When it comes to street food or great food in general, the Malaysian city of Penang is undoubtedly one of the best locations in the world. The quality and creativity of food in Penang has been revered and celebrated all over the world as it has been endowed with names such as the Food Paradise of Asia and the Food Capital of Malaysia. But what should you tick off of your food bucket list when in Penang, Malaysia? Here are just a few of the most delicious delicacies that Penang does best. And if you did not have a bucket list of Malaysian foods, take this guide of what to eat in Penang, Malaysia and make it your goal to try every single dish in the list!
What to Eat in Penang Malaysia | PENANG FOOD GUIDE
CHAR KOAY TEOW
Char Koay Teow is probably the defining dish of Penang, which is why you have to try this food if you want to revel in the essence of the city’s cuisine. The dish consists of delicious, flat rice noodles combined with a stir-fry of prawns, soy sauce, bean sprouts, brine cockles, chicken or duck egg, and chili which gives the whole dish a hint of spice that ties all the elements together. The creamy mixture is full of interesting textures and flavors which is why it is one of the most popular street foods around and a must-have for any visitor.
One of the best egg dishes of Penang, Oh Chien combines oyster, egg, tapioca flour, shallots, and garlic to create a flavorful concoction that is crispy on the edges and deliciously delicate and gooey in the center. The combination makes it one of the best and fluffiest omelets you will ever have. It is a great breakfast food, however, you can easily enjoy it for lunch or grab to go at any night market. When someone asks us for a piece of advice on what to eat in Penang, Oh Chien is our go-to recommendation, always!
Wherever you go, you can never go wrong with a simple curry, and with one as delicious as the coconut milk infused Curry Mee of Penang, you can rest assured that your taste buds will be very impressed. Paired with rice vermicelli, egg, pig, bean curds, and a rich and incredibly flavorsome gravy, the Curry Mee is homely, warm, and as fulfilling as anything you can get in the city. Often you will find this dish with a slightly different name – Curry Laksa. It is the same Curry Mee, however, in Southern Malaysia and Singapore they prefer to call it Curry Laksa.
If you really want to get a taste and idea of the uniqueness of Penang, then you must find a hawker and try Lok Lok as it is just as fascinating as it is mouthwatering. You will receive an assortment of various vegetables and meats skewered onto sticks based on your preference and then cooked in a common hot pot in front of you. Actually, it is more deep-fried than you would expect, but you cannot avoid deep-fried foods in Asia, absolutely impossible! After the skewer frying process, you can choose your own sauce to go with your skewer and enjoy one of the most interesting street foods of Malaysia.
When it comes to desserts, the tasty Apom Manis is the way to go. Especially if you are looking for something light yet extremely fulfilling and delicious. These are delicate and crispy coconut crepes that are made in clay pots or woks and are often decorated with an assortment of toppings such as bananas, coconut, or even egg. But with or without the toppings, the coconut crepes are refreshing and sweet, making for the perfect after dinner snack. We absolutely love Apom Manis and always get at least 5 different kinds of crepes. Before you think “okay, you, guys are crazy”, we challenge you to try them yourself and not reach for the second!
The Penang Rojak combines the best of both worlds as a mixture of fruits and vegetables including the likes of fried dough, bean curds, brussel sprouts, cuttlefish, and a variety of fruits topped with a thick syrup made from either peanuts or shrimp. What fun is a trip to a unique place without trying out the strange sounding food? Especially when we assure you that you will be pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness of the dish. We were really reluctant to try it because of the weird ingredient combinations, but oh boy, good that we did! You probably won’t believe us until you try it yourself! There is no middle way and everyone has a love-hate relationship with Penang Rojak.
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This is a classic Indian Muslim dish. It consists of fragrant yellow rice and different curry meat or vegetable toppings. Usually served all on a single plate – rice, toppings of your choosing meat or vegetarian and a mixture of curry sauces poured on top. There are many places which serve Nasi Kandar but the most famous one opens only at 10 pm. And yes, Nasi Kandar lovers will queue to get their hands on the mouth-watering food. They know what to eat in Penang! Experiment with the toppings and try it yourself!
Well, now you can see why food critics and foodies alike consider Penang the food capital of the world. The diversity of the food, the balance of flavors and creative combinations all contribute to this title. Either you are into sweets, Indian cuisine or traditional Asian cuisine with a Chinese twist, Penang offers something for everybody’s preference. If you still do not know what to eat in Penang just start by ticking off your list every single dish in this blog post. After that, do some restaurant hopping and you will discover the endless diversity of Penang’s cuisine by yourself! If you are almost in a food coma – follow 25 Best Things to do in Penang (which are not food, hahah)!