My Penang Food List
[Updated as at May 2015] These are only the ones that I have tried and I will be slowly adding to this list. As many of the eateries are simple street stalls (that sometimes move around) or obscure coffeeshops, I found GPS coordinates to be very useful in locating them.
I have also included links to food bloggers’ reviews that most closely mirror my own thoughts about a particular stall. Too lazy to do a proper review.
Disclaimer!! I am the sort who adores street and hawker food, rather than home-style cooking. Especially intense flavors, fried garlic, pork lard, traditional charcoal fire cooking and wok hei. Yummy food shouldn’t be bland and healthy right? You are on holiday so just forget the diet !
Coffee shops, Street Stalls
1. Air Itam Penang Laksa
Location: Pasar Air Itam, corner of junction leading to kek lok si temple (GPS: N5°24.087′ E100°16.699′)
Recommended dish: penang assam laksa
Opening hours: 1100h-2000h daily
Note: Small round tables only (max 6pax), may have to share when crowded. Not recommended for clean freaks – flies galore and water splashing everywhere.
Itinerary ideas: Visit the nearby kek lok si temple or Penang Hill if you are the sightseeing type.
My take: It sure doesn’t look pretty but this is the perfect assam laksa for me. Bold and intense flavors with the right balance of sweet, savoury and sour. Generous with the fish, ginger flower and prawn paste too. I have yet to find any commercially available penang laksa in Singapore that has ginger flower (very sad as this is a key ingredient). If you like the fishy tangy taste of penang laksa, you will surely LOVE this version.
Review I like: http://theboywhoatetheworld.com/2012/12/08/the-laksa-diaries-the-hunt-for-the-best-bowl-of-penang-laksa/
Air Hitam penang laksa
2. Goggle Lady CKT (aka Lor Selamat CKT)
Location: Kafe Heng Huat, Lor Selamat, Georgetown (GPS: N5°25.011′ E100°19.481′)
Recommended dish: char kway teow
Price: MYR9.50 / MYR10 / 12 (extra ingredients)
Opening hours: 1100h-1800h, closed Tuesdays
Note: You have to order the CKT in Hokkien. Hawkers from neighboring stalls will come over to “cross-sell”- Fruit rojak is bad (very diluted sauce), cuttefish kangkong ok (MYR20).
Itinerary ideas: Buy piah from nearby Him Heang at Jalan Burma (closed Sundays)
My take: Probably one of the most expensive CKT in Penang but prawns are larger than any of the other stalls, crunchy and fresh. Beansprouts and cockles juicy and not overcooked too. Not too soggy/greasy compared to Kimberly Street but still not as dry as Siam road or as fluffy as Ah Leng. Recommended for prawn and wok hei lovers.
Review I like: http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2013/the-noodle-master-of-penang/
Lor Selemat CKT
3. Siam Road CKT
Location: Jalan Siam (the Jalan Anson end), Georgetown (GPS: N5°24.932′ E100°19.225′)
Recommended dish: char kway teow
Price: MYR4 / 5
Opening hours: 1500h-2000h, closed Mondays
Note: Pushcart street stall- Seating area is at the coffee shop across the road
My take: Reasonably priced as compared to other famous CKT stalls. Fried very dry and has a high level of wok hei. Simple ingredients of lap cheong, small prawns and bean sprouts. I prefer this over Goggle Lady CKT.
Review I like: http://www.bestpenangfood.com/2013/11/05/siam-road-char-koay-teow-review/
Siam Road CKT
4. Ah Leng CKT
Location: Tong Hooi coffeeshop, Georgetown (GPS: N5°24.782′ E100°19.163′)
Recommended dish: char kway teow
Opening hours: Breakfast/Lunch
Note: Do not mix up with the other CKT stall that has taken over the original coffeeshop that Ah Leng used to operate out of.
My take: Fluffy texture, reasonably sized prawns.
Review I like:
Ah Leng CKT
5. Mr Gan crispy fried oyster egg (ohr jian)
Location: Lam Ah coffeeshop (opposite Lebuh Pantai fire station, red/white in color), Georgetown (GPS: N5°24.925′ E100°20.374′)
Recommended dish: crispy oyster egg
Price: MYR6 / 10
Opening hours: 1100h-1530h, closed Sundays
Note: The white coffee at this coffeeshop is super ‘gao’ (thick). The very popular beef kway teow soup from same coffeeshop is bland/boring IMO.
My take: Way better than Singapore style ohr jian, which is starchy and oily. This one has a starchy eggy centre, topped with small oysters in a sambal paste, while edges are flattened out and crispy. Sadly, the chilli is only average (sweet style), Singapore ohr jian chilli is much better. The big size is better if you want more crispy edges. [off-topic: Of course, none can beat the Bangkok style ohr jian- crispy all over, with crunchy raw beansprouts and hugeass oysters.]
Review I like: http://1simpleplan.blogspot.sg/2011/03/best-fried-oyster-lam-ah-coffee-shop.html
Mr Gan crispy ohr jian
6. Wai Kee Char Siew
Location: Sky Hotel, Georgetown (GPS: N5°25.135′ E100°20.099′)
Recommended dish: char siew, chinese sausage
Price: About MYR 8/pax
Opening hours: 1100h-1400h
Note: You have to order a drink or you get charged MYR0.40 service charge.
My take: Penang doesn’t seem as obsessed about char siew as in KL but the quality here is just as high.
Itinerary ideas: Visit the camera museum & cafe just 150m away
Review I like: http://www.bestpenangfood.com/2012/08/01/char-siew-that-melt-in-mouth-wai-ke-sky-restaurantchulia-st-penang/
MYR8 portion of kickass char siew
Hawker centre / Market / Food Street (multiple stalls)
1. Kimberly Street
Location: Lebuh Kimberly, Georgetown (GPS: N5°24.984′ E100°19.956′)
Recommended stalls: duck kway chap (sold out by 9pm), braised chicken
Not recommended: Yong tau fu stall (bland, boring), soy beancurd stall (very average, zzz)
Opening hours: 1800h-0000h
Note: You are allowed to use the tables belonging to the tong sui stalls if you order tong sui from them. Mixed feelings about the famous CKT stall- too soggy/greasy, but mantis shrimp is sweet and yummy. Duck eggs sell out early.
Itinerary ideas: Enjoy dessert from the traditional Chinese dessert (tong sui) shop after your meal
My take: I like the bustling streetside vibe here. The braised chicken stall looks the least exciting but is in fact really awesome, with a herby and complex soy braising sauce (like teochew braised duck sauce). Braised chicken feet is melt in your mouth good (they also have boring chicken wings), and innards are an optional bonus. Recommend the dry version of the chicken kway teow, which is served in the same braising sauce and topped with fried garlic.
Review I like: http://wenywonderswhy.blogspot.sg/2013/07/penang-trip-sin-guat-keong.html
Fall off the bone, melt in your mouth
2. Padang Brown (Chinese stalls)
Location: Georgetown (GPS: N5°24.834′ E100°19.017′)
Recommended stalls: seafood popiah, stall 17 (MYR2/3), otak stall (for cockles/octopus/spiny shells MYR12), ohr kuih, stall 22 (Kerabu beehoon MYR2.50), lok lok stall (MYR0.90-1.80/stick), crispy pancake
Not recommended: ohr kuih, Stall 22 (too starchy), otak (too soft and overly milky)
Opening hours: 1300h-1900h (or finished). Popiah stall closed Thurs. Ohr kuih stall only open Fri-Mon.
Note: MUST get the MYR3 extra ingredient version of the popiah (with crabmeat!!!) and not the MYR2. Renovated end-2014? early 2015? so looks a bit less messy now.
Itinerary ideas: Drive to nearby Ghee Hiang to buy piah (1min drive)
My take: If I were to pick only one food centre to recommend it would be this one. So many great stalls here, this place is sure to please all palates! My favorites are the seafood popiah (very different from Singapore popiah as it is doused in a prawn stock) and kerabu beehoon. I could easily eat these for every meal…..
Review I like: http://shiokhochiak.blogspot.sg/2010/01/feasting-in-penang-padang-brown.html
Kerabu beehoon (nonya beehoon salad)
3. Jalan Johor
Location: Jalan Johor (the Jalan Anson end), Georgetown
Recommended stalls: prawn noodle (MYR3.50), CKT (MYR7 with duck egg)
Not recommended: lor mee (MYR3.50)
Opening hours: Evenings
My take: A very local place, you will not find tourists here. Tried a couple of stalls but nothing was a real stand out for me. Seems like the WTM stall is the most popular but I found it quite bland and average.
4. Cafe Sri Nibong
Location: Sungai Nibong, under the expressway, vaguely opposite Kwang Hwa school (GPS: N5°20.217′ E100°17.911′)
Recommended stalls: kway teow soup (From MYR3.50), CKT (MYR4), toast cheese bread stall
Not recommended: Chee cheong fun (or maybe Penang style CCF is just not my thing)
Opening hours: Mornings
My take: A very local place, you will not find tourists here. A good place to eat in between Georgetown and airport. The locally-priced CKT here is actually as good as many of the “famous” ones.
kway teow soup