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George Town, Penang - Street Food Midday


The Poh Pniah or "thin biscuit' in Fujian dialect - delectable, delicious and divine as made by the Padang Brown stall, only available from 12 noon onwards until sold out.  My rating for this particular dish is a 8.5 out of ten.  Freshly made poh pniah skin is a good start - followed by filling in fresh and adequately textured ingredients like crabmeat, dried shrimp, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, cooked pork bits, grated Chinese turnip (or jicama), cut lettuce and grated carrots. The sauce is made with blending soy, rice wine, Hoisin sauce and oyster sauce.

Suggested Other Sources of Poh Pniah:

1. Sin Yin Nam Cafe at New Lane junction near Macalister Road.  New Lane has been localised in name to 'Lorong Baru".

2.  Kek Seng coffee shop, 382-384 Penang Road, open daily from 8am to 5pm.

3.   Stall at New World Park food court, Swatow Lane (from 11am to 4pm each day).

4.   Wah Leong Coffee Shop, along Burma Road.

High hygienic practices can be adhered by street food stalls in George Town.


Fresh fruit and veg juices and slices are essential to stay refreshed and quenched in an equatorial climate.  This scene is from the New World Park at Swatow Lane,  where a visit often means compulsorily having the Ais Kacang, a concoction of ice shaving, sweetness, crunchiness and delight!  The New World Park is open from 11am to 4pm each day.  I score the Ais Kacang here an 8 out of ten.

The Cendol is another dessert common throughout South-east Asia (for example in Thailand it is known as Lod Chong; in Vietnam, Banh Lot; and in Bandung and Yogyakarta, Jendot).    The Penang version is served chilled, has strong hints of palm sugar with coconut milk mixed with shaved ice and garnished with red beans, black grass jelly bits and the compulsory green coloured rice flour bits.  The green colour is obtained from using extracts of Pandanus leaves.

Suggested Other Sources of Ais Kacang:

1.  Kek Seng coffee shop, 382-384 Penang Road, open daily from 8am to 5pm.

2.  Low Eng Hoo Coffee Shop, Lorong Selamat near Macalister Road.

Suggested Source of Cendol:

1.  Stall for Teochew Cendol, Junction of Penang Road with Keng Kwee Street,  near Chowrasta Market.  A tourist gathering point! There are also branches of this dotted across other suburbs of Penang Island.


I found  the Thai laksa, pictured above,  allowing me to soak our palates in the aroma of Thai herbs and spices.  Photo shows an appreciated home made version.
The difference between curry laksa and the other types of laksa described here is that in the latter,  the use of grounded fish in the soup base - and in the sourish taste, often garnished with cut Spanish onions, fresh chili bits,  sliced cucumbers and thicker noodles.
There are four types of laksa  - the curry laksa, the tamarind based laksa, the lemak or coconut milk based version and the Thai aromatic herbs recipe.

Suggested Sources of Tamarind Based Laksa:

1. Stalls in Air Itam Market near the Kek Lok Si Temple Complex in Air Itam (Black Water Village).  Popular with tourists.
2. Stalls in the Balik Pulau Market food court - this is on the western side of Penang island and not in George Town.  A gathering point for visitors from outside Balik Pulau.
3. Kek Seng Coffee Shop, 382-384 Penang Road, open from 800am to 5pm.
4. Kheng Pin coffee shop, 80 Penang Road, at corner of upper Penang and Sri Bahari Roads. Closed on Mondays, the coffee shop is otherwise one from 7am to 3pm.
5.  New World Park food court, Swatow Lane - from 11am to 4pm daily.
6.  Swee Kong Coffee Shop, near the corner of Moulmein and Burma Roads, opposite the Pulau Tikus police station.
7. Joo Hooi Cafe, 475 Penang Road - corner with Keng Kwee Street (refer to Cendol entry above)


A yummy Fujian special - tang hoon, or the glass vermicelli, seen at an oyster noodle shop (open from noon till sold out) in Lintang MacCullum, an area land reclaimed from the Penang Channel.  The noodles are slimy yummy and the flavours of the prawns permeate throughout.  My rating for this dish as shown above an 8 out of ten.


Teatime favourite of mine - chicken curry puffs, which can  be found in various versions, the best of which I prefer are either based on the south Indian or Straits Chinese recipes. The trick is in the crust! Photo taken at the Continental Bakery in Georgetown ( at 33 Nagore Road and open from 10an to 7pm every day - last orders taken by 4pm).


How they make and store the cooling Guangzhou herbal teas at an outlet along Kimberly Street.
Kimberly Street is within the UNESCO designated heritage area of Georgetown.  Also worth trying in this shop is the Guilin jelly, which  is a good option during the late afternoon - my rating is a 7 out of  ten for this dessert.


These pies are especially appealing to my eye!  I have not eaten a banana pie before.
Continental Bakery at 33 Nagore Road.


The name of this dish can be a misnomer in Penang.  Unlike the curry laksa, not much curry paste is utilised at all in this dish.  Instead what is critical to the soup of the Penang curry mee is the sambal condiment, which is made by the choice of good quality fermented shrimp paste, chili paste, garlic, onion, salt and sugar.  

For obtaining the variation of white curry mee, the chicken and prawn shell based soup is always cooked and served separately from the noodles, so that the customer can decide on how much colour to have for his or her final choice of soup - akin to the Swiss practice of serving chocolate separately from milk.  The colour from the Penang curry mee comes from how much chili and coconut milk are used in proportion.

Ingredients then added to the noodles and soup are commonly coagulated pig's blood, chicken slices, bean sprouts and the puffed bean curd (the tau hoo pok), 

Penang offers its own variation of the curry laksa, in the white curry mee, which had a spike in popularity in 2014.

Suggested Sources of Penang Curry Mee:

1. Tua Pui curry mee at 23 Kimberly Street from 9am to 5pm -  in George Town UNESCO designated heritage area.

2. Bee Hooi Coffee Shop at the corner of Pulau Tikus Lane and Burma Road, with the curry mee stall open in the mornings.  Please note that this coffee shop is also open for business at night, nut with different stalls and street food.

3. New Cathy Cafe, corner of Kuching Lane and Burma Road, opposite the Union Primary Girls School. Evenings only. Closed on Sundays.

4. Coffee shop at corner of Naning Street and Lorong Seratus Tahun in George Town UNESCO designated heritage area. 

5. Stall at the Pulau Tikus Market each morning.

6. Taman Emas coffee shop near corner of Gottlieb and Scott Roads, opposite the Penang Chinese Girls High School. Opening hours are from noon to 5pm.


The hot wok is used to stir fry broad based rice noodles and vermicelli, with other ingredients of prawns, octopus,  pork or chicken, eggs and local green with stems on. There is a gelatinous sheen over the noodles. Many years ago, some vendor in George Town started making a-go-go dancing moves while stir frying the Sar Hor Fun - he must have loved his job and was a showman at heart!  The heat of a good wok shows through in the aroma of the finished product - so if the wok has been used cooking this all day, it really radiates through in the taste which can be a bit burnt but which brings up the quality of this dish.

Suggested Sources of Sar Hor Fun:

1.  Foo Heong Restaurant, 56-58 Cintra Street, open by lunch time.

2.   Hon Kei Food Corner/ Cafe, 55 Lorong Kampung Malabar, open from morning.

(Note - within the Chinatown section of the UNESCO Heritage walking trail area)


It may sound like a person's name in the Cantonese dialect, but this is truly a whiz of a pick-me-up on the run.  Usually eaten for breakfast, in Penang, it is readily available at any time of the day, but at different outlets.  The dish on first impression looks like rolls of rice noodles, cut into squares or in cross sections, smeared with sweet hoisin sauce and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds spread out on your serving plate - but the crucial ingredients are the variety of chili based sauces used to lift up the taste! These can be made from sambal or just the hot sauce in commercially available bottles.  XO sauce and soy sauce are also put into the mix.  The resulting outcomes will then determine the quality of any particular serving in front of you.

Suggested Sources of Chee Cheong Fun:

1.  Seow Fong Lye Chee Cheong Fun at 94C Macalister Lane - opening hours are from 730am to 1230pm.

2.  Cheong Kok Choy stall at New Lane (or Lorong Baru), off Macalister Road.  Opening hours are from 630pm to 1130pm.

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  cul-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  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 are open from lunch time, 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…
I love the comparison of deciding how much colour for your curry mee to the Swiss practice of serving chocolate separately from milk!
Kin Yuen said…
Haha, Yin, I love my chocolate too!

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