George Town, Penang - Street Food, Evenings


When made well, oyster omelette is all at once crispy outside and gooey delicious inside. My rating of 8 is given to this version photographed at the Lam Ah Cafe, opposite the fire station at the corner of Beach and Chulia Streets, within the UNESCO designated heritage area near Penang Harbour.  Lam Ah Cafe is open only from 1030am to 430pm, closed on Sundays.

Suggested Other Sources of Oyster Omelette:

1. Yi Garden Coffee shop, 150-152 Macalister Road near corner with Lorong Selamat - open from noon to midnight, except Sundays.

2. Song River Cafe, 65 Gurney Drive - evenings, a tourist hub. This is within walking distance from the Gurney Plaza and Paragon shopping centres towards the middle of Gurney Drive.

3. Stall at the Pulau Tikus Markets - from 630am to noon every day.

4. Bee Hooi coffee shop, at the corner of Pulau Tikus Lane and Burma Road, with the stall for the oyster omelette open from 6pm to midnight.  Please note that this coffee shop is also open in the mornings but with a different set of stall holders and therefore street food!

5.   Seng Thor Coffee Shop, 160 Carnarvon Street (near junction with Kimberly Street), open from 1pm to 530pm only and there is one day per week that they do not operate but this day is not fixed.


Suggested Sources of Choon Pniah:

1.  Beach Corner at the Batu Ferringhi  tourist strip along the main road near the beach - my rating is for a 9 out of ten.  Hainan in origin, theses are best eaten piping hot from the wok, downed with cold herbal drinks or beer and eaten with family and friends.  This hawker complex, within walking distance form the Batu Ferringhi hotels and in the midst of the evening craft and souvenir markets, is open every evening from 6pm till late.

2. Restaurant open to public at the Penang Swimming Club, Tanjung Bungah.


I am referring to the Chinese styled rojak, which cleverly combines texture, taste and health for snacks or dessert consideration.   When you bite into this heady mix, you can find this dish simultaneously spicy, salty, stinky, savoury, sourish and sweet on your palate.

Cucumbers, guava, skinned pineapples, green mango, jicama shreds, peanuts and a sauce that blends in dark soy sauce, belacan (or the toasted dried shrimp with chili paste), castor sugar, tamarind juice and soaked and deseeded chilis. It must  have garnishings that include the toasted sesame seeds and the black shrimp-based paste unique to Penang - the Hae Kor.   The only oily stuff that perhaps is included are cuts of the deep fried Chinese dough - you tiau in Mandarin or the eu char koay in Fujian dialect - that you can ask to be not included in your own serving.

Suggested Sources of Rojak:
1.  Penang styled Chinese inspired rojak at stall in the New World Park, Swatow Lane 10am to 5pm.

2.  Hock Seng Rojak King, open from 11am to 5pm, at MaCallum Street near Cecil Street Ghaut, in front of Sin Hong Leong coffee shop.

3.  Joo Hooi Coffee shop at 475 Penang Road, at corner with Keng Kwee Street, also good for Cendol.

4.  101 Rojak Ho Wei Jeng, at the Esplanade, open every night from 7pm till midnight except Wednesdays.

5.  Stall 77 Rojak at the Gurney Drive Food Centre, near the northern end of Gurney Drive, Gurney Plaza and Paragon Shopping Centres. Closed on both Mondays and Tuesdays, otherwise open from 7pm.


The Pho noodle soup in Vietnam is outstanding for the richness and uniqueness of its soup.   The same white coloured narrow rice noodles are used in the Penang version, which utilises less spice and beef and more chicken when preparing its stock.  Vital are fresh ingredients like thin pork or chicken slices, fish cake bites, shallots. aromatic pepper and ginger, minced pork or fish paste balls, wanton dumplings and choi sum greens.

Suggested Sources of Koay Teow Thng:

1.  Sky Emperor Stall offering braised chicken feet with Koay Teow Thng at Kimberly Street, not far from junction with Sungei Ujong Road.  Open for business from 6pm to 10pm.

2.   Eel fish ball Koay Teow Thng at 183 Carnarvon Street from 9am to 430pm, except on Sundays and Mondays.  Amazingly, this place is called Pitt Street Koay Teow Thng.

3.   Beef rice noodle soup at the Lam Ah Coffee Shop, at corner of Beach and Chulia Streets, open from 1030am to 4pm, closed on Sundays.  This place is also worth a try for the oyster omelette.

The three  outlets indicated above are within the Chinese section of the UNESCO designated heritage area of George Town.


Satay must be the most well known dish for visitors, especially back packers,  to south-east Asia apart from the roti - and variations are found in Central Asia, the Indian sub-continent and in East Asia.  The well chosen tender and succulent  marinated meat is lovingly placed in skewers, swiped with lemongrass juice and grilled ideally over charcoal.  I love the satay in Hoi An Vietnam; Kajang  Selangor, Malaysia; and night food markets all over Thailand.

In Penang, the Chinese operated outlets have satay served in pork or chicken versions.  Muslim stalls only provide beef, mutton and chicken variations, but come with the ketupat, a traditional rice cake often steamed in bamboo covers.  The satay skewers are normally served with cut onions, sliced cucumbers and the must-have, a rich yummy peanut gravy that brings out more in the grilled meat.

Suggested Sources of Satay:

1.   Satay stall opposite Maxim Cafe at corner of New Lane and Macalister Road, open 6pm to 11pm.

2.    Red Garden Cafe, 20 Leith Street in the UNESCO designated heritage area of George Town, near to upper Penang Road. A tourist gathering area in the evenings!

3.  Kheng Pin Coffee Shop, 80 Penang Road - at the corner of Upper Penang Road and Sri Bahari Road.  This place is also well known for its lobak.   Opens from 7am till early afternoon.

Do check out:


Hae Mee is known well in both Singapore and Penang Islands, with a version in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong called Har Mee.   Served with a combination of yellow Hokkien noodles and vermicelli, it is tasty because of the richness of its prawn shell based soup and a variety of ingredients like thin sliced lean pork, squid and fish cakes, bean sprouts, pork lard bits, de-veined prawns and kangkong or local water spinach greens.  

Chili condiment is provided according to your preference and there are also crispy deep fried shallots to complete the act!   The dish came with Fujian immigrants settling in Malaya and Singapore in the 19th century.  The same yellow Hokkien noodles also provide the basis for another dish, stir fried with a rich gravy, Hokkien Char.  In the Klang Valley with Kuala Lumpur as its core, dark soy sauce is used to create a rather special version of the stir-fried Hokkien mee.

Suggested Sources of Hae Mee:

1.  Old Green House Restaurant at 223 Burma Road, open from 8pm to 4am but closed on Sundays.

2. Song River Cafe, 65 Gurney Drive – evenings, a tourist hub.  Also worth a try for its oyster omelette.

3.  Swee Kong Coffee Shop, near to junction  of Moulmein Close and Burma Road,  opposite the Pulau Tikus police station -  opening hours 6am to 9am, closed Mondays and Thursdays.

4.  Stall at the Jelutong Night Market, Penaga Road, in a suburb south of Georgetown.

 You may want to check out

POST NOTE: Do plan your route ahead when exploring Georgetown's street food.  Public transport quality can be patchy and not on schedule.  I recommend hiring a bicycle/motor bike/ car or getting a friend to drive! The weather can be warm, humid or rainy at times.  Always have pocket tissues with you, for unlike in Australia and New Zealand, no vendor offers such tissues with your food. Always be ready to be able to pack snacks or left overs. Be careful when crossing streets for motor cycles, usually small powered Hondas, as there can be a casualness with these local riders on narrow streets and pavements, especially in the UNESCO designated heritage zones. Most businesses open late from 11am.  

At the time of this posting, most of the dishes recommended in this blog post cost from Malaysian Ringgit 3 to 5 per serving.  Coffee and most other drinks  in traditional coffee shops ask for a couple of Malaysian ringgit on average. The GST is planned to be introduced to Malaysia from April 2015. For local barista places, be prepared to pay around Malaysian Ringgit 4 to 8 for their drinks.

Common Malay words in maps are as follows: Jalan is a road, Lebuh refers to a street, Solok indicates a cup-de-sac,  Lorong means a lane and Lebuhraya is an avenue.  Jalan sehala indicates one way only for vehicle traffic.

Have on hand small currency notes - and a coin purse to handle change.  When consuming street food on a provided table in a food court or traditional coffee shop, you are expected to order drinks from the drinks stall. Street food stalls can be finicky handling opening hours, it can depend  on their other job, festive days and ingredients running out. The above food outlets featured in this specific blog post begin their business only from evening and often until midnight, unless otherwise stated.  Portions can be rather small when compared to what you have in Asian outlets in Western countries but it is a perfect opportunity to sample the variety of what is available before you go to hit the gym, beach or park.  Acknowledgement and thanks to several of my family and friends, especially Mr Philip Yeoh for their valued guidance and efforts in helping us secure a spectrum of street food places in February 2015. Feedback from readers of this blog post is most welcome.


Tze Yin said…
Looking forward to enjoying the food when we get to Penang!

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