Malaysia's Street Food Capital

George Town

Exploring Penang usually involves whetting your appetite thanks to the many hawkers sprinkled throughout the city! Informally, the island town is deemed as “Malaysia’s Street Food Capital;” so, bring an empty stomach and a hunger for adventure! Finding a hole-in-the-wall that will sate your tastebuds is as easy as taking a walk down any street. We’ll save you time—these are the island’s ultimate must-eats!

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Updated a year ago

Pasar Air Itam Laksa

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George Town, Malaysia • Recommendation • 

Family-owned Pasar Air Itam Laksa has been stewing up the city’s favorite dish for over 60 years! Two generations later, their sought-after Penang Asam Laksa recipe is only getting better. Sip on tart stock flavored by tamarind juice, chili, and lemongrass. Heap your spoon with shredded mackerel, fresh vegetables, and chewy noodles. Sour, spicy, and savory—this Asam Laksa is an addictive blend of flavors that will have you calling for your second bowl in a heartbeat!

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Siam Road Char Koay Teow

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George Town, Malaysia • Recommendation • 

Much to the local community’s delight, Siam Road Char Koay Teow (a famous push cart stall) finally opened up a permanent location! Owner Mr. Tan Chooi Hong, and his son, are firing up the wok once more after a short hiatus. Prepare for an hour-long wait during peak hours because the love for their Char Koay Teow is stronger than ever! Prawns, cockles, Chinese sausages, bean sprouts and flat rice noodles dance together on the well-used skillet. Savor the wok hei (“breath of the wok”), the smoky flavor, and enticing aroma that mark Mr. Hong’s exceptional stir-fry!

  • 82 Jalan Siam, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

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Pulau Tikus Hawker Centre

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George Town, Malaysia • Recommendation • 

Pulau Tikus Hawker Centre comes to life at night after the Market hubbub has died down. Various stalls overflow with tempting scents from bubbling soups and piping hot pans. Have a fun D.I.Y. dinner at the lok lok (“dip-dip”) stall! Feast with friends and take turns dipping your choice of meat (or vegetables) into the boiling hot pot. There are around 30 kinds of skewers and five different sauces to choose from—with a load of combinations to test out. Remember: no double dipping!

  • Jalan Burma, Pulau Tikus, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

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OO White Coffee Cafe

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George Town, Malaysia • Recommendation • 

OO White Coffee Cafe’s tenant stalls are veterans to Penang’s street food game. Ms. Loo is known to whip up a satisfying bowl of Beef Noodle Soup, whereas Mr. Gan’s Oh Chien (oyster omelette) is fried to perfection! They’ve moved several locations to arrive here, bringing along a loyal stream of diners. Order both the soup and the omelette for a simple blowout of local flavors. The Oh Chien, especially, is one of the city’s staple dishes. Chives complement the briny oysters. Once fried, the light batter becomes crispy while the mollusc remains succulent and juicy. Spike with chili or garlic sauce to turn up the spice!

  • 262-264 Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

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Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul

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George Town, Malaysia • Recommendation • 

After a hot day of wandering the city, cool down with an iced treat at Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul! They’ve been serving up Cendol (or Chendul), Malaysia’s quintessential dessert, since 1936! The delectable dessert is comprised of green pandan-flavored jelly, sweetened red beans, and palm sugar syrup. Mix with the pool of shaved ice and coconut milk for a chilly soup! The family-owned business has grown to multiple locations around the country, but they still maintain their original pushcart location on Penang Road. Take your order from the stall to a table in their little hole-in-the-wall for a proper sit down!

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Kek Seng

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George Town, Malaysia • Recommendation • 

Add a tropical twist to your dessert at Kek Seng! Durian (a.k.a “The King of Fruits”) takes ice cream form on their Ais Kachang (“iced beans”). Two scoops join pudding, grass jelly, red beans, and corn on a bed of milky crushed ice. The entire bowl is good enough for two people, though this is one dessert you’ll want all to yourself! Indulge in an extra order of durian ice cream for an creamy treat. Careful not to scarf down everything too quickly, though—you might get a brain freeze!

  • 382-384 Jalan Penang, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

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Hock Seng Rojak

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George Town, Malaysia • Recommendation • 

A long queue by the roadside points to the popular street stall of Hock Seng Rojak on Gat Lebuh Cecil. Brave the wait and spear a mouthful of Rojak (fruit and vegetable salad)! Savor a medley of flavors and textures: sweet gooey dressing, crisp fresh fruits, and crunchy toppings! These vendors are also known to concoct an ultra thick prawn paste. They chop up fruit and cucumber right on the spot; then, sprinkle peanuts, dried shrimp, and dried cuttlefish powder for extra relish.

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Apom Guan

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George Town, Malaysia • Recommendation • 

Right across a primary school on Jalan Burma, Apom Guan preps the perfect after-school snacks! Their metal griddle sizzles non-stop, cooking up thin crepes called Apom Manis. Their version is a bit more on the crispy side compared to other apom manis joints. Bite into a pleasant surprise: banana and sweet corn filling! Their Apom Manis is best enjoyed hot so enjoy it on-the-spot!

  • 144 Jalan Burma, George Town, Penang, Malaysia

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Sister Curry Mee

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George Town, Malaysia • Recommendation • 

Homemade sambal (chili paste) is the special touch Sister Curry Mee uses to elevate their bowls of noodle soup! Curry Mee is a robust dish comprised of chewy noodles and spicy curry soup. The two sisters who own the eatery skimp on the coconut milk to highlight the chili paste they specially make. Spice-lovers, spoon in more of the sambal for an even greater kick and feel that satisfying burn!

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About Malaysia

A juncture of different Asian cultures, Malaysia is one of the most diverse countries in the world.

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