Penang Street Food - Part 1

September 17, 2012 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Penang Street Food - Part 1
Pusat Penjaja Lebuh Cecil / Cecil Street Hawker Centre & Market
40 Lebuh Cecil / Cecil Street
George Town
Penang Island 10300

Padang Brown Food Court
Tapak No. 9 / Site No. 9
Jalan Johor / Johor Road
George Town
Penang Island 10400

Kafe Joo Hooi
Lebuh Keng Kwee / Keng Kwee Street
George Town
Penang Island 10100

Kafe New Dragon
606D Jalan Paya Terubong / Terubong Marsh Road
Air Itam / Ayer Itam / Black Water
Penang Island 11500

Restoran Keat Seng
10-J, MK. 16 Jalan Air Putih / Ayer Puteh Road / White Water Road
Air Itam / Ayer Itam / Black Water
Penang Island 11500


Penang Street Food is recognized as being among one of the best street food in the world. A mix of influences from Chinese, Malay and Indian communities, Penang Street Food has retained its traditional roots, while also making use of local Malaysia produce and products. Along with being in close proximity to Singapore, both countries share many similarities in their local cuisine. There are some slight differences with dishes served in Penang, Malaysia, and those served in Singapore.

While the same type of dishes are commonly found in almost every food centre, ask locals for the best examples of each dish.


Lok Lok is a variation on the typical steamboat / hot pot, with the difference being that all the food is served on skewers. The pot used for boiling always contains plain water, not flavoured or seasoned soups like in steamboat / hot pot. Also, dipping sauces are served to accompany the food, normally a mildly spicy peanut sauce and a spicy garlic chili sauce.

Lok Lok

The 5 Spice Roll stalls usually sell a mixture of fried items and fritters, with the highlight being the pork rolls and tofu. Unlike those in Singapore, there usually is only 1 type of 5 Spice Roll available, and the variety / range of ingredients is also smaller.

5 Spice Roll 01

5 Spice Roll 02

5 Spice Roll 03

5 Spice Roll 04

Apong is a type of Indian folded pancake sold as a snack in Penang. Several versions of fillings exist, such as egg and shredded coconut (Apong Balik), ground peanuts (Apong Jagung), plain (Apong Kosong), or stuffed with bananas (Apong Pisang).

Apong Kosong / Pancake Plain 01

Apong Kosong / Pancake Plain 02

Apong Pisang / Pancake Banana 01

Apong Pisang / Pancake Banana 02

Assam Laksa has a tangy, sour and spicy fish based soup / broth, without coconut milk. This iconic Penang dish usually contains sliced sour mangosteens, shredded mackerel fish, cucumber, onions, red chillies, pineapple, lettuce, mint leaves, torch ginger, lemongrass, galangal, and rice noodles. The soup / broth is garnished with a thick, sweet prawn paste (hae ko).

Assam Laksa 01

Assam Laksa 02

Assam Laksa 03

Assam Laksa 04

The barbecue / BBQ Stingray is grilled simply, and basted with a sweet sauce. Usually available at most barbecue seafood stalls, though prices change due to availability.

BBQ Stingray

Char Koay Kak is made with rice cakes, fried in a thick, black / dark soy sauce, together with eggs, bean sprouts, garlic, and chili. The rice cakes are usually cut into thick cubes. It is a savoury dish. Very similar to the Carrot Cake (Black) that is sold in Singapore, though the Penang, Malaysia version is less sweet, and it usually has a charred crust on the exterior of the rice cakes.

Char Koay Kak 01

Char Koay Kak 02

Char Koay Teow is made with flat, thin rice noodles, fried with chinese sausage (lup cheong), soy sauce, bean sprouts, eggs, chives, and prawns. This local Penang favourite is a famous dish throughout Malaysia, and worldwide. While similar to the Singapore style Char Kway Teow, the Penang version is usually more savoury instead of sweet, lighter in colour, and has thinner rice noodles.

Char Koay Teow 01

Char Koay Teow 02

Char Koay Teow 03

Char Koay Teow 04

Char Koay Teow 05

Char Koay Teow 06

Penang Char Tang Hoon is slightly different than Char Koay Teow, not only because of the noodles, but also because of the addition of sliced pork. This dish is not as common in Malaysia.

Char Tang Hoon

The Chee Cheong Fun are Chinese style sliced rice noodle rolls / sheets, with a simple dressing of sweet black shrimp paste sauce (hae ko).

Chee Cheong Fun

The Chendol or Chendul, is a sweet cold dessert that is very popular, and also a dish synonymous with Penang. This Malay style dessert is common in both Singapore and Malaysia. The Malaysian version usually has less ingredients, such as coconut milk, pandan / screwpine leaf jelly noodles, shaved ice, palm sugar / gula melaka, and red beans. It is often eaten along the streets.

Chendol / Chendul 01

Chendol / Chendul 02

Chendol / Chendul 03

Chendol / Chendul 04

The Coffee in Penang and Malaysia is similar to those in Singapore, and the same ordering lingo applies here as well.


In Penang, Congee is not commonly eaten unless the person is feeling unwell. This Chinese style dish is uncommon here, and mostly sold in restaurants.


Curry Mee is unique to Malaysia, and is a spicy, egg noodle and thin rice vermicelli noodle soup / broth, made from garlic, lemongrass, chili, shrimp paste, shallots, and garnished with mint leaves, dried tofu puffs / pockets, prawns, cuttlefish, hard boiled eggs, sliced chicken, bean sprouts, cockles, and pig's blood cakes. Eaten throughout the day, but usually preferred during breakfast.

Curry Mee 01

Curry Mee 02

Curry Mee 03

Curry Mee 04

Dessert Fritter are made with various fruits native to the region, which are then deep fried. Common fruits used include jackfruit, banana, and / or sweet potato.

Dessert Fritter

Fritter Butterfly Bun

The Dim Sum Pau Big Pork is larger than usual, and contains soup. Sold in most small Chinese street side stalls.

Dim Sum Pau Big Pork

Alcohol is more common here, such as this Drink Anglia Shandy. Most supermarkets will have this.

Penang Drink Anglia Shandy

This Drink Roselle Fruit Juice With Flower is made from the Roselle flower, which is a type of Hibiscus, and is edible. The flower is sweet and crunchy in texture. Rather uncommon, even in Penang, or Malaysia.

Drink Roselle Fruit Juice With Flower

The Drink Umbra Juice is made from the fruit known as Golden Apple, and is slightly sour in taste. Commonly found in most coffee shops, fruit stalls, or hawker centres.

Drink Umbra Juice 01

Drink Umbra Juice 02

Drink Umbra Juice 03

The Fried Oyster Omelette is very similar to the version found in Singapore, though it uses less sweet potato starch, and slightly more eggs.

Fried Oyster Omelette 01

Fried Oyster Omelette 02

Fried Oyster Omelette 03

Fried Sago Cake, is a unique Malaysian dish, and is both sweet and savoury. It can be eaten as a meal, or as a dessert. Not that common, as locals don't order this often.

Fried Sago Cake

The Ice Kachang in Penang is not as colourful as those in Singapore, but usually has more variety of fruits that you can add in.

Ice Kachang

Jawa Mee is a dish of Peranakan origins, and is a noodle soup / broth with a tomato base gravy. It usually includes egg noodles, bean sprouts, boiled potatoes, onions, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, tofu cubes, fish cakes, lime juice, and tomato sauce / ketchup.

Jawa Mee

The Koay Chap here is very different from the Singapore Kway Chap. Here, it's a dark soup / broth that consists mainly of large, flat rice noodles, egg, and duck meat. The Penang soup / broth has a more herbal, flavourful quality than the Singapore version.

Koay Chap

Koay Teow Th'ng is yet another Penang dish that is normally eaten when a person is feeling unwell. This dish can either be made with pork, or duck, in a tasty, chicken and pork soup / broth. It usually contains thin flat rice noodles, onions, fish balls, pork meat balls, fish cakes, bean sprouts, kai-lan / Chinese kale / Chinese broccoli, sliced chicken, sliced pork loin meat, and garlic. Clean flavours, totally delicious.

Koay Teow Th'ng 01

Koay Teow Th'ng 02

Koay Teow Th'ng 03

Koay Teow Th'ng 04

The Malay style Kueh Dadar dessert is commonly found here. A pandan / screwpine leaf and coconut milk pancake is rolled around a stuffing of grated dessicated coconut soaked in palm sugar / gula melaka, pandan / screwpine leaf, and butter.

Kueh Dadar

The Lam Mee is a Peranakan dish, commonly eaten during birthdays, hence it is also known as Birthday Mee. This dish is rather rare in Penang, and normally not sold in other parts of Malaysia. It's made with egg noodles / rice noodles, chives, shallots, prawns, pork ribs, bean sprouts, fish cake, and pink coloured shredded egg omelette. Lam Mee / Birthday Mee is meant to symbolize longevity.

Lam Mee / Birthday Mee

The Malaysian Peanut Pancake is sold all over Malaysia, and Penang, along the streets. Compared to the Indian Apong, this Chinese style pancake is only ever made with ground peanuts, and has a much thicker batter.

Malaysian Peanut Pancake 01

Malaysian Peanut Pancake 02

Pasembur is a type of Indian rojak salad made with various vegetables and fried fritters, covered in a sweet, mildly spicy peanut sauce. While the base ingredients may differ, it is usally garnished with sliced daikon radishes.

Pasembur 01

Pasembur 02

Pasembur 03

The Popiah in Penang comes doused in a seafood gravy or braised turnip gravy, and it quickly becomes soggy. This Malaysia version is in direct contrast to the Singapore version, which is served dry.

Popiah 01

Popiah 02

Popiah 03

The Roast Meats; Penang Char Siew Red Roast Pork Loin and Penang Sio Bak Roast Pork Belly, very popular amongst the Chinese population here.

Char Siew Red Roast Pork Loin

Sio Bak Roast Pork Belly

The Chinese style Rojak in Penang is very similar to the version in Singapore. I find the versions here more savoury than sweet, due to the stronger flavour of the sauce, which is made with thick, dark shrimp paste.

Rojak 01

Rojak 02

Rojak 03

Rojak 04

The Roti Canai in Penang / Malaysia, is very similar to the Roti Prata in Singapore. The difference lies in the preparation, the version here is usually less crisp, and more bread-like / doughy in texture. The Indian cooks usually squash / squeeze it several times before serving. You can choose to add other ingredients to a plain version, such as eggs, onions, or cheese.

Roti Canai 01

Roti Canai 02

Roti Canai 03

The Wanton Noodles here take after the Chinese / Hong Kong version, with a dark, savoury soy sauce gravy. This is in contrast to the Singapore style versions, which sometimes use chili or tomato sauce / ketchup.

Wanton Noodles 01

Wanton Noodles 02

Wanton Noodles 03

The Ak Thui Mee Sua or Duck Vermicelli Soup, consists of a duck thigh in a herbal-type soup / broth, with thin rice vermicelli noodles.

Ak Thui Mee Sua / Duck Vermicelli Soup


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