… I think the Char Koay Teow was probably the best for me, but do you have one? 🙂

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