Hello everyone! Apologies for the radio silence, the last half a year has been full of changes (I might write a full update post soon since I have much more free time these days!) but things have finally settled down and I’m definitely feeling revitalised after my trip back to Penang.
So I’ve been meaning to make this list for a while now – not necessarily the most hyped about places, but more about the places that I have been frequenting with my family since I was young and that I tend to revisit when I’m back in town. Penang does the best hawker food (and I’m not saying this just because I’m a Penangite!), and you generally will get pretty decent hawker food wherever you go. I’m not going to go into detail into each dish, because let’s be honest, most of you are pretty worldly travelers, and Google does most of the research these days …
1. Sri Weld Food Court
The front stall does a delicious array of nasi lemak: plain, with egg/fish/anchovies, or you can mix and match the ingredients. Simple and satisfying, wrapped the traditional way in banana leaves, that you can eat at the food court or conveniently takeaway.
2. Keat Seng (Two Restaurant)
This is one the of local hawker places round my area, now renamed as Keat Seng “Two Restaurant” … which would probably make more sense just adding “II”, but lets not get overly-pedantic.
I used to love ordering the Western food here during my school days, but then again this was WAYYY before I moved to the UK and was exposed to proper Western food! There is a stall that does good koay teow th’ng and mee tai bak (silver needle noodle/rats tail! – not from actual rats obviously), and the curry mee that I recently had wasn’t too bad either.
My brother and I used to always have takeaway hokkien char for supper from here last time, but sadly hokkien char Man retired a few years ago … sad times.
3. Kafe Evergreen
Located on Hutton Lane (and also conveniently opposite a multi-storey carpark, if you’re driving), I usually come here with my parents for their koay teow th’ng. I have mine with the usual meat and fishballs, or if you’re like Dad who likes innards, you can also add in intestines, blood and liver.
4. Kafe Kheng Pin
Kheng Pin Cafe is famous for their loh bak, which you can order as a platter alongside the other fried food selection on display (eg. prawn fritters, tofu, century egg), and comes with two dipping sauces. The other food stalls there are also good, such as the hokkien mee, porridge/congee and wan tan mee.
Most of you are probably already familiar with this place (I mean, they even have their own website …) which can get quite busy during peak times. Instead of waiting in line we just tend to head down to their shop further down the street where you can order it to be brought to the table. I’m personally not that big a fan of their chendul, but I do like the assam laksa and char koay teow that you can order there as well.
6. Cecil Street Market
Otherwise known as Seventh Street Market (“Chit Tiau Lor Bansan”) which has a large variety of hawker stalls. Don’t miss out on the nyonya kuih stall where you can find a colourful selection of traditional kuih muih – the two rival stalls are next to each other so you definitely won’t miss them!
There is popular curry mee stall under a tree but it had unfortunately sold out when we last visited. We did try one from another stall (there were so many that I can’t exactly pinpoint which one …) and the duck meat koay teow th’ng that were both good.
The Chinese version pasembur here is also recommended.
Cecil Street Market is also famous for their roast pork/BBQ meat, and if you wander round to the other side of the market, you will find a row of stalls selling them.
7. K.K. Dim Sum Garden
A local favourite in Farlim that serves good ol’ traditional dim sum – this place gets busy between 8am – 11am so expect to hover over empty/finishing tables to avoid standing around for too long. The dim sum isn’t fancy, but they do the usual tasty classics that you just point to pick and bring it back to your table. The selection isn’t huge, so we usually order most of the steamed ones and some from the fried selection.
The wan tan mee is also good – they serve two different varieties (char siu/wan tan) on alternate days.
8. Tan Jetty Thai Food
Okay, so this isn’t quite local Penang food, but I love Thai food, and I like coming here because of the food and they also have a nice view of the jetty. I really like their white tom yam soup and papaya/mango salads.
9. Wan Tan Mee House
We’ve been coming back for this wan tan mee since when they were a small stall in Pulau Tikus, before they set up their own restaurant. You can order small, medium or large – I find the small portion good enough for myself (my brother would probably always order large!) and go for both boiled and steamed wan tans. I particularly like coming here because they add “loh” (a starchy, egg-y sauce) – they will graciously give you an extra bowl on the side if you ask.
10. Tho Yuen Restaurant
This is a must-go for me everytime I fly back to Penang. They usually serve dim sum in the morning, but this time we visited in the afternoon and ordered my favourite noodles dishes: char hor fun and the crispy noodles (I can never remember the traditional name …). Their soup with sui gao (dumplings) and fishballs are also a must-order.
Other than that we would usually order the chicken rice but they had already sold out on our last visit.
We’ve been going there as a family for a long time, so Dad is familiar with the people there – the man standing next to Dad in the photo has apparently been working there since he was 18 (!) Now that’s a very rare example of loyalty …
11. … Nibong Tebal
This last one isn’t in Penang Island itself, but rather Seberang Perai (still Penang but on the mainland). Nibong Tebal is Dad’s hometown and he always claims that the food there is the best (unverified fact). I never really got the name of this hawker food place (I’ll ask Dad again sometime) but we’ve been coming here since I was little, and they do my favourite assam laksa with crispy bits, and very good ais kacang. The dried hokkien mee and wan tan mee are also our regular favourites.
And that pretty much sums up my favourite eating spots in Penang – I may have missed out a few due to time constraint, but I will update this post the next time I’m back home.
Until then, whoever is in Penang/heading to Penang, please eat all the assam laksa and char koay teow for me …
The Cheekster, signing out x