Foodie Heaven : The Best Food In Penang And Where To Find Them

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I was born in Penang and I am proud to say that Penang has the best food in the world. With its rich tapestry of flavours and culinary heritage, Penang rightfully earns the title of a Foodie Heaven.

Whether it’s the iconic street food stalls or the hidden gems tucked away in alleyways, you can find the best food in Penang even in a small alley in a kampung. Penang’s culinary landscape never fails to impress.

Even when I’m traveling or working outside of Penang, the topic of food inevitably arises as soon as people learn of my hometown. I always got the question like, ” What’s the best Penang food?” or  ” What’s the must eat in Penang?” It’s not uncommon for them to eagerly seek recommendations for must-try dishes in Penang.

From mouthwatering Char Kway Teow to aromatic Nasi Kandar, Penang offers a myriad of flavours that tantalise the taste buds. In this post, I am going to share the must-eat in Penang and where to find the gem!

Char Kway Teow

I have to start with my personal top 1 favourite Penang food because I just can’t wait to share!

Char Kway Teow is Penang’s iconic dish. You might have tasted it at elsewhere and think it is just ok, but believe me, the Char Kway Teow in Penang would definitely change your mind.

This stir-fried flat rice noodle dish is cooked over high heat with soy sauce, prawns, cockles, eggs, bean sprouts, and chives, resulting in a perfect balance of sweet, savoury, and smoky flavours.

You can find Char Kway Teow in almost every hawker centre or kopitiam in Penang. 

Where to find the best Char Kway Teow in Penang? 

The famous ones are Siam Road Char Kway Teow and Ah Leng Char Kway Teow. I can’t deny that they serve as one of the best in Penang. But due to its popularity, it always has long queue. So usually I would recommend my friends to Duck egg Char Kway Teow in Bukit Mertajam. This one is also famous among the locals. Besides, I would also bring my friends to Tiger Char Kway Teow, especially that one at the Ping Hooi Coffee Shop.

Hokkien Mee

In Penang, what is commonly referred to as “Hokkien Mee” is often known in other states as “Penang Prawn Mee”.

This hearty soup comprises thick yellow noodles and rice vermicelli cooked in a prawn and pork broth, garnished with prawns, slices of pork, hard-boiled eggs, and fragrant fried shallots.

Hokkien mee is also one of Penangite’s favourite breakfast options. You will often find Hokkien Mee in morning market and kopitiam. 

Where to find the best Hokkien Mee in Penang?

My favourite go-to authentic Hokkien Mee place in Penang is the 888 Hokkien Mee. Although many recommends the Green House Hokkien Mee, but my favourite one is still 888 Hokkien Mee.

Penang Assam Laksa

Penang Assam Laksa is like a savoury dessert to every main dish. 

I always ordered assam laksa after I finish a Char Kway Teow. It is a savoury fish-based noodle soup that is a quintessential Penang dish.

The broth is made from mackerel and tamarind, giving it a distinctive sour flavor. It’s served with rice noodles, cucumber, pineapple, onions, mint leaves, and a generous dollop of shrimp paste, creating a harmonious explosion of flavours.

Where to find the best Assam Laksa in Penang?

The best assam laksa in Penang is no doubt the popular one at Penang Air Atam. However, they are temporarily closed until further notice. Another good one can be found at Wan Dao Tou assam laksa in a kopitiam near Penang Hill and they just received Michelin Star guide!

Penang Rojak

Penang Rojak may not be the most visually appealing dish at first glance, but its taste is truly irresistible. Once you’ve had a bite, you’ll find yourself craving more.

It combines a variety of ingredients such as cucumber, jicama, pineapple, mango, tofu, and crispy fritters, all tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce made from palm sugar, lime juice, and chili.Topped with crushed peanuts and sesame seeds, Penang Rojak is a delightful blend of textures and flavors.

The essence of a good Penang rojak lies in its sauce. Every stall selling Penang rojak serves more or less the same ingredient but what differentiate them is the sauce. 

Where to find the best Penang rojak?

My vote goes to the rojak stall at Joo Hooi Cafe. Another famous one is the one in mainland Bukit Mertajam which has an interesting name call Rojak Orang Hitam Putih.


Apom Balik

It might not be familiar to most of the Malaysian, but Apom Balik is my favourite childhood snack!

Apom is a delightful snack made from rice flour and coconut milk, cooked to crispy perfection and often served with sweet or savoury toppings. It is indeed a favourite among locals and visitors alike. This traditional pancake-like treat is a must-try for anyone exploring Penang’s vibrant street food scene and I always recommended my friends to try.

Where to find the best Apom Balik in Penang?

I can say almost any stall selling Apom balik in Penang is worth a try! If I were to recommend, I would recommend Apong Guan which is at the road side of Burma Road. You have to stop by the busy road and buy from the stall. If you prefer the crispy version of Apom, the best one would be Aki Pancake at Super Tanker food court. They have a lot of special flavour you can try besides the traditional Apom.


Passembur, is also known as Indian Rojak. It is like a salad consisting of various shredded vegetables, tofu, prawn fritters, and slices of hard-boiled eggs, all drizzled with a sweet and spicy nut sauce. 

This crunchy and flavourful dish is also one of Penang’s signature dishes. You can choose the ingredient and they will cut them into pieces and serve with their secret sauce on it. 

Where to find the best Passembur in Penang?

There are several places in Penang serving good Passembur. One I would like to recommend is the ones in Gurney Drive. I know Gurney Drive is such a touristy place but they do serve good passembur there. Another one is call Kareem Passembur which is located in Georgetown. The stall has been around since 1945 and it serves one of the best passembur on the island.

Nasi Kandar

Originating from Penang, Nasi Kandar is a Insian-Muslim dish. This dish features steamed rice served with an assortment of curries, meats, and vegetables.

The aromatic and flavourful Nasi Kandar made it a local favourite for lunch, dinner and even supper! There are several famous place selling Nasi Kandar in Penang and you will always see a long queue in front of these places. But I can tell you, it is worth the wait.

Where to find the best Nasi Kandar in Penang?

Hameediyah is one of the most popular Nasi Kandar in Penang and they now have different outlets across Malaysia. So if you would like to try the local favourites, go to Nasi Kandar Beratur, Line Clear Nasi Kandar , Nasi Kandar Beratoq in Kampung Benggali.


Conclude your culinary adventure with a sweet treat – Cendol, a traditional dessert loved by locals and tourists alike. This refreshing concoction consists of pandan-flavored rice flour jelly served with shaved ice, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, and red beans.

Although Cendol is not a local dish, but Penang Cendol has gained its name as one of the best Cendol in the world and even got international media coverage.

Where to find the best Cendol in Penang?

The go-to cendol spot in Penang has to be the Penang Road famous cendol. When you pass by the main road, you will see a long queue in front of a stall in an alley and that is where the cendol stall located.

And that’s it! These delicacies are Penang’s gem. From the humble street stalls to the bustling hawker centers, every corner of Penang is adorned with gastronomic treasures waiting to be explored. 

The list of best foods in Penang isn’t limited to those mentioned here; you’ll undoubtedly stumble upon exceptional culinary gems during your food hunt. Penang’s culinary scene never fails to delight. If you are looking for Penang food to savour on, this list would be enough for you to try out in a day trip or two.

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