Category / Penang
It’s pretty much a truce that Penang offers one of the best hawker foods anywhere, you almost plan up a whole weeks’ itinerary filled with different hawker foods and never have to visit the same place twice. The problem is, what if you only have a day?
Well, to make your life simpler, here’s 5 different places you could visit in a single day to sample some of the best from Penang. Food portions on the island is usually not too big, so 5 meals a day is just about right for anyone with a normal appetite. For extra credit, you can always fit in another couple meals in between.
Ah Hai kuih teow soup at Kim Lee kopitiam
Breakfast starts at Kim Lee kopitiam. Ah Hai’s kuih teow soup starts at around 7:30 am and would operate around 3pm. The kuih teow soup here offers bouncy home made fish ball, delicious fish cake, slices of duck meat, and most importantly, coagulated duck blood, as the original recipe calls for.
This place has been in existence for some 60 years, and still offers one of the best kuih teow th’ng there is on the island.
Ah Hai kuih teow soup | Kedai Makanan Kim Lee, Lorong Macalister, Penang | 7:30 am to 3 pm
char kuih teow at Dato’ Keramat – Ah Leng’s
For lunch, we continue keep our focus on kuih teow, but this time the fried version – the all important Penang char kuih teow.
While the two stalls at Lorong Selamat gets all the glitz and glamour, I find Ah Leng char kuih teow at Dato’ Keramat a more than worthy alternative. The fried kuih teow here has the customary huge prawns, lard, chives, duck egg, and for extras – mantis prawns (for RM 11 per plate). Pure ecstasy for those who loves this signature Penang dish.
Ah Leng char kuih teow | Kafe Khoon Hiang, 358 Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 Penang | 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, closed on Thursdays
famous Balik Pulau laksa near the market
From Dato’ Keramat, drive up to Ayer Itam and through Payer Terubong to where the best laksa is found at Nang Guang kopitiam, Balik Pulau.
The asam laksa here comes in two different varieties, the usual asam style, and the richer lemak style, which is closer to the traditional Nyonya recipe. Neither would disappoint even the harshest laksa critics. The soup is flavorful and packed with fish meat, even the prawn paste has an extra kick to it.
If you’re to pack some for the journey back to Klang Valley (or anywhere else), they do it rather professionally with soup, prawn paste, and main ingredients all packed separately.
Balik Pulau Laksa | Nan Guang kopitiam, 67, Jalan Balik Pulau, 11000, Balik Pulau, Penang | Hours: morning to late lunch
mixed pork porridge at New Lane
In the evening, make your way back from Balik Pulau to the city center and stop by New Lane for something that isn’t readily associated with Penang – mixed pork porridge.
This is another stall that has been in business for decades and is still going strong as ever. A bowl of mixed pork porridge comes with delicious crispy intestine, pork tongue, slices of char siu, some spring onion, and pepper. Pretty simple list of ingredients, but one that tickles just the right spots on the tongue.
Pork Intestine Porridge (Chee Cheong Chock) | New Lane, Georgetown, Penang | Hours: from 6 pm till midnight
Green House hokkien mee and loh mee at Jalan Burma
For supper, head up just a few hundred meters to the East of New Lane to find the original Green House prawn mee stall at Jalan Burma.
This prawn mee and loh mee stall offers many ingredients you don’t typically find – home made fish ball, meat ball, sausage, pork skin, chicken feet, instine, and more can be added as extras to the prawn mee/loh mee for extra kicks. By default, they come with pork slices, prawns, hard boiled egg, fried shallots, and chili paste.
Green House hokkien mee | Jalan Burma, Georgetown, Penang (Opposite Chew Thean Yeang Aquarium) | Hours: dinner till late
Of course, I’ve missed out many other hawker stalls that are “must tries”, but if you have only 24 hours to go, this list should not disappoint. Happy eating!
While back in Penang for cheng beng last weekend, I also decided to try a char kuih teow place which I haven’t been before. After all, after having not lived in Penang for the past 18 years or so, there are many places that aren’t exactly new, but they are new to me.
A bit of Google-Fu and I ended up at Ah Leng char kuih teow at Kafe Khoon Hiang, located on Jalan Dato Keramat, between Penang Times Square and the old Stadium Bandaraya Pulau Pinang.
Ah Leng char kuih teow at Kafe Khoon Hiang
The kopitiam is just like any other in Penang, with an assortment of hawker stalls offering many local dishes. Situated right at the front of the shop, Ah Leng char kuih teow is their most prominent stall (by the way, Leng means “Dragon” in Hokkien)
A plate of “normal” char kuih teow is priced at RM 6, and RM 10.50 gets you one with “extras”. If you prefer duck egg instead of the usual chicken egg, chip in another RM 0.50.
glorious char kuih teow with extra ingredients – big prawns, mantis prawns, duck egg
Being a person who’s slightly weak when it comes to resisting temptations, I naturally went for broke and ordered a plate with duck egg and everything in it.
The result was RM 11.00 lighter on my wallet, but in return I had a plate of absolutely gorgeous char kuih teow that has four really huge prawns, duck egg, bean sprouts, chives, kuih teow, and another ingredient that’s pretty unique to Ah Leng – mantis prawns.
yep, these prawns are massive!
While this costs a bit more than your usual hawker dishes, the prawns were super juicy and fresh, and the kuih teow too had just enough wok-hei for my liking. If you discount all the ingredients, it’s still an above average plate of kuih teow, but with all these extras, man, I can have it pretty frequent!
If you’re in Penang looking for a plate of memorable char kuih teow to have but don’t want to go to Lorong Selamat, this is definitely a more than worthy alternative.
Ah Leng Char Kuih Teow
Kafe Khoon Hiang
358 Jalan Dato Keramat,
GPS: 5.412985, 101.319595
Tel: 012-498 3962
Hours: 8:30 am to 2:30 pm (closed on Thursdays)
While many Penang hawker dishes such as char kuih teow, hokkien mee, and laksa are famous all over Malaysia, wantan mee is always a bit of an odd ball. Being a traditional Cantonese dish in a predominately Hokkien area, wantan mee was sort of adopted by the islanders.
the wantan mee stall at kedai kopi seng thor
Like languages and culture, food that is separated geographically from its place of origin usually evolve and adapt to the local taste. This is evident in the case of wantan mee in Penang as well.
sambal goes very well with wantan mee
A prime example is the wantan mee at Seng Thor kopitiam at Carnarvon street. The dry version comes with both deep fried and boiled wantan, vegetable, charsiu (bbq pork), and the all important Penang style sambal belacan.
While the chasiu isn’t nearly as good as those you usually find in Klang Valley (for some reasons charsiu in Penang is usually dyed and not nearly as flavorful), I like the extra dimensions offered by deep fried wantan, and of course, the sambal belacan makes a huge difference, pretty much transformed the entire dish like how chili pan mee is different from normal pan mee.
If you love sambal and food in general, you should try wantan mee here (and many other stalls in Penang).
of course, you shouldn’t miss the best ochien in town
Of course, if you are already in this kopitiam, don’t forget to order the fried oyster omelet here. One of the bests ever.
Kedai Kopi Seng Thor
160, Lebuh Carnarvon,
10100 Georgetown, Penang
GPS: 5.415495, 100.33468
My siblings are all like me when it comes to food, super adventurous, and always looking out for new and delicious food to try. Last weekends when I went back to Penang for “cheng beng” (tomb sweeping day), my brother brought me and mom to East Coast BBQ at Sungai Pinang food court for some awesome BBQ seafood.
East Coast BBQ at Jalan Pinang food court, Penang
The difference between East Coast BBQ and the other 10,000 other Chinese ikan bakar places is the sheer variety of seafood they offer. Instead of just the usual stingray, lala, and a few different fish species, they have at least a dozen different types of fish, 4-5 different shellfish, prawns, cuttle fish, corn, long beans, brinjal, and even Shishamo (Japanese “pregnant” fish)
BBQ scallops, egg plant, and long beans
What we really came here for though, is their scallops. For the three of us we picked half a dozen pretty big size scallops (RM 6 each) to be freshly BBQ’ed. Topped with plenty of garlic and other granish and perfectly grilled, they were fantastic! Anyone who loves scallops will definitely not be disappointed.
BBQ Brinjal (RM 8.50) is another one of their speciality. The eggplant is split into half and topped with finely chopped garlic and garnish not unlike the one used on the scallop and then grilled till soft. While the “toppings” are the same, the flavor comes out completely different and proved to be another winning dish. I love it.
BBQ long beans (RM 6 each) was a little simpler and seemed to have only curry powder/paprika on them. Very mildly spicy, but otherwise not entirely too interesting.
fried lala, sotong bakar (bbq cuttle fish)
We also ordered a big portion of fried lala (RM 36), but it turned out to be a disappointment. My favorite lala of all time is probably the one at Alisan at PJ SS4, and while the seafood here is fresh and juicy, the sauce of the lala was one dimensional (in this case, powderish feeling curry) and we ended up not finishing this dish.
Grilled cuttle fish (RM 19, by weight) did turn out to be another well executed dish. The cuttle fish was crispy on the outside and juicy within, mom loves it and so did we. The accompanying sauce perfected the dish.
Mom, KY, and younger brother Win Sern
If you’re looking for some reasonably priced grilled seafood in Penang, this is definitely one of the places to check out. My brother said that from what he heard, their grilled fish isn’t particularly special, so if grilled fish is what you really look for, I’d suggest going to Song River at Gurney Drive instead.
East Coast BBQ
Sungai Pinang Food Court
Jalan Sungai Pinang
Georgetown 11500 Penang
GPS: 5.400029, 100.325711
Tel: 04-281 0943
Hours: dinner and supper
One of my favorite comfort hawker dishes in Penang is the kuih teow th’ng, or kuih teow soup. This simple dish is prevalent on the island, but isn’t exactly popular at all in Klang Valley, most likely due to its similarity with pork noodle and fish ball/ fish meat noodle places.
So whenever I’m back in Penang, I usually try to sneak in a couple bowls of yummy kuih teow soup.
the kuih teow soup that used to be at Pitt Street, now at Lebuh Carnarvon
One of my favorite places that offers a good bowl of kuih teow soup was the stall at by Armenian and Pitt Street, and in fact I’ve written about the place more than 6 years ago in this entry, which is due for an update anyway.
The same stall has since moved to Lebuh Carnarvon, a stone’s throw away in the opposite direction of the famous (and probably the best) fried oyster omelete at Seng Thor kopitiam on the same road.
simple, light, and delicious kuih teow soup
Over the Chinese New Year break, we stopped by there for a light lunch. For the four of us, we ordered kuih teow soup with extra “meat sheet” for everyone, and an extra bowl of fish ball soup to share. I’d have added intestines and other innards but unfortunately they’d ran out of those goodies by the time we were there.
The fish ball here is home made with eel (鳗鱼) as the major ingredient, which results in a unique softer texture and exquisite taste that is quite different from your run off the mill smooth wolf herring fish ball (西刀鱼)
we ordered extra fish balls and absolutely finished everything
We really enjoyed the extra “meat sheet” as well. It’s made of pork and carries a slightly salty but savory taste to it, a bit like a flattened smooth meat ball for the lack of a better description. The kuih teow soup also comes with fried garlic oil, lard, and duck meat. For only a few ringgit per pax including drinks, we were well satisfied with lunch.
Parking can be a bit of a hassle when you dine here, but nothing a bit of patience won’t resolve.
Pitt Street Kuih Teow Soup
183, Carnarvon Street,
GPS: 5.414863, 100.334439
Tel: 017-479 3208