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Penang’s Hawker Fare: Top 5 Dishes You Must Try In George Town

Updated Dec 14, 2015

Penang’s street food, called Hawker Food, is one of the draws to George Town. Stalls serve up tasty dishes with influences of Chinese, Indian, and Indonesian. Penang’s hawkers are regulated by the Hawker Association. Hawkers that own stalls can not hire foreigners to make their dishes. Doing this makes sure you are getting the most authentic food on the street. There are many hawker centers and dishes around Penang to try. Here are five dishes you must try when you’re in Penang.

Top 3 activities to book in Penang

Char Kway Teow

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This dish made with flat rice noodles that are cooked in a wok with prawns, clams, eggs, sprouts and soy sauce, looks close to Pad Thai. What makes this dish different is its rich garlic flavor that explodes in your mouth with each bite. Order the special with duck egg and it will come with mantis prawn mixed in with all the other delicious stuff. You can try Char Kway Teow at Ah Len Char Koay Teow Located on Jalan Dato Keramat and Jalan Singapura for 7.50 MYR – 13 MYR (1.75 USD - 3.00 USD) .

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang


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One can not go to Penang without getting Laksa. This most famous Peranakan dish starts with a fish broth base then loaded with vermicelli, onions, chili, and topped with a healthy portion of shrimp paste. The oldest and arguably the best place to get Laksa is at Kek Lok Si Temple. The owner created the recipe in 1955 and the stall is now manned by her son. He starts serving his dish at 10:00 AM and keeps serving until the dish runs out which is usually by early evening. This crowded place is worth the trip. Make sure you get your bowl before you see the temple.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang

Nasi Kandar

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This buffet of rice served with different curries, meat, and veggies is an explosion of spices in your mouth. Line Clear is where many of the locals go, and they’re open 24 hours a day. Always a line, the fast moving staff start your plate with rice then add your choice of side dishes and top everything off by spooning different curry sauces on top. Chicken is the cheapest, but there is also a selection of large prawns or fish head for a higher price.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang


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There is usually a line 15-20 minutes long, wrapping around the corner line to get this exotic treat. The bowl starts with shaved ice then topped with red beans, chendol (the green chewy ‘noodles’ made from rice flour and pandan extract), and finished with coconut milk. It tastes like a cold melted milkshake. The most famous place to get this tasty treat is at ‘Penang Road Famous Teochew Chedul’ located on Jalan Penang & Lebuh Keng Kwee between 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM. The cost is 3.50 MYR (0.80 USD).

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang

Mee Goreng

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This Malay dish is made with a thick and spicy tomato gravy filled with stewed squid, tofu, potato, bean sprouts, and chives. The noodles are fried in a wok with the gravy, which turns them a deep red. The noodles are served on a plate topped with lettuce and a slice of lime. There are five kinds you can order, including vegetarian, but the original is served with squid. Found on Bangkok Lane a little outside of downtown, this stall is a great place to go for lunch as they are open from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Penang and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Penang

Leave stuffed!

George Town known for their food does not disappoint! With tasty treats ranging from 3 MYR to 7 MYR (0.68 USD - 1.59 USD), you are sure to stuff yourself silly ordering these dishes. The best hawker stalls can be found at New Lane, Kimberly Street and Gurney Drive. Head to each and decide for yourself which hawker food you like best.

This article was originally published on Nov 16, 2015

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Robyn is a full-time traveler and photographer. She quit her job and sold her belongings to travel around the world. She has been on the road since March 2015 traveling to different countries,...Read more

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