How lucky was I that my four bed dorm in Penang included two Malaysian guys and a Chinese lady who had visited before THUS ensuring I had freaking awesome guides and therefore a satisfied belly while I stayed in Georgetown!
It was on their recommendation that I had such amazing dim sum at Old Winston Café.
So here’s a basic intro to some of the best street dishes on offer in Penang as tried and tested by yours truly (although this list is by no means exhaustive since the amount available here could keep you busy for months!)
Char Kway Teow
It took me awhile to master how to say this one.
The dish may not look like much but it was my favourite and is stir fried with noodles, clams, sprouts and prawns.
I’m also obsessed with 100 Plus – it’s my favourite drink in Asia
You can choose how spicy you’d like it and the plate costs 3.5RM (1 USD).
The place I went to was on Kimberley St from this guy.
Speaking of Kimberley St, this location is where you can discover a huge amount of street vendors at night but if you go in the morning you’ll also find some treats.
As I’m not a big breakfast person, I liked to get a one or two Ban Cien Koay otherwise known as peanut pancakes to start the day for about 1.5RM each (0.40 USD).
Many people say you can’t leave Malaysia without trying cendol.
Personally I found it a little too sweet but since it’s made of shaved ice, pandan jelly, coconut milk and kidney beans (bit random) it does cool you down from the heat.
This is the famous stand in Georgetown to get it from but I can’t remember where it’s located unfortunately!
If you do find it though right next door is also the said place to get the famous Penang Assam Laksa.
One part sweet, one part spicy and the last bit sour it truly is a mix of flavours and a unique dish worth trying but once was good for me!
Where I sampled wanton mee (at a stall on Lebuh Chulia) was the first time I witnessed the true street food experience and by this I mean..when people are done with their dishes a guy will come along and literally throw them on to the road.
After a little while a woman will pick them up and proceed to wash them..in buckets on the street.
As a Westerner you can’t help but imagine literally every OH&S rule going out the window here but hey I didn’t get food poisoning – in fact I only ate street food the entire time I was in Penang and had no problems 🙂
My hostel was right next to Little India and therefore I had no shortage of restaurants to choose from and one of my picks is Kassim Mustafa Nasi Kandar.
You can’t leave without trying some roti canai (like naan but a bit more doughy in consistency) and their chicken and rice was tasty too.
The entire meal seen here (and which I forgot to photograph before digging into because I was so hungry) cost about 11RM (3 USD).
If you want something for everyone (and the option of more seating if you’re in a group since this is rarely a possibility at the street stalls) there’s also a decent food court opposite Chew Jetty.
Now for dessert..
Across from said food court and right next to the famous artwork of the siblings reaching out the window for dim sum you’ll find a place which sells delicious egg tarts.
I also got a yummy pandan baked good but the egg tart is definitely the gem.
At night time on Lebuh Chulia (one of the main streets) there’s stalls selling pancakes and fried goods for after dinner snacks too.
Penang is also unsurprisingly a popular place to do a cooking class although when looking around I found a lot of them to be quite pricey.
A lady I met on a walking tour and I happened to wander into the Eastern & Oriental Hotel and saw they offer one each Wednesday for 150RM (39 USD) which we felt was reasonable considering it’s 5 star and a professional chef ran the session so we booked.
The dishes we made were mango salad, chicken tikka and sambal fish – all of which were delicious and the bonus was we got to enjoy it all with a couple classes of wine afterwards.
You also get to keep your E&O apron and they give you a cute certificate with your picture on it too.