Going to Penang is incomplete without trying this island’s rich diversity of foods. Penang is known as food heaven to the locals and foreigners! The famous travel vlogger Drew Binsky did a video of Penang’s food a while back as well!. After interviewing a few Penangites and take a short tour ourselves, Kokonutlist concluded this top 20 (in random order) must try food in Penang for foodie!. The pictures itself will make you salivating oredi!
Top 20 Makan Place in Penang
1. Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
Started in 1936 and located in 27 & 29 Lebuh Keng Kwee, Georgetown, UNESCO World Heritage area, it is the most yummeh chendul or cendol (modern writing) in Penang!. The soft shaved iced with pandan flavor cendol noodle and gula melaka, hot damn or should we say cold damn! Its open daily from 10 AM to 7 PM and the queue can be quite long during peak season especially school holidays. There are seats inside if you are lucky enough to find one! But we enjoyed it while standing, no problem at all!
2. Nasi Kandar Deen
The restaurant started in 1983, located in 598-D & E, Jalan Jelutong, Georgetown and its open 22 hours a day. During peak hours, the queue can be too long but its worth it!. Their famous tagline is “Use Your Hand Instead of Spoon and Fork for Taste a Real NASI KANDAR”. So wash that hands of yours and started diggin in that spice-cious curry!
3. Nasi Kandar Kampong Melayu
Operated in Kg. Melayu, Air Itam since 1970 by husband and wife for 2 generations, they have now more than 10 workers. It is one of the freakin delicious chicken curries we ever tasted in the history of mankind! It opens from 6.30AM to 1 PM in the Kampung Melayu flat. The restaurant has another branch operating in the afternoon until night in Kompleks Penjaja MBPP Air Itam.
4. Nasi Tomato Batu Lanchang
Another rice shop! yeay!. The stall located in Flat Taman Seri Damai, right opposite Batu Lanchang wet market, It is the best Nasi Tomato we ever had in our life! The flavor of the rice and the varieties of ‘gulai’ , charcoal-fried fish, chicken, well-cooked vegetables, all these will make you salivating so bad that you need a towel!. The stall opens for supper daily from 10 PM onwards and yes the queue can be quite long.
5. Burger Bakar Penang (Street Grill Burger)
This newly viral-ed burger stall is located in 126, Jalan Sungai Pinang. Penang foodie covered this stall a while back and the video has reached 2 million views! how bout that. The patties are homemade, marinated by the chef and grilled on the street right in front of you and tops with lots of mozzarella cheese, Oh Em Gee! It opens daily from 6.30PM till midnight. And of course, expect a long queue as nothing good comes easy!
6. The Lengkuas Cafe
The restaurant serves classic Penang-origin delicacy such as Nasi Kacang, Laksa, Roti Benggali and Serabai. The taste is so authentic that you feel like you are in the 50s. With homemade paste made by the owners own unique recipe, the aroma of the food is mouthwatering!. Located in Argyll Road in UNESCO heritage site, The Lengkuas Cafe open from 11 AM till 10 PM.
7. Wan Zai Bawal Goreng
Located in Permatang Tok Kandu, Permatang Pauh in mainland Penang, it is one of the most famous Bawal Goreng among Penangites now. The bawal fish is fried to perfection, crunchy and juicy at the same time, served with white rice, yummeh fish curry, Malaysian favorite belacan (shrimp paste), sambal kicap (chili with soy sauce) and ulam!. With 2 more outlets in Bandar Perda and Sungai Dua, the demand for Nasi Bawal Goreng is getting more and more! So you gotta make your way there asap!. It opens daily at 12 PM to 2 AM.
8. Nasi Kandar Beratur
Would you look at that masak merah chicken calling you!. Also known as Liyaqat Ali, it is hands down, one of the most famous Nasi Kandar in Penang. It is named beratur for the obvious reason, the super long queue in the restaurant. The spices for their curries are measured and mixed personally by them using the same recipe since 1943. And this is what makes it super special and tasty!. It opens at 10 PM onwards daily. The location is at 98 Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, next to the mosque itself.
9. Nasi Kandar Hameediyah
Awarded with Best South Indian Food’s In Malaysia Over 100 Year’s and titled the oldest Nasi Kandar in Malaysia, Hameediyah is located right in the heart of UNESCO world heritage site, Campbell Street. Established in 1907, it is run by four brothers. As one of Penang’s oldest surviving restaurant, their food is original with several specialties such as Biryani, Murtabak, and Tandoori.
Because we want you to hate us, we put another picture of the beef murtabak so that you need a tissue to wipe your mouth, whoops!. The environment is air-conditioned and clean with proper seats inside the restaurant. There are 2 outlets along the street, you can take your food at one place and sit at the other, no problems!.
10. Penang Famous Laksa Power
Also known as Laksa Power Teluk Bahang, it is located in front of Penang Tropical Spice Garden. It is not as famous as Laksa Janggus, but it is amazingly better and good with birds eye chili, bunga kantan, and otak udang!, hence the name ‘power’. The locals love this laksa and the owner have been selling this Penang classic dish for years. Now all of you know about it! so, serbu!. The taste of fish in the gravy, oh la la!. It is open daily mostly in the afternoon.
11. Didilla Laksa Kampung Terang
It is one of the famous and trendy Laksa for Penangites and foreigners that comes to this food-heaven state. Located in Jalan Pulau Betong, Balik Pulau, the spicy fish gravy with birds eye chili is what its known for. Opens from 2 PM till 7 PM Tuesday to Sunday, you will meet lots and lots of locals eating here!. Pair it with some ais kacang, melted!!
12. Sister’s Char Kway Teow
A dry Chinese style Char Kway Teow or Koay Teow is a flat rice noodle stir-fried with soy sauce, dark soy sauce, chili paste, garlic, bean sprouts, cockles, prawns, and eggs, okay swallow that saliva oredi!. There is a halal and non-halal version of it all around Penang! But the best for us is Sister’s Char Koay Teow! Located at 185, Jalan Macalister, Georgetown. It was so good that we end up licking the chopstick…after the 2nd round, walaoweyh!. The stalls open 8.30AM to 4 PM daily.
13. G.P Soon Rojak
Located at stall no 39 Gurney Drive Hawker center, Persiaran Gurney where you can find lots and lots of food. Rojak Buah G.P Soon has been operating for years and never disappoint us. The thick rojak sauce is to die for with cucumbers, pineapples, mangoes, papayas, and other fruits, phew. There are few rojak places here, but still, our favorite is this King of Rojak!. It opens Friday to Wednesday from 9 PM to 2 AM.
14. Astaka Taman Tun Sardon
Lemuni is a herb rice, very popular in the northern peninsular, especially in Penang. It is almost the same as nasi lemak but grey in color. Located in Astaka Taman Tun Sardon, Gelugor, you can find the best Nasi Lemuni here for breakfast. Heck, the whole astaka is a trendy breakfast place for Penangites, so be ready for morning ‘zombies’ hunting for food!. Serabai is a Penang delicacy (like a pancake dessert) served with kaya, this astaka is also very famous for it, so you should not miss this one!. The operating hour is from 6.30AM to 10.30AM from Tuesday to Sunday.
15. Kapitan Nasi Kandar
Kapitan Nasi Kandar is one of the best Nasi Kandar places in town, with the motto “HUGE NAME WITH HUGE FLAVOR”. For us, they serve the best Naan Tandoori ever!. The tender chicken with soft naan will make you float away in foodie dream. Located in No. 93, Chulia Street, Georgetown, it is easily accessible within the UNESCO heritage site. On top of the Tandoori, do try their fresh-heated cow milk and almond milk!
16. Assam Laksa Air Itam
This stall is hugely popular for its authentic assam laksa. Laksa is one of the few first dishes that put Penang on the foodie map. This laksa stall is one of the oldest and still serve the best laksa in Penang! Aromatic, spicy and sour as the locals say it ‘Assam Laksa like no other’. Located at Pasar Awam Air Itam, Jalan Pasar, the recipe had been handed down for three generations and it is still located at the same place, how authentic is that?! It opens daily from 10.30AM to 7 PM and the queue can be long on weekend and peak holiday season.
17. Mee Kuah Ketam Pak Man
Mee Kuah is a noodle served with gravy, a nice, hearty, peppery gravy. The specialties of Pak Man Mee Kuah Ketam is, of course, the Ketam or crab. Cooked together, the gravy blended well with the crustacean sweetness, oh dear god!. It is mixed together with fried beancurd or taukua as the locals call it, potatoes, prawns and others. It is also famous for its Pasembur, mmhmm gotta feed that tummy!. Located near the hiker’s spot of Cherok Tokun, Bukit Mertajam, the restaurant is situated in the junction between Jalan Kolam and Jalan Kulim. It opens daily except Fridays from 12.30PM to 7 PM
18. Mee Udang Aur Gading
located in Lot 2281, Jalan Pengkalan Machang, Titi Timbul, Sungai Dua, Butterworth, It is one of the best Mee Udang or Prawn Mee in Penang. It is a must visit for seafood lovers, for sure!. The thick gravy is amayyzing with the freshness of the prawn, u will not regret it. Do squeeze the lime a little to get the best flavor. All of this drenched the noodle with hard-boiled eggs on top, it is a perfection! Fuh! It opens daily from 12 PM to 12 AM.
19. Nasi Dalca TM Bagan
Also known as nasi ganja or nasi hujan panas, nasi dalca is, of course, originates from the Indian subcontinent. This restaurant serves the best Nasi Dalca in the whole state, for us!. It is not a well-known place for people out of Penang, but let us break it to you, the Nasi Dalca is to die for! The rice is cooked with dhal, potatoes, onions, and carrots. The dhal’s flavors are absorbed into the rice and voila, your Nasi Dalca is ready! Located in Kg. Benggali, Jalan Telekom, Butterworth, hence the name, it opens daily from 4 AM
20. Adam Char Koey Teow
The best Malay style Char Koay Teow in Penang, tip top. The sweetness of the gravy with the crustacean flavor blend in it, phew. The prawns are fresh and the tauge is crunchy, with the taste of eggs, hot damn!. You will want to tapau home another one!. Located in 115, Jalan Permatang Pauh, mainland Penang. Expect lots of locals at night! It opens from 4 PM to 4 AM, closed on Tuesday.
There you go, top 20 hand-picked by Kokonutlist. So next time you want to go to Penang, expect this food to be on your plates! Happy Makan!