(Taken from misstamchiak.com)
Penang is synonymous with food, and it’s generally agreed that the island’s best eats can be found at its hawker stalls and food courts. Not eating at a hawker centre on Penang is like missing the Louvre in Paris – you simply have to do it. And why wouldn’t you? There are tonnes of hawker centres in Penang, ranging from old-school, shophouse-bound ‘cafes’ to open-air conglomerations of mobile stalls, boasting menus that range in cuisine from halal South Asian to regional Chinese. But perhaps most importantly, Penang’s hawker centres are cheap, informal and almost universally delicious.
1. Mee Goreng @ Bangkok Lane
This mee goreng business has been passed down over several generations and does super tasty mee goreng. It is definitely entertaining to watch the owner / his worker fry mee goreng – one hand tossing and frying the noodles, while the other hand constantly turning the wok in a circular manner! When served, just squeeze some lime, mix it and you are ready to savour. The noodles are moist and fragrant. The prawn stock and mashed potatoes gives it a balance of sweet, sour and spicy. And the mee goreng contains cuttlefish which makes it stand out from other mee goreng stalls. One fun fact, the owner knows Hokkien ok. Don’t play play!
Address: 270 Jalan Burma, Lorong Bangkok
Opening Hours: 8am – 6.30pm. Closed on Mondays
2. Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol @ Lebuh Keng Kwee
Cendol is one of Malaysia’s favourite desserts. In a bowl of RM2 chendol, there is aromatic gula Melaka and fragrant coconut milk, certainly a perfect remedy for the blistering heat of Penang. You can have the cendol beside the stall, at the comfort of air con. Another nice thing about the shoplot is that you can get a delicious, hot bowl of assam laksa from the stall right in front of the door.
Address: Lebuh Keng Kwee, off Penang Road
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 10.30am – 7pm; Sat & Sun 10am – 7.30pm
3. Char Koay Teow @ Lorong Selamat
With RM9, you get a nice charcoal fried koay teow with large prawns and fresh cockles. She probably serves the most expensive char koay teow in Penang, but there are still local crowds constantly streaming in just to get their char koay teow craving satisfied. Her char kway teow has a good wok hei with all the flavours perfectly balanced. Her wok is also charcoal fired, with a small fan at the bottom blowing to keep the flames hot. It was very smooth and infused with the umami flavour of the prawns.
Address: 108, Lorong Selamat
Opening Hours: 11am – 6pm. Closed on every Tuesdays.
4. Asam Laksa @ Air Itam
Situated next to Air Itam market, this stall is hugely popular for its authentic assam laksa. With only RM4, each bowl is packed with thick rice noodles, vegetables, spicy mackerel based soup and a generous amount of shrimp paste. Its main distinguishing feature is the asam which gives the soup a sour taste. The fish is poached and then flaked. There are other ingredients like lemongrass, mint, onion etc. The soup base is very flavorful and filled with generous amount of flaked mackerels. The prawn pastes gives more depth to the laksa. And it is refreshing with the mint and onion.
Address: 11500 Air Itam, Jalan Pasar
Open daily: 11:30am – 10pm
5. Penang Rojak @ Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
Rojak is considered a colloquial representation of variety and mixture. Commonly found in Malaysia and Singapore, it is a salad of bean curds, fritters (you tiao), bean sprouts, cuttlefish and assortment of fruits covered in a thick syrupy peanut sauce. Freshly tossed with pineapple slices so sweet you would widen your eyes in surprise.
Address: George Town Stall 91, Persiaran Gurney, Penang, 10250
Open daily: 6:00pm – 12:00am
6. Super Hokkien Mee @ Jalan Bawasah
This Hokkien Mee stall is known for its ridiculously long waiting time. Yes, many avid Hokkien Mee lovers are willing to wait to get their fix here because they know the worth. If you can tolerate that, then you’re in for a treat. The soup is fragrant, with enough prawn flavours to wow your taste buds. The prawn itself is succulent and does come in a generous portion, and tastes great when you add a spoonful of red chilli paste on top. The employment of fried onions and slivers of steamed chicken further augments the whole flavour of the dish.
Address: 2, One Corner Café, Jalan Bawasah, 10050
Opening Hours: 7:30AM—4:30PM. Closed on every Tuesdays.
7. Curry Mee @ Lorong Seratus Tahun
One of the most well known places for curry mee, this stall in Lorong Seratus Tahun definitely lives up to its standard. The thick curry-based soup tastes just as good without having to add any chilli paste to it. You also get a generous amount of toppings including peeled prawns. Visitors can also enjoy the dish in the calm setting of a prewar house environment. Curry mee is available here at prices of RM4.50 and RM5.
Address: Lorong Seratus, 10400, GeorgeTown
Opening Hours: 7:30AM—2:30PM. Closed on every Thursdays and public holidays.
8. Char Koay Kak @ Seow Fong Lye Cafe, Macalister Lane
Char Koay Kak is translated as carrot cake, made from white radish and rice flour. It is made from stir-fried carrot cake pieces, salted turnips, bean sprouts, eggs, dark soy sauce, a little chili paste and lard. A small portion is RM3.00 and a big one RM4.50 – fair enough for its mouthwatering taste.
Address: Seow Fong Lye Coffeeshop, 94C, Macalister Lane, George Town, 11400
Open daily: 7:30AM—1:00PM.
9. Fish Ball Koay Teow Soup @ Carnavon Street
This is not an usual bowl of fish ball soup. Because the fish balls here are made from eel. Instead of using the usual Batang fish to make their fishballs, the owner has creatively used eel to make into fish ball. Batang fish gives a more firm texture, but eel fish balls taste so much softer. Unlike other fish ball noodles stall which usually adds in bak chor (minced meat), this stall uses handmade pork fillet which is unique. Their soup is boiled with duck and pork bones for many hours, hence giving it natural sweetness.
Address: 183 Carnarvon Street
Opening Hours: 9am – 4.30pm. Closed on Sundays & Mondays
10. Toast & Eggs @ Toh Soon Cafe
Toh Soon Cafe is a small coffee shop situated at a back lane along Campbell Street that serves a variety of bread and toasts, homemade Hainan coffee and nasi lemak. Any set of toast or bread with 2 half boiled eggs and a cup of coffee is somewhere around RM3.80 to RM4, a reasonable price if you ask me. The uniqueness of Toh Soon’s toasts is the preparation method by using a super old charcoal stove. In Penang you could probably see this kind of stove at Toh Soon only, partly because it is modified from an oil drum. Besides having your bread toasted, they also serve it steamed if you like it less heaty.
Address: Toh Soon Cafe, Campbell Street, off Penang Road
Opening Hours: 8am – 6pm. Closed on Sundays.