I was in George Town , Penang in March 2014. In this post, I will be recommending some food that I tried in my short 3 days stay there. To be sure, this is not a best-of-the-best list. The list is simply what I opine to be the best food I’ve tried getting around George Town on foot.
Pro-tip: Because there is so much great food to try, you can try what I did and just order one dish from each stall to share. You’ll be happy you did.
Food, glorious food
Penang Char Koay Teow
This stall should be familiar to many people who are fans of Char Kway Teow who have been to George Town. You can identify the stall by the lady chef with the red hat. The really special thing about this stall is that they use a charcoal stove to fry your noodles, lending it a very nice smoky flavor that you just can’t get with a normal stove.
Depending when you come, waiting times for your order can take up to 30 minutes or more. You may take this time to order a drink and observe the lady chef as she fries up Char Kway Teow to order. These hawkers are truly a delight to watch. We ordered a plate for 9RM .
The noodles did not disappoint. The flavors were robust and had that nice smoky fragrance. The ingredients used were also fresh. However, it is the experience of sitting in the coffee shop and watching the lady chef as she works the wok that seals the deal for me.
Penang Char Koay Teow @ Lorong Selamat
Address: Kafe Heng Huat, 108 Lorong Selamat, Penang, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 11am – 6pm / Closed on Tuesdays
Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol
What better way to cool down in the blistering afternoon heat than with a bowl of Chendol? Along the street where you will find “Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol”, Lebuh Keng Kwee , you can also find their competitor – “Penang Road Famous Cendol”.
To be honest, we just went with what other food bloggers recommend and do not think there is much of a difference between the two stalls. You can have your Chendol in a sheltered stall near the cart after you have ordered.
This was to me a slightly different version of the Singapore Chendol that I am familiar with with a more watered-down coconut milk and more aromatic Gula Melaka. Each bowl costs 2RM.
Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol@ Lebuh Keng Kwee
Address: Lebuh Keng Kwee, off Penang Road
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 10.30am – 7pm; Sat & Sun 10am – 7.30pm
Just beside the “Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol stall” , you will find another quintessential Penang dish, Assam Laksa. In this laksa iteration, the laksa tastes both spicy and sour . Fish and Tamarind based by nature, Assam Laksa from the stall is served with a spoonful of thick sweet prawn sauce.
This was a new dish to me but I loved that it had big, bold flavours. You can also find flakes of fish in the mildly spicy soup. If you come to Penang and try one dish, this is one that absolutely must try, if only for the experience.
Address: Lebuh Keng Kwee, off Penang Road
Opening Hours: Unknown
Ming Xiang Tai Cake and Pastries
Because George Town is a rather small town, it’s perfect to be explored by foot. One of the advantages of exploring this way is that you are able to stop whenever you want and take the time to try things that you really like. Like Egg tarts.
Once there, make a beeline for the cashier and order a healthy portion of freshly baked egg tarts. The egg tarts were melt in your mouth and though my personal preference is for a more biscuit-like pastry, I did mind not the flaky pastry too much. They have a pandan flavored egg tart and other pastries as well.
Address: 133 Jalan Burmah
Opening Hours: All days 8am – 11pm
Other things to do
Cafe and museums
Taking a break from eating, you can also go cafe-hopping too. Cafes and Museums can be found in two distinct areas in George Town. One in the Lorong Pantai and another in the Love Lane area.
What are these cafes and museums themed about? We visited one that had a camera theme and another that was cat themed. There were others – toy themed ones, chocolate ones – I’m sure that many interesting ones were about. With ample research, you can go to one that you are enamored with.
The street art scene is also very much alive and well in George Town.With wildly imaginative street art, many of them with interesting stories, a shutterbug can have a field day or two taking pictures in George Town. You may read more about where you can find George Town’s street in this brochure.
Better yet, follow the embeded map below.
You may find it interesting that one of the more prominent Street Art artists, Ernest Zacharevic, have works in Singapore as well!
With delicious food , fascinating museums and cafes and wonderful street art, tourists will be left with nary a dull moment. It is recommended that you spend the early mornings and late afternoons walking about the streets searching for food and art and the scorching afternoons cooling off in a cafe or museum.
Till next time!
How to get there
Major budget carriers have low-cost flights from Singapore to Penang Airport. You may check out farecompare for additional information about ticket prices.
From the Penang airport, it is a 30 minute cab down to your preferred hotel in George Town.