penang_charkwayteow_chef

Penang is the unofficial/somewhat official culinary capital in not only Malaysia, but some argue, all of Asia. While that is certainly up for debate, our trip out to Penang convinced us that statement wasn’t made without merit. The ridiculous amount of diverse food and the explosive flavors in every single meal, we firmly believe that Penang is unmatched when it comes to the types of food that you can get in one city.

While it is hard to decide which is our absolute favorite dish, our editors are twisting our arms. Therefore, here are our top 15 things that every single visitor to Penang must eat.

penang_rotiprata

Roti Canai

Roti is an Indian flatbread that is made baked in clay ovens. However, Roti canai is a distinctly Malaysian take on Indian bread and is often served with a spicy and coconuty(this is not a real word) sauce that is perfect for dipping.

Recommended Locations

Tajuddin Hussain Nasi Kandar
45 Lebuh Queen, Penang, Malaysia

Abu Mamak
Jalan Dato Koyah, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Roti Canai at Transfer Road
Jalan Transfer, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

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Char Kway/Koay Teow

In Singapore its written as char kway teow, however, in Penang its written as char koay teow. Regardless of how you write it, the real name of this dish is delicious.

Recommended Locations

Kimberley Street Char Koay Teow and Mee
86 Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Siam Road Char Koay Teow
Siam Rd. (off Jalan Anson), 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Pulau Tikus Char Koay Teow
329 Jalan Burma, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

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Penang White Coffee

Made from local Malaysian coffee beans, this is actually black coffee mixed with creamers to give it its whitish coloring. In the West, we just call it coffee. I guess Malaysians don’t typically add in the creamers…

Recommended Location

Old Town White Coffee
Just about everywhere in Penang. It is a franchise after all.

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Malaysian Chendul

Originally of Indonesian descent, Chendul is a coconut-milk based dessert that is perfect for the scorching heat and humidity of Penang. More in-depth description of this classic Penang dessert can be found in one of our previous posts. To us, there is only one place to get Chendul and it is at the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul.

Recommended Location

Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
Lebuh Keng Kwee (at Penang Rd), 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

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Deep Fried Chicken Curry Bun

Found at the bottom of Penang Hill in the Air Itam neighborhood, this fried bread with chicken and curry is exactly what it is. Delicately crunchy with beautiful curry seasoning that intermingles with the chicken, this is a party in your mouth that you will never forget.

Recommended Location

A Cart across from Assam Laksa in Air Itam

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Sharkfin Soup Noodle with Crab

Frankly speaking, I never heard of this dish before I went to Penang. It doesn’t appear on any travel guides, but damn if this isn’t the best thing I ate on the entire trip. A thick broth base with a small amount of shark fin and crab to top it off, its pretty fricking amazing.

Recommended Locations

Sharkfin Noodles Soup
86 Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursquare

penang_fish_ballsStreetside Curry Fish Balls

Simple fish balls, but fried and boiled in hot curry broth. The spiciness hits you in all the right places, starting with the back of your tongue and ending up with a nice sizzle in the pit of your stomach. If you are familiar with Hong Kong style curry fish balls, you will feel right at home with these. For some inexplicable reason, these fish balls taste better when you are chilling on the side of the road.

Recommended Location

Mr. Fat Lok Lok 
Kimberley Street Hawker Stalls – Lebuh Kimberley10100 George TownPulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursquare

penang_airitam_asamlaksaAsam Laksa

If there is one dish that screams Penang, this would be it. Fishy, sour and spicy. All the goodness of Penang food rolled into one satisfying noodle soup. There is nothing more I can say about Asam Laksa that hasn’t already been said. Read our review here.

Air Itam Asam Laksa
Air Itam Market (Jalan Pasar), 11500 Air Itam, Penang, Malaysia
Foursquare

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Nasi Kandar

While traditional nasi kandar can be eaten at all times of the day and is usually piled high with heaps of vegetables, meats and other deliciousness. Our fatigued body/stomach could only take in so much food before it began screaming for mercy. However, who can resist fried chicken and rice first thing in the morning. We sure as hell can’t. Rich sauces are vigorously massaged into the meat of the chicken through prolong periods of marination, creating a flavorful explosion of tangy, sweet and spicy sauces that go oh-so-well with rice. You won’t regret it.

Recommended Locations

Restoran Kassim Mustafa
12 Lebuh Chulia, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursquare

Nasi Kandar Line Clear
Jalan Penang, 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursquare

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Nasi Goreng

Nasi goreng is a native Indonesian dish that made its way all around Southeast Asia and found a home in the palettes of Penang. Essentially, it is fried rice cooked with tamarind, chili and sweet soy sauce. Compared to Chinese fried rice, nasi goreng is slightly sweeter and the composition of the rice is much bolder in flavor when compared to its Chinese counterparts

Recommended Locations

Abu Mamak
Jalan Dato Koyah, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Foursquare

Red Garden Food Paradise & Night Market
20 Lebuh Leith, 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursquare

Padang Brown Food Court
btwn Jln. Anson & Jln. Perak, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
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Claypot Frog Porridge

I have never been a huge fan of eating frog, much frog porridge. The surprising thing about this particular dish is the texture of the frog legs are so delicate and moist that I couldn’t tell that I was eating amphibian at all. The sauce is wonderful – so savory and rich. The whole dish goes so well over rice and I can proudly say, I am a frog meat convert.

Recommended Location

Red Garden Food Paradise & Night Market
20 Lebuh Leith, 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursquare

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Kam Heong Mantis Prawn Rice

The simplicity of this dish belies its hidden complexity of wondrous flavors. Kam heong is the signature style of Malaysian stir fry that combines Chinese, Indian and Malay cooking ingredients that can be applied to any type of proteins. With curry leaves, chilies, dried shrimp and soy bean paste as the foundation, the thick sauce ensures that you eat every last drop of the white rice that kam heong is served with. In addition, prawns are a staple of Malaysian food, so the pairing of the kam heong cooking style with prawns will leave a lasting impression in your stomach.

Recommended Location

Good Corner Kopitiam
Jalan Mas, 11600 Green Lane, Penang, Malaysia
Foursquare

Kimberley Street Hawker Stalls
Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursquare

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Mee(Curry Mee, Hokkien Mee, Prawn Mee etc)

Before I visited Singapore, Penang and Kuala Lumpur, I never knew how ubiquitous mee/noodles were in Malaysian cuisine. Every hawker stall, streetside vendor and restaurant in Penang serves some kind of mee. Whether its the famous curry mee with its coconut and sambal soup base or the prawn mee with its frightening large prawns, there is bound to be a bowl of mee that suits your palette. The problem now is… which one do you start with first?

Recommended Locations

Cecil St. Wet Market & Hawker Stalls
202 – 218, Lebuh Mcnair, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursquare

Chulia Street Night Hawker Stalls
Lebuh Chulia, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursquare

Sister’s Curry Mee
Jalan Paya Terubong, 11500 Air Itam, Penang, Malaysia
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Carlsberg Beer

The Malaysian beer of choice! My first taste of Carlsberg was in Kuala Lumpur in 2011, and since then, I’ve been craving it. For some inexplicable reason, Carlsberg just tastes better in Malaysia. Maybe its because I’m slogging through disgusting humidity or perhaps the water is fresher, but whatever it is, Carlsberg beer is synonymous with Malaysia.

Recommended Location

Everywhere!

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Wild Boar Over Rice

Not a dish that we can easily get out here in California, but that doesn’t mean my mind wasn’t blown the first time I tried this. Clean, firm, chunks of wild boar meat cooked in a rich broth and all slathered over a palette of rice. This is what winning the lottery probably tastes like.

Recommended Locations

Hwa Lam Coffee Shop
266 Lebuh Carnarvon, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursqure

Kimberley Street Hawker Stalls
Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Foursquare