13 Penang Hawker Food and Nonya Restaurants that You MUST TRY!

A trip to Penang is never complete without trying out all the hawker food that Penang has to offer. In this post, we’ll answer the perennial question of “What to eat in Penang?” by covering all the great foods that we’ve tried during our last trip to Penang. Feel free to add on to this list in the comments section at the end of the post!

What to eat in Penang Malaysia

1. Penang Char Kway Teow

 Penang Char Kway Teow
Penang Char Kway Teow

 Ah Leng Char Koay Teow
Ah Leng Char Koay Teow

 Ah Leng Char Koay Teow at Jalan Dato Keramat
Ah Leng Char Koay Teow at Jalan Dato Keramat

 Special Ah Leng Char Koay Teow @ 11.50RM with additional toppings
Special Ah Leng Char Koay Teow @ 11.50RM with additional toppings

Whenever one visits Penang, Penang Char Kway Teow will be one of the MUST TRY hawker foods. As with the kway teow from Ipoh, Penang kway teow also have a “taong” texture (chewy/bouncy feel) and because of this fame, Penang char kway teow can be found everywhere. Our favorite? Ah Leng’s Char Koay Teow!

Famous Ah Leng Char Koay Teow
(亚龙炒果条)
Address : Jalan Dato Keramat, Kampung Makam, 10150 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

2. Penang Laksa aka Assam Laksa

 Penang Laksa aka Assam Laksa
Penang Laksa aka Assam Laksa

In Penang, when you talk about “Penang Laksa“, it usually refers to the Assam Laksa. Unlike the usual laksa that we find in Singapore which has a rich coconut-based gravy, the laksa in Penang has a fish-based gravy which has a sour and appetising taste to it. The version that we tried had a rich fish-based broth and you could taste the shredded fish and crunchy vegetable texture with every mouthful. Although it is a laksa, it actually tastes healthy!

3. Wanton Mee

 New World Park Hawker Centre
New World Park Hawker Centre

 Penang Wanton Mee
Penang Wanton Mee (4RM)

At New World Park Hawker Centre, you can find an amalgamation of Penang hawker foods. Here, we tried the Penang wanton mee and were thoroughly satisfied. There were loads of ingredients including generous amounts of char siew and quite a number of wantons. The highlight for us was the fragrant sauce for the noodles. Shiok!

4. Penang Curry Mee

 Penang Curry Mee (4RM)
Penang Curry Mee (4RM)

Still at New World Park Hawker Centre, we tried the famous Penang Curry Mee. This version we had from the old uncle’s stall (the other is owned by a middle-aged uncle) was full of ingredients including cuttlefish, cockles, fish cake and vegetables. Mix in the chili and you’d have an amazing bowl of Penang Curry Mee! Now we understand why Singaporeans bring home instant curry mee from Penang as well. Sedap!

New World Park Hawker Centre
(新世界)
Address : No. 1, Jalan Burma, 10350, George Town, Pulau Pinang, 10350, Malaysia

5. Penang Fried Oyster (Orh Lua)

 Red Garden Food Paradise
Red Garden Food Paradise

 Penang hawker food @ Red Garden Food Paradise
Penang hawker food @ Red Garden Food Paradise

 Penang Fried Oyster
Penang Fried Oyster (RM10)

You can also find a host of Penang hawker food at the Red Garden Food Paradise. Here, we tried the Penang Fried Oyster (Orh Lua) for RM10. The oysters from this stall at Red Garden Food Paradise was huge and succulent! The taste is similar to the Singaporean style. The only difference is that the chili is not as tangy as the Singaporean version.

6. Penang Hokkien Mee aka Penang Prawn Noodles

 Penang Hokkien Mee aka Penang Prawn Noodles
Penang Hokkien Mee aka Penang Prawn Noodles (RM5)

Still at Red Garden Food Paradise, we tried the Penang Hokkien Mee as well. In Singapore, Hokkien Mee can refer to the fried version (with sotong) or the soup prawn noodles. But in Penang, if you refer to Hokkien Mee (Penang Hokkien Mee), it refers only to the soup prawn noodles. This version we tried has the thick prawn and pork taste to the broth which we enjoyed. Ingredients could have been more though. But for 5RM, we can’t ask for too much eh?

Red Garden Food Paradise
(红园)
Address : 20 Lebuh Leith, 10000 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

7. Penang Char Hor Fun

 Asian Kitchen @ Gurney Paragon's Food Court
Asian Kitchen @ Gurney Paragon’s Food Court

Penang Char Hor Fun
Penang Char Hor Fun (RM 7.90)

As it was raining heavily while we were at Gurney Paragon, we were not able to visit the famous Gurney Drive Hawker Centre (which we had seen and heard bad reviews of). Hence, we decided to pop by the food court at Gurney Paragon to see what’s in store for us there. To our surprise, we chanced upon the Asian Kitchen and is famous for its Penang Char Hor Fun. While the chef was cooking, we noticed that every step was prepared from scratch. The hor fun was originally white in colour (unlike the pre-fried ones these days) and the chef fried it to obtain the charred brown texture before placing it aside to prepare the gravy. The ingredients were subsequently fried, broth thickened (again the thickening agent was prepared on the spot) before switching off the gas and adding the egg on the last step. The egg was “spread” around in the heated broth to obtain the beautiful texture as seen in the picture. Needless to say, it was FANTASTIC! Strongly recommended for your trip to Penang!

Asian Kitchen @ Gurney Paragon Food Court (Level 5)
Address : 163 C & D, Persiaran Gurney, George Town, Penang

8. Local Delights at Penang Bowl

 Ordering Counter and Kitchen @ Penang Bowl
Ordering Counter and Kitchen @ Penang Bowl

 Mee Sua Tau Penang Bowl
Mee Sua Tau Penang Bowl

 Nonya Popiah Penang Bowl
Nonya Popiah Penang Bowl

While we were staying at the E&O Hotel in Penang, we decided to check out what else we can eat in the vicinity (yes, we’re voracious eaters) and we chanced upon this eatery at Penang Bowl (right next to E&O). The Mee Sua Tau and Nonya Popiah are the house specialties and we especially liked the Mee Sua Tau. Fragrant gravy with the mee sua absorbing the taste. Topped with crispy garlic bits…yum!

Penang Bowl
Address : 38-B Leboh Farquhar, 10200, Penang, Pulau Pinang, 10200, Malaysia

9. Prosperous Dim Sum

 Breakfast crowd at Prosperous Dim Sum
Breakfast crowd at Prosperous Dim Sum

While walking along Lorong Abu Siti, we saw this HUGELY popular dim sum joint – Prosperous Dim Sum. There were tables and chairs all over the restaurant, both inside and outside. As we got closer, we saw that the prices were really reasonable. But due to the crowd, we did not try it this time round. If you’ve tried the dim sum here, let us know how it was in the comments section below.

Prosperous Dim Sum
(福星茶楼)
Address : 83 Lorong Abu Siti, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

10. Penang Road Teochew Chendul

 Penang Road Teochew Chendul
Penang Road Teochew Chendul

The Penang Road Teochew Chendul was AWESOME! At RM2.60, you’ll get a huge bowl of chendul that has such a rich milky taste. A good contrast to the gula melaka version of chendol in Malacca. We actually prefer this version in Penang. Try it and you’ll understand why…

11. The Little Nonya Cuisine (小娘惹)

 The Little Nonya Cuisine (小娘惹) Plaza Gurney
The Little Nonya Cuisine (小娘惹) Plaza Gurney

 Crowd at The Little Nonya Cuisine
Crowd at The Little Nonya Cuisine

 Nonya Curry Chicken Rice RM8.80 (小娘惹)
Nonya Curry Chicken Rice RM8.80 (小娘惹)

 Lo Bak RM7 at The Little Nonya Cuisine
Lo Bak RM7 at The Little Nonya Cuisine

 Deep fried otak beancurd RM9 (The Little Nonya Cuisine @ Gurney Plaza)
Deep fried otak beancurd RM9 (The Little Nonya Cuisine @ Gurney Plaza)

Nonya cuisine is also a MUST TRY when you visit Penang. This time, we visit The Little Nonya Cuisine (小娘惹) at the basement of Plaza Gurney. All of the dishes above were DELICIOUS! In particular, we loved the curry chicken which was thick and frangrant. Perfect with rice. The deep fried take on otak was also amazing. Slight crisp on the outside but tender otak on the inside. The otak is also a perfect dish with plain fragrant rice. We could eat this all day long!

The Little Nonya Cuisine @ Plaza Gurney
小娘惹
Address : Plaza Gurney, 170-06-01, Gurney Dr, 10250 Georgetown, Malaysia

12. Mama’s Nonya Cuisine

Mama's Nonya Cuisine
Mama’s Nonya Cuisine

Curry Kapitan, Tau Yew Bak, Jiu Hu Char, Pig Stomach Soup, Bubur Cha Cha from Mama's Nonya Cuisine
Curry Kapitan, Tau Yew Bak, Jiu Hu Char, Pig Stomach Soup, Bubur Cha Cha from Mama’s Nonya Cuisine

While in Penang, Mama’s Nonya Cuisine has got to be the one nonya restaurant that you have to try. We stayed at 3 hotels and all 3 concierges recommended eating here. It was undeniably good! We tried the Curry Kapitan (RM18), Tau Yew Bak (RM20), Jiu Hu Char (cuttle fish with vegetables – RM12), Pig Stomach Soup (RM22) and Bubur Cha Cha (RM4) and to be honest all of it were good! Seriously! If we were to recommend, the tau yew bak (braised pork) is a must-have. The braised pork combined with the spices went really well with rice. In fact, we had 2 HUGE portions of rice throughout the meal! Remember to save some space for the bubur cha cha. Certainly one of the best we’ve had in a long long time!

Mama’s Nonya Cuisine
Address : Lorong Abu Siti, Georgetown, 10400 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

13. Penang Bakeries

 photo 023gheehiangatmacallisterroad_zps8ed194a5.jpg
Ghee Hiang at Macallister Road Penang

 photo 024crowdedshopQuitecheap_zps97c84197.jpg
Inside Ghee Hiang

There are many traditional bakeries in Penang. Among them, the famous ones are Ghee Hiang, Kim Heang and Seng Seng Heang. Remember to bring some back for your loved ones when you return from Penang!

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Penang Hawker Food
Penang Hawker Food

We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the Penang Hawker Food and Nonya Restaurants that you must try when you visit Penang! Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

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