Here, I have complied my list of must-eats local food in Penang! Just looking at the pictures makes me drool… Ok enough talking, let the pictures do the talking!
AIR ITAM ASSAM LAKSA
Assam laksa is synonymous with Penang. A trip to Penang without having this dish does not do it justice. And the best stall, to date, is situated at Air Itam market.
For just RM4, it serves a decent portion of white noodles! Assembled in its arsenal of ingredients, which includes generous amount of shredded mackerel fish, sweetened prawn paste, crunchy onion slices and fresh mint leaves, the broth combines sweet and sour in perfect unison. Be sure to scoop up the remaining flakes of fish meat when you are done with the noodles.
Given the limited number of tables set up and the popularity of the stall, waiting time can be long in the peak hours. So be sure to be there early to grab a table fast!
11500 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
AH LENG CHAR KWAY TEOW
Kway teow was fried until it had slight burnt crispy parts on the surface of the kway teow, but enough to keep the chewiness of it, the texture of the noodles was spot- on. Wok-hae was skilfully performed as it was thoroughly infused in the dish. This stall uses mantis shrimps, something different as most stalls in Penang uses smaller prawns, which gave the noodles a hint taste of seafood and further elevated the texture of the dish.
Something worth taking note of this stall is the stall owner fries each plate one by one so as to maintain the flavour and standard of each plate. Waiting time for the dish is long, so do prepare to wait!
Jalan Dato Keramat
10150 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
PENANG ROAD FAMOUS TEOCHEW CHENDUL
This popular dessert stall is along Keng Kwee Road, but do not be mistaken as there are 2 stalls. It is the one just beside Joo Hooi Café. The entire crew is super-efficient! Everyone has a specific task to do, from preparing the bowls to mixing the different components of the dessert together. Though the queue looked very long, it took us roughly 10 min to reach our turn.
Though they own a small shop selling assam laksa just further down Keng Kwee Road, many people are seen standing around the stall and slurping down this bowl of delicious goodness under the hot sun, what other better way to enjoy it?
This ingredients used in this cendol is similar to others: ice, gula melaka, kidney beans, coconut milk and cendol. However, what shone through, personally, is the sweetened kidney beans, soft enough to give a texture to the dessert, and the aromatic gula melaka. Of course the cendol itself was springy and not overcooked.
10450 Pulau Pinang
CHULIA WANTON MEE
This wanton mee shop is very popular amongst the locals, although we were there when it wasn’t the holiday period, local Penangs people form bulk of the customers.
We had the choice of having the dry or soup version, but we chose the dry one in the end because most of the locals were having it. Noodles were drenched in a sweet, black sauce, drizzled with sesame oil and topped with thin slices of char siew and perfectly boiled wantons. Noodles were cooked till it retained its Q-ness, and the taste is very traditional and sweeter than the ones sold in Singapore.
Seating capacity of the area is very limited, so I suggest you order the wantan mee first while you get your companions to camp for seats since the wait for the noodles is undoubtedly long. (Mine took 30min to arrive.)
10200 George Town
Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
KIMBERLEY DUCK KWAY CHAP
Kway chap isn’t one of Penang’s popular food, however, this stall managed to attract foodies’ attention.
The stall gives you the option of choosing either kway or porridge as your staple base, but since it is a kway chap stall, we went ahead with the kway. Now comes the juicy part (pun-intended), you have an array of ingredients to mix in your kway chap! From soft pig’s blood cake, chewy pig’s skin, pig’s intestines to shredded duck meat, all mixed with a terrific braised gravy. Coupled with the springy kway, it was a perfect comfort food after an entire day of walking.
Seats are aplenty here so you don’t have to worry about it, just the queuing time can be long when hitting the dinner crowd. RM7 for the small bowl, though a little pricey for street food, it is definitely worth many tries when in Penang.
10100 Pulau Pinang
For those who want more, I have also written a list of Penang cafes that I have been to.