Updated: Feb 15
Penang is known among both locals and foreigners for being a food haven made up of some of the very best flavors that Southeast Asia has to offer.
Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, races, and traditions and this tiny island state is where you can find a diverse array of things to do in Penang, attractions, historical remnants, and amazing cuisine.
With a collection of Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes, along with fusion specialties related to the Peranakan and Baba Nyonya, it’s no wonder that so many people flock to George Town (the capital of Penang). Among the many delicacies, noodles seem to be pretty popular.
Let’s explore some of the prominent noodle dishes in George Town and where you can find them.
*Note for Muslim visitors: inquire about Halal status upon visit.
Siam Road Char Kway Teow
Char Kway Teow is a flat noodle dish that is enjoyed by Malaysians nationwide (and tourists from abroad). It’s a local favorite that sits beside other legendary dishes like Nasi Lemak and Rendang (non-crispy).
The Siam Road Char Kway Teow stall is in a league of its own. The owner, Uncle Tan, is 77 years old and has been refining his signature smoky Char Kway Teow for a long time now. It’s made using a charcoal technique that brings out a world of flavors.
It’s definitely worth dropping by, seeing that Uncle Tan’s creation was ranked 14th in the Top 50 World Street Food Masters Awards in 2017.
CY Choy Road Hokkien Mee
Char Kway Teow isn’t the only noodle dish in town. Hokkien Mee is easily considered one of Penang’s trendiest dishes. If you head down CY Choy Road, you’ll find one of the most frequented Hokkien Mee stalls in George Town.
This particular dish is drenched in a pork-based soup and only costs about RM4. There are other additional sides that you can choose along with the Mee, including fish balls and pork innards.
Hameed Pata Mee Sotong
Maybe you’re on the lookout for something a little special. Well, Hameed Pata Mee Sotong might be able to accommodate your taste buds. This place is incredibly popular among locals and tourists alike and has become somewhat of a legendary haunt for many who reside in Penang. The reason? The amazing Mee Sotong (Noodles with Squid) dish that the expert chefs are so good at cooking up.
It has a tomato soup base and fresh squid slices that give the noodles an incredibly scrumptious flavor. You can opt for a spicier version of the same dish, which offers a smoky, slightly sweet and extremely hot sensation which is just as good. Aside from the noodles, this spot is also pretty famous for its Penang Rojak.
Lum Lai Duck Meat Koay Teow Th’ng
Nestled within the Cecil Street Food market, this old stall has been around for three decades now, garnering a whole host of loyal customers. During the lunch hour, you can see people arrive in droves as they queue for their favorite dish.
Lum Lai Duck Meat Koay Teow Th’ng is made up of dark and juicy duck meat and a savory broth with garlic and fat drippings. There are other additions that you can order to bring out the fantastic tastes of the main dish.
Wanton Noodles – Lebuh Chulia
Lebuh Chulia is a spot in George Town just off the corner of Lebuh Carnavon. Also known as Chulia Street, this quiet area slowly becomes a bustling food haunt by night, and there’s a particular vendor here that is exceptionally famous for some compellingly tasty Wanton noodles (a popular dish in Malaysia).
Famous food aficionado Anthony Bourdain even sang the praises of this particular dish (but it was a reputable stall long before he even came around).
These Wanton noodles are boiled, before being dipped in cool water and reheated to achieve a springy texture. It’s served in a dark sauce and comes ready with char siew slices.
*Note: This area has had cases of food poisoning and hygiene issues in the past, so be careful what you order or skip this place altogether if you aren’t feeling confident.
Classic Hokkien Mee
There’s a Kopitiam (Café) at Jalan Perak, George Town, which serves a mean Hokkien Mee dish. Many consider this Hokkien Mee the Original Hokkien Mee, and you’ll see why once you have a taste.
The broth, the noodles, and the overall flavor are just so pure that you may be convinced that it really is the original Hokkien Mee. This classic dish attracts huge crowds of people daily, so be sure to come early or be prepared to wait.
Ah Mei Hokkien Mee
Yet another legendary Hokkien Mee spot, this stall serves a daily stream of fresh Hokkien Prawn Mee dishes. It closes only on Sunday and opens throughout the rest of the week. What makes Ah Mei’s Hokkien Mee so incredibly popular is its broth, made up of the essence of prawn and other wholesome ingredients that really give its flavor an edge over its competitors.
There may be slices of pork included in the dish, as well as other additions like dried chillis, belacan and bean sprouts.
Kuantan Road Curry Mee
There are plenty of famous Curry Mee derivations that can be found throughout Penang, and while the Hai Beng Coffee Shop option may not be the most prominent, it’s still a great spin-off set amidst an array of other hawker stalls found at the Tua Pek Kong Temple.
This Penang Curry Mee dish comes served with a milky broth garnished with a generous amount of mint leaves.
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