Malaysia’s Penang is one of the best places for eating well, and eating cheaply, across the whole entire world. Street food in Penang is noted for its diversity, availability, and tastiness. With something for everyone, street food in Penang offers a real treat for sampling different Malaysian and Asian cuisines.
There are hawker centres, markets, street vendors, food courts, cafes, and restaurants to choose from – almost everywhere you look will yield some form of tempting foods. There are influences from traditional Islamic cuisine, Arabic dishes, Chinese fare, Indian meals, and other Asian countries. One can also find European influences, as well as unique dishes that effortlessly blend and fuse a variety of elements.
Some top dishes to try when sampling the street food in Penang include the following:
1. Assam Laksa
This is a type of soup, served with noodles and various additions. It merges several different taste sensations for a unique flavour. Fish creates a salty taste, chillies provide a fiery kick, and tamarind adds a sour undertone. Garnished with mint for crispness, it is a filling, cheap, and tasty treat.
2. Hokkien Mee
Another soup dish on the Penang street food scene, Hokkien mee is often eaten for breakfast. The broth is made from pork and prawns, and there are noddles, vermicelli, fish balls, prawns, and a boiled egg in the soup.
3. Nasi Goreng
Various fried rice dishes are available in abundance. One can choose from a wide selection of different meats and vegetables.
4. Nasi Kandar
This is a type of Indian curry, served with plain boiled rice. Servings are often large, and various accompaniments are available – not that you will usually need them!
5. Wonton Mee
A Chinese dish originally, it consists of yellow egg noodles, with onions, chillies, wontons, and leafy Chinese vegetables, served with a sticky sauce. It can also be prepared in a soup form.
6. Koay Chiap
This is a soup that has various parts of a pig and duck floating about in the sweetly flavoured broth. It also includes noodles and a hard-boiled egg. Whilst it may not look, or sound, particularly appetizing, it is very popular in the Penang street food circuit.
Rojak is a sweet and crunchy fruit salad, served with an odd sounding sauce that consists of shrimp paste and peanuts. It sounds like it really shouldn’t work, but if you try it you are lively to be pleasantly surprised!
8. Char Kway Teow
This is a noodle based dish. The noodles are stir fried with soy sauce, prawns, scrambled egg, scallions, and bean sprouts. It is often served on a banana leaf, so is great for saving on washing up!
9. Fresh Oysters
With all that water around the island, it is no wonder that various fish and sea foods are popular. Oyster lovers will be delighted with the tremendous choice.
10. Lor Bak
This is spicy minced pork wrapped in bean curd. It is deep fried, and served with sauces for dipping. It combines crunchiness, spiciness, and the sweetness of the sauces.