Are you planning a visit to Penang and want to know the best must-eat food in Penang? If your answer is yes, I am so glad you are here.
Be prepared for a gastronomical adventure while you explore Penang. There is food here for every taste bud and dietary preference. Mains, sides, desserts, we have it all!
What are you waiting for? Let’s dive in and learn all the best that Penang has to offer for the hungry explorers.
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At A Glance: The 28 Best Must Eat Food In Penang And Where To Find Them
- What Are The Must-Try Foods In Penang?
- 1) Char Koay Teow
- 2) Asam Laksa
- 3) Tau Sar Piah
- 4) Nasi Lemak
- 5) Kueh Pie Tee
- 6) Popiah
- 7) Oyster Omelet
- 8) Otak-Otak
- 9) Wantan Mee
- 10) Nasi Kandar
- 11) Hokkien Mee
- 12) Rojak
- 13) Tandoori Chicken
- 14) Roti Canai
- 15) Masala Dosa
- 16) Economy Rice
- 17) Satay
- 18) Kway Chiap (Duck Soup)
- 19) Cendol
- 20) Chee Cheong Fun
- 21) Char Hor Fun
- 22) Fish Head Bee Hoon
- 23) Loh Bak
- 24) Ikan Bakar
- 25) Masala Snack
- 26) Curry Mee
- 27) Mee Goreng
- 28) Hokkien Prawn Mee
- Where Is Penang?
- How To Get To Penang From Kuala Lumpur And Singapore?
- Where To Stay In Penang?
- Is Penang Expensive?
- 28 Of The Best Must Eat Food In Penang And Where To Find Them
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What Are The Must-Try Foods In Penang?
1) Char Koay Teow
Char Koay Teow is a dish from Malaysia. Most people like to eat this because they say that the flavor of soy sauce combined with chili paste creates an enjoyable experience for their taste buds!
This Penang must eat dish is made up of noodles and fried in thick brown soy sauce containing fish balls or clams along with other ingredients such as eggs, sausages, beansprouts which all get cooked in garlic and chili paste.
Restaurant Name: Kimberly Street Char Koay Teow
Address: Outside Sin Guat Keong Coffee Shop, 86, Lebuh Kimberley, 10100, Georgetown Penang
Operating Hours: Opens daily from 6 pm to 11 pm
2) Asam Laksa
Asam Laksa is a spicy, tangy fish soup dish from Malaysia. It’s made with fried noodle sheets that are tossed in coconut cream sauce and spices like galangal or kaffir lime leaves when they’re still hot!
The tangy flavor comes from the use of tamarind or asam as it is known in Malay.
The most famous Asam Laksa can be found in Penang Road Famous Laksa. It has an average rating of 4.3 stars with 378 Google Reviews.
Restaurant Name: Penang Road Famous Laksa
Address: 5, Lebuh Keng Kwee, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Operating Hours: Open daily from 9am to 5.30pm except on Wednesdays
3) Tau Sar Piah
The best dish in Penang is not a secret. You can find this savory and tasty dish on every street, roadside stall, or restaurant!
It is also known as Penang Tambun Biscuits. The filling inside is either sweet or savory made with steamed green beans, oil, and sugar. It seems simple but it is a real crowd-pleaser.
You can find the best Tau Sar Piah in Penang from this 72-year-old shop. The queues are mad and they bake fresh daily.
Restaurant Name: Him Heang Sdn Bhd
Address: Him Heang Sdn Bhd (214727-P), 162A, Jalan Burma, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10.30 am to 2 pm
4) Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak is a Penang must eat dish that people like to eat on special occasions because of its rich, spiced flavor. It is the national dish of Malaysia and a favorite across the board.
It’s made by cooking rice in coconut milk with ginger and lemongrass; then the dish includes fried anchovies which give Nasi Lemak both taste complexity as well as an element of texture (anchovies are normally only used when making sambal).
Nowadays, you can find Nasi Lemak with an assortment of delicious sides such as fried chicken, prawn sambal, fried fish, and more. Nasi Lemak is an absolute must-eat in Penang.
Restaurant Name: Grannie Nasi Lemak
Address: 182, Lebuh Lintang, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Operating Hours: Open daily from 11 am to 7 pm
5) Kueh Pie Tee
If you are looking for a dish that is both unique and refreshing, then Kueh Pie Tee should be your go-to. This is a classic Nyonya dish. Meat and vegetables are assembled in a crunchy dough pastry casing.
These vegetables can be turnips, carrots beans, prawns, chicken, or crab. Then there are toppings of eggs, spices, and cilantro. It does not seem like much, but it is filling and tasty.
You can find the best one at Middle Of No Where. And no, we are not pulling your leg about the name. This is definitely a great place to find tasty food in Penang.
Restaurant Name: Middle Of No Where
Address: 202-B Jalan Sungai Pinang, 11010, Georgetown, Penang
Operating Hours: Opens daily from 9 am to 4 pm
Popiah refers to a thin pancake-like skin and it is a famous Penang food. The filling typically consists of prawns, chicken, or pork along with vegetables such as turnips, cucumbers, carrots, garlic sauce, chili powder paste, and black vinegar.
These are all mixed together before being coated thoroughly in batter then deep-fried until it becomes golden brown crispy. You can probably imagine – it is a mouth-watering delight.
Restaurant Name: Low Eng Hoo Coffee Shop
Address: 84 Lorong Selamat, 10400, Georgetown, Penang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 1 pm to 6 pm except on Tuesday.
7) Oyster Omelet
The oyster omelet is a popular dish in Penang. It’s made of stir-fried tapioca flour with eggs, small shrimps, oysters, mushrooms, and other vegetables mixed into it!
You can find this at any seafood restaurant. This is a crowd-pleaser because it is so easy to make. If you are thinking about delicious food in Penang, this is definitely one to check out!
Restaurant Name: Restoran Bee Hooi
Address: 415, Jalan Burma, Pulau Tikus, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 6 pm to 12 am except on Tuesday.
Imagine a spicy grilled fish cake, and that is otak-otak. It is made with shrimp paste, fish, and grilled while it is wrapped in a fragrant banana leaf.
This is an absolute must-have at any Penang BBQ. It is a delightful famous street food in Penang.
Restaurant Name: Mummy Otak-Otak @ Macakister Lane
Address: 100, Lorong Macalister, 11400, George Town, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Opens daily from 8.30 am to 11 am
9) Wantan Mee
Wantan Mee is a type of dish that originated from China and has been popularized in Penang. It is also a popular type of hawker food in Penang.
It is made with minced meat, eggs, wheat gluten as well as soy sauce & chili paste among other ingredients including vegetables such as mushrooms or leafy greens.
Restaurant Name: Wanton Mee House, Pulau Tikus
Address: Jalan Burma, 10350 Pulau Tikus, Penang, Malaysia
Operating Hours: Open daily from 6 am to 4 pm except on Thursday
10) Nasi Kandar
Nasi Kandar is a proud baby of Penang.
It consists of steamed white rice and a large variety of side dishes such as curries, fried meats or seafood, papadam, and vegetables.
This Penang must eat dish is best eaten in a group so that you can share more sides. It is definitely a community affair!
Restaurant Name: Deen’s Maju Nasi Kandar
Address: 170 Jalan Gurwara, George Town, 10300, George Town, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: 12 pm to 10 pm
11) Hokkien Mee
Hokkien mee is a famous food in Penang. It is made of fried noodles mixed with curry sauce and other ingredients. The sauce/broth is made with lots and lots of shrimp heads so that you can extract maximum flavor.
People in Penang love the taste and aroma of Hokkien Mee. It’s made up mostly of beef, though there are also chicken or prawns included to give it more flavor!
Restaurant Name: Famous Penang Hokkien Mee
Address: 151, Jalan Burma, George Town, 10050, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 8 pm
Rojak is a type of salad made with sliced pineapples, cucumbers, turnips, and tofu mixed in a spicy and tangy dark sauce which is made of prawn paste.
However, do not let the term salad fool you. It is not a very healthy dish due to the rich flavors of the sauce. This is Penang street food at its finest and is one of the all-time favorite dishes in Penang and you must try it before you leave.
Name: Hock Seng Rojak
Address: Gat Lebuh Cecil, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Operating Hours: Opens from Wednesday to Sunday from 3 pm to 8.30 pm
13) Tandoori Chicken
If you are still wondering about things to eat in Penang, think about Tandoori Chicken.
This Penang must eat dish is made from chicken pieces cooked with spices, yogurt, and tomatoes for an additional tangy taste that will elevate your meal into something extraordinary!
You are guaranteed to enjoy an aromatic mouth explosion that will leave your taste buds craving for more!
Restaurant Name: d’Tandoor Restaurant Penang
Address: 10-C 22, Precinct 10, Jalan Tanjong Tokong, Tanjong Tokong, 10470 Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 11 am to 10.30 pm
14) Roti Canai
Roti Canai is a dish that has been enjoyed for generations. It’s easy to see why people love this favorite local food, as it contains both sweet and savory flavors.
Roti Canai is a crispy type of Indian pancake made with flour, egg, butter, or ghee. It is a staple for breakfast and has many flavors. This is a Penang must-eat breakfast.
Restaurant Name: Roti Canai Jalan Argyll
Address: Jalan Argyll, George Town, 10050, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 8 am to 12.30 pm
15) Masala Dosa
The masala dosa is a popular Indian dish made with a fermented batter of rice, urad dhal, and fenugreek.
Once the batter is made into a thin and crispy like a pancake, potatoes cooked in onions, chili, garlic, and some Indian spices are added and the dosa is wrapped up.
This flavorful dish is often served at breakfast, brunch, or as an appetizer with chutneys!
Restaurant Name: Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant
Address: 60 Lebuh Penang, George Town, 10200, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: 8.30 am to 10 pm
16) Economy Rice
Economy Rice is a dish that can be found at any street corner in Penang – essentially, this is a meal of rice and various dishes.
The selection of dishes are affordable, filling, and delicious! It is one of the best types of hawker food in Penang.
If you are looking for a healthy and nutritious dish that can be enjoyed at any time of day, then Economy Rice is the perfect choice.
The concept is similar to Nasi Kandar above. However, Economy Rice refers to mainly Chinese side dishes that are accompanied with white rice, while Nasi Kandar refers to Indian side dishes.
Restaurant Name: Ah Boon Economy Rice
Address: Kuantan Road, 10150, Pulau Pinang Malaysia
Operating Hours: Open daily from 9 am to 1.30 pm except on Sunday
The satay dish is a popular food in Penang and other parts of Malaysia. Satay refers to delicious fresh meat grilled on skewers.
It is served with sticky rice known as Ketupat, sliced cucumbers, and a spicy peanut sauce. This is one of the best foods in Penang.
Name: Satay Mama Mieda
Address: 03-1-15, Krystal Point Corporate Park, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Opens daily from 11am to 8pm
18) Kway Chiap (Duck Soup)
This is a beloved dish for the Chinese community. Kway chiap is made of stir-fried rice noodles topped with vegetables and pork gravy.
However, in Penang, it is also served in a broth made with duck.
Restaurant Name: Restoran Kimberly
Address: 135, Lebuh Kimberley, George Town, 10100, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 5.30 pm to 10 pm except on Thursday
Cendol is a refreshing dessert dish that is literally worth dying for. It’s made of coconut milk, pandan leaves, and an assortment of toppings such as jellies, red beans, corn, sago pearls and more depending on your preference.
This is the best dessert to have on a hot day, and it will awaken all your senses.
Location: Jalan Penang, George Town, 10450 Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Weekdays (10.30 am to 7 pm) Weekends (10.30 am to 7.30 pm)
20) Chee Cheong Fun
The dish is made of steamed rice noodles, dried shrimp, chicken, and vegetables. It tastes good with oyster sauce, soy sauce, or sambal olek which is very popular in Malaysia as dips for foods such as prawn mee.
Restaurant Name: Genting Cafe Chee Cheong Fun
Address: Lorong Delimar 3, Taman Island Glades, 11700 Jelutong, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 8 am to 4 pm except on Wednesday
21) Char Hor Fun
Char Hor Fun is an easy and delicious meal that is loved by many. This dish is made of pork, chicken, and vegetables in soy sauce. It’s usually eaten for lunch or dinner but you can also find it on the menu if your restaurant serves Chinese food!
The dish name is derived from the Malay word “char” which means fire. This is because of how these crispy roots are cooked over an open flame before being stir-fried with other ingredients such as chili, garlic, and onions.
Restaurant Name: Woh Kee Restaurant
Address: 10, Kampong Malabar, George Town, 10200, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 10.30 am to 9 pm
22) Fish Head Bee Hoon
When you feel like having something salty and fried, the Fish Head Bee Hoon is perfect for your taste buds. This dish can be found at nearly any restaurant or snack shop in Penang.
It is made with fried or steamed fish head served in rice vermicelli and an aromatic soup. If you are looking for food in Penang that is unique, this would be it.
Restaurant Name: Village Fish Head Bee Hoon
Address: No 107-A, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 11.30 am to 9 pm
23) Loh Bak
Loh Bak is essentially a 5-spice meat roll and is usually made with pork as the main ingredient.
The pork is marinated in the 5-spices and then rolled inside the fried bean curd skin. It is a delightful side dish and appears at most festive gatherings.
Restaurant Name: Prawn Fritters & Loh Bak
Address: 90-A, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 8am to 6 pm
24) Ikan Bakar
Ikan Bakar is essentially grilled fish. It is a true masterpiece. The marinade is made using simple ingredients such as onions, garlic, turmeric, coriander, candlenuts, chili, and salt.
After that, you wrap it in a banana leaf or just place it directly on the grill. What you get is an amazing and tasty grilled fish that is cooked to perfection.
Restaurant Name: Abg Jit Ikan Bakar HQ
Address: 216, Jalan Ayer Itam, George Town, 10460, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 4 pm to 11 pm
25) Masala Snack
This is a fun and spicy Penang must eat snack pack that is handy for you to bring around on your travels across Penang. It contains Indian tidbits such as muruku, fried corn, toasted chickpeas, fried onions, and more.
Restaurant Name: Pop-up stall at Penang Hill
Address: Jalan Stesen Keretapi, Bukit Bendera, Penang Hill, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 9 am to 8 pm
26) Curry Mee
Curry Mee is made with noodles, vegetables, and meat or seafood soup that has been curried before it’s served on top of these ingredients for added flavor!
Curry mee also contains egg noodles which are thicker than regular spaghetti-type pasta due to their higher protein content.
Restaurant Name: Chulia Street Curry Mee
Address: 1C, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10200, Pulau Pinang,
Operating Hours: Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 4.30 pm to 9.45 pm
27) Mee Goreng
Mee Goreng is a dish that’s originated from Malaysia. It’s made of yellow noodles, prawns, and vegetables fried in a spicy sauce with eggs and bean sprouts.
You can also fry the noodles using chicken or beef slices depending on your preference. It is perfect to be eaten any time of the day.
Restaurant Name: Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng
Address: 102-H-19, New World Park, Jalan Burma, George Town, 10050 Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 9 am to 6 pm
28) Hokkien Prawn Mee
This dish is made of prawns and noodles, which are both popular ingredients in Penang cuisine. Hokkien Prawn Mee is a dish that originated in Penang.
It also contains small shrimps called bakso while some versions include pork ribs too. It can be eaten anytime during the day.
Restaurant Name: Ah Keong Hokkien Mee
Address: Jalan Pasar, Taman Desa Green, 11600, Jelutong, Pulau Pinang
Operating Hours: Open daily from 6.30am to 12pm
Where Is Penang?
Penang is located on the northwest coast of Malaysia. It’s famous for its food, culture, and scenery but most importantly it has great beaches!
How To Get To Penang From Kuala Lumpur And Singapore?
You will be able to reach Penang by any form of transport such as car, bus, plane, or train. It will take you about 50 minutes to fly from Kuala Lumpur and 1 hour and 45 minutes to fly from Singapore.
Driving to Penang from Kuala Lumpur will take about 6 hours and 11 hours from Singapore.
If you take a bus, you can add an extra 2 hours to the time taken to drive as buses will have to go slower.
Where To Stay In Penang?
If you are looking for a place to stay while in Penang, there is no shortage of options. From hostels and hotels all across the city or private homes available with Airbnb; it’s hard not to find something that suits your needs.
Is Penang Expensive?
The cost of living in Penang is not very high. Inexpensive meals range between USD 2 or MYR 10. While fancier meals cost from USD 12 or MYR 60 for 2 pax.
This seems like a pretty affordable location in comparison to more expensive cities such as Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.
Well, there you have it, folks! This is the most comprehensive and best Penang must eat list. Try to get your hands on each one of these dishes during your time in Penang. I promise you that there is a dish here for every taste bud!
I would like to wish you good luck exploring this exquisite island and don’t forget to eat!