Must Eat Penang Street Food, Malaysia

I was put up in one of the best hotels in Penang during my FAM trip there, but my heart kept beating for Penang street food! Earlier I had read: Lonely Planet picks Penang as top spot for foodies in 2014 and hoped to taste it some day. So when I was invited to do media coverage (as a blogger) of Penang World Music Festival, I used the opportunity to hog some of the best street foods in Penang.

Penang street food

Night Markets of Penang

Night markets are plenty, scattered all over George Town. The energy is incredible here; you will miss that in regular restaurants and posh hotels. Sizzling sounds, the hawkers explaining dishes, the chatter of customers are something to experience and amidst all these I didn’t get any stink of fish! That is truly amazing! Penang markets are several 100 square meters in area, you can graze at your will and I will specifically mention there is no dearth of choices for vegetarians too.

For beginners try ‘satay’. Such wide range of food in the bamboo skewers, equally wide range of marinades and sauces, choosing can be tough. Marinating time can range anywhere from 10mins to 4 hrs. The hawkers keep them ready. You need to choose the sauce. For sauces you have red curry paste, or lime juice and shrimp paste, or sweet coconut cream and lemongrass, oh there are more! And if you are not a creature of habit you will definitely try something more than chicken and something more than peanut butter sauce.

Penang street food

If you are done with satays try their varieties of sizzling noodles! Their Char Kuey Teow is something to die for! It is made of fried flat noodles, succulent shrimp all burnt to right degree on their woks. Soups with fish balls, meat balls with smooth silky noodles are must have. The curry broths may taste hot and fiery for first timers, but with time I am sure you will ask the hawker to add some more spice!

Don’t forget the humble Nasi Lemak, Malaysia’s national food. It is a rice based dish; the rice is steamed in coconut milk and pandan leaves which gives such a rich mouth watering aroma to it.

Penang street food – Sweet Dishes

Try their sweet dishes; you will be one happy soul after that! The job of choosing one isn’t easy let me warn you about that. Their shaved ice bowls of sweet things are so different from other varieties of desserts I have had before, very unique! Ais Kacang – keep scooping into the bowl heaped with shaved ice and you will get corns, red beans, peanuts and they taste so good… omg I want to have some right now! Cendol is yet another variety with lesser ingredients but you can add coconut milk and palm sugar to your taste.

Have you had any of these Penang Street Food? Do you have any other dish to suggest? Let me know in your comments.

Penang street food
Buyers at Penang street food
Yumm... Penang street food

You may also like...

39 Responses

  1. Jo says:

    Oooh I wanted to see the yummy desserts. I'm a sucker for all spicy food and the afters, Great post. Jo

  2. I absolutely love the local food in malaysia! Penang sounds awesome 🙂

  3. Sylvia K says:

    Everything looks delicious!! I would love to try some of all of them! Your photos are great and so colorful, Indrani!! Hope you have a wonderful new week!! Enjoy!

  4. DeniseinVA says:

    That must have been a wonderful experience. Great people shots and the food looked delicious!

  5. Nice to read your post

  6. the sweet dishes sound awesome!! 🙂 lovely pictures! 🙂

  7. Mridula says:

    This looks like so much fun!

  8. Everything looks delicious!! I would love to try some of all of them! Your photos are great and so colorful…..

  9. Everything looks tasty and delicious!
    Nice colorful pictures, Indrani!

  10. Girija M R says:

    South East Asia's night market are always so much fun!

  11. It all looks so mouthwatering!

  12. Jeevan says:

    sounds great place to eat out there… wow! i could enjoy that spicy fish fry.

  13. So many choices it would be so hard to choose. Sounds so tasty!

  14. Refreshing food photography blog Indrani.. super liked it.. Look forward of more posts on this theme.

  15. prepforum says:

    Satay and Ice Kachang ! Yummy. And so much variety for non vegetarians. You capture the details pretty well with your clicks Indrani.

  16. Looks yummy… surely you had a great time over there… 🙂

  17. Gail Dixon says:

    You travel to some colorful and interesting places. The food looks divine!

  18. looks delicious, I also want to try some… 🙂 Hope you enjoyed there…

  19. I lov fooood n this looks yummmmyy

  20. Looks yummy and mouth watering


  21. ladyfi says:

    MMm – so tasty!

  22. Gattina says:

    You made me hungry ! I wished I could try out all these different plates !

  23. eileeninmd says:

    The food does look yummy and so many choices.. Thanks for sharing your travels.. Have a happy week!

  24. I have heard the foods of Penang and tried some of it here in the Philippines, though I really wanted to try the authentic ones someday. And it is really interesting because it is somewhat the same as to the street food here in the Philippines. Though the sauce are much richer and there are a lot of diversity of food compared here in the Philippines.

  25. April says:

    I’m ready for a 2nd dinner now!! Looks and sounds amazing. Got to love the night markets! I enjoyed them in Thailand but would have loved have seen more!

  26. Karla says:

    Planning to go to Penang this September, this is really useful. I think I can go on a food trip while there, everything here sounds appealing.

  27. amit says:

    One of the best things about South East Asia has got to be the street food. In many cases when I traveled through SEA I preferred food from street markets. Some of the dishes that would get served up and so cheap too.

  28. The street foods really look good, Indrani. And you’re right, the vibe of the place seems so alive! Thank you for sharing to us what we shouldn’t miss in Penang. Safe travels!

  29. PAIGE W says:

    Trying all the different street food is a favorite activity of mine in a new country! Penang looks like a great street food destination.

  30. Satay and sweets sounds like a delightful way to visit a night market. Everything looks so yummy and exotic.

  31. Annie says:

    Oh my, I miss street food now. I agree, it’s a good idea to branch out from chicken and peanut sauce, there are so many delicious satays!

  32. Heather says:

    I loved the night markets in George Town, especially the markets in the in the Red Garden. We particularly enjoyed a noodle dish called char koay teow. Your article and pictures have me craving some delicious street food now!

  33. Megan Jerrard says:

    I love street food – I can’t get enough of it, even when, like you, we’re staying in a fancy hotel! I find that street food is also the safest way to go if you’re worried about not being accustomed to the cuisine – because it has such a high turn over it’s usually always fresh, and I love mingling with the locals, and feeling like I’m part of the scene. Night markets are the best!

  34. Jennifer says:

    Satay is always a good choice. Markets are a great way to try a variety of the local cuisine and it’s usually cheap enough that you don’t feel so bad if you buy something and don’t like it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *