Whether you think your state does it better, there’s no arguing that Penang is one of the most talked-about and celebrated street food cities both locally and internationally. In fact, it was voted as one of Asia’s best street food destinations by CNN, among several other notable recognitions.
However, finding a spot that isn’t just another tourist trap is sometimes harder than you may think. Thus, we reached out to a couple of Malaysians who are all born and bred Penangites to share with us some of their personal recommendations.
Here are 5 spots you should keep in mind during your next trip to Malaysia’s Pearl of The Orient.
1. Visit the humble town of Bukit Mertajam to savour some delicious rojak and authentic Penang popiahMany travellers often skip the mainland when visiting Penang assuming that it has nothing to offer. Having born and raised there for over 22 years, I can’t tell you enough how wrong they are! One of my favourite tea time spots is hands down Kedai Kopi Ah Meng which is a favourite among the locals where you can find one of the best popiah, rojak, and laksa in BM and arguably Penang as a whole! Give it a try the next time you’re visiting Penang, you will not be disappointed.
Here’s what you can expect:
- The rojak sauce is thick and loaded with crushed peanuts giving it a strong nutty flavour.
- The popiah is another crowd-favourite and differs from the typical crispy popiah stalls you see at KL hawker centres.
- Instead, the texture is somewhat soggy and filled with slices of turnip, prawns, and several other ingredients. It’s also topped with chilli sauce for a spicy kick!
- The queue for the popiah gets pretty long so call ahead if you can to place an order.
– Samantha, 27, Bukit Mertajam
Address: Kedai Kopi Ah Meng Jalan Pasar, 14000 Bukit Mertajam.
Operation hours: 7am – 6pm (daily).
2. Forget Line Clear and go to Nasi Kandar Tajuddin Hussain!Every time one of my KL friends say they can’t wait to eat at Nasi Kandar Line Clear the little Penang kid inside me cries a little for them. Seriously, if you want the true Penang experience, head over to Nasi Kandar Tajuddin Hussain. I’ve been going to this unassuming spot ever since I was a kid with my dad and I never looked elsewhere since! Of course, there are other notable options as well such as Deens Maju and Hameediyah (which is the oldest nasi kandar in Malaysia) but I bet almost everyone has heard of them.
What you should know:
- Their ayam ros is a must-try and is a crowd favourite. It has just the right amount of spiciness and goes well when paired with their rasam which is also super tasty and not to mention, FREE.
- The ayam bawang, mutton kurma, and ayam gulai are also worth a try.
- In fact, they have over 15 dishes prepared fresh daily so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
- You can even have it with fragrant tomato rice or their tasty biryani!
– Ganesh, 30, Tanjung Bungah.
Address: 49 & 51, Queen Street, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Operation hours: Monday – Saturday, 11am – 3.30pm, 6.30pm – 10pm.
Closed on Sundays.
3. Trott down Lebuh Aceh and dine like a true local amidst colonial buildings at this hidden gemYou know a place is “legit” when it doesn’t even have a name. Only known as the Wan Tan Mee spot at Lebuh Aceh, the stall is one of Penangites’ best-kept secrets, tucked between rows of colonial shophouses. There, you’ll be greeted by a warm aunty and her husband. I’m a regular patron and what keeps me going back is the sauce and texture of the noodles. Simply, authentic Penang street food at its best!
What you should know:
- There are two types of noodles offered, fried and regular fresh egg noodles.
- The fried noodles have a wrinkly texture similar to ramen while the fresh egg noodles are softer in texture and a little chewier.
- I love their dumplings! The pork is deliciously juicy and coupled with the water chestnut and sesame oil, it gives the dish a nice crunch and fragrance.
- The neighbouring kopitiam serves great local coffee and is a great spot for you to enjoy your meal just like the locals.
– Priscilla, 27, Georgetown.Address: 34, Lebuh Acheh, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Operation hours: 7am – 1pm (daily)
4. Satisfy your late-night cravings with this duck egg char koay teowIf you need another reason to visit Bukit Mertajam, then this duck egg char koay teow will not disappoint. The chef, Ah Heng, has been manning the stall for over 35 years and is widely regarded as one of the best char koay teow spots on the mainland. It’s a little different from your typical Penang-style char koay teow as duck egg is used to fry the noodles instead of a chicken egg, giving the dish a distinct flavour. If you prefer the regular Penang-styled char koay teow, I’d highly recommend visiting Siam Road Char Koay Teow which is much better than the overhyped Lorong Selamat Char Koay Teow in my opinion.
What you should know:
- The koay teow packs a punch with rich flavours. Charcoal is used to fry the koay teow giving it a charred aroma.
- Do opt to add an additional sunny side up egg which complements the koay teow well due to the runny yolk.
- If you love spicy food, ask the chef to make yours extra spicy for an added kick.
– Jayson, 29, Butterworth.
Address: Jalan Kampung Baru, 14000, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.
Operating hours: 8.00 p.m. – 1.00 a.m (daily).
5. Indulge in tender char siew pork rice at Wai Kee Char SiewIf you’re looking for the best char siew pork rice in George Town, arguably nothing else comes close to Wai Kee Char Siew. What makes this particular stall stand out, is the juicy flavours you get from the char siew. Each piece is thinly sliced with layers of fat in between which “explodes” in your mouth! Definitely a must-try for char siew lovers!
What you should know:
- The stall has been operating for over 60 years and is a well-known lunch spot among the locals.
- Aside from the char siew, the siew bak (roasted pork) served here is another popular choice featuring a good balance between meat and fat plus a good amount of crunchiness to it.
- The place gets pretty packed around lunchtime so it’s good to be there before 11.30am.
– Chung Ling, 30, Bayan Lepas.
Address: Chulia St, Georgetown, 10450 George Town, Penang
Operating hours: Monday – Friday, 10.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 8pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10.30am – 2.30pm
From its distinct char koay teow to the aromatic curries of its Nasi Kandar, Penang is undoubtedly the number one destination for food hunting. And this is just the tip of the iceberg as there are plenty more to be discovered!
If we got your tummies rumbling already and if you can’t wait to begin your grand foodie adventure in Penang then you’ll be glad to know that AirAsia is having awesome discounts on both hotel stays and flights.
This is part of AirAsia’s new SNAP promo which offers the lowest guaranteed package prices on flights and hotel stays to amazing destinations!
And that’s not all, as part of their February SNAP promo, AirAsia is having discounts to 5 beautiful destinations.
Flying from Kuala Lumpur, here are the 5 destination packages this February:
1. Melbourne – 4D3N, RM1413
2. Belitung – 3D2N, RM324
3. Singapore – 3D2N, RM322
4. Penang – 3D2N, RM233
5. Krabi – 3D2N, RM275
So, what are you waiting for? Book from 3rd to 9th February 2020 to enjoy these discounts.
Do note that the travel period is from 5th February 2020 to 31st March 2020.
Don’t say we never inform you ah!
Safe travels, everyone.
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