Penang Hawker Food
lists out all the famous hawker food in Penang, and provides suggestions of where you can go to enjoy them. If you love Penang hawker food, you have come to the right place.
Name of Hawker Food
Penang is such a food paradise, it would be a great shame to let language stand between you and enjoying all our hawker delights. For the benefit of visitors and tourists who are not familiar with Penang Hokkien and Malay, every food item now includes audio-on-demand voice output. You can click on the audio to listen to how each food item is called.
Ordering Food in Penang
To help you order, try out and enjoy the various food items listed below, I have included the audio output for placing the minimum order. You can either learn how to say it, and repeat it to the hawker, or if that is still too daunting, bring along a smart phone or tablet, and playback the audio to the hawker. Translation is also provided in brackets so that you know what you are ordering.
Penang Hawker Food Video Guide
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Creamy dessert broth made from grounded almonds.
To order, say this: Hng3yin3cha3 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of almond cream.)
Indian paper-flake pancake. Also known simply as Apong in Hokkien.
Apom is usually sold by Indian hawkers by value, presently around RM2 for four pieces. To order, say this: Apom dua ringgit.
(Apom two ringgit.)
Nyonya foldover pancake.
As with apom, the apom balek is also sold by Chinese hawkers by value, presently around RM2 for 4-5 pieces. To order, say this: A3pom3 ba3lek1 nor3 khor1.
(Apom balek two ringgit.)
Ark1 Thooi4 Mee3 Suah3
Duck drumstick in a herbal soup.
To order, say this: Ark1thooi4 mee3suah3 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Ark Thooi Mee Suah.)
Bak1 Kut1 Teh2
Pork-rib herbal soup meal.
Chinese-style pork porridge.
To order, say this: Bak1moy2 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Bak Moy.)
Ban1 Cien3 Koay4
Chinese peanut pancake
To order, say this: Ban1cien3koay4 cit3 tay3.
(One piece of Ban Chien Koay.)
Bee1 Koh3 Moy2
Black glutinous rice porridge taken as afternoon dessert.
To order, say this: Bee1koh3moy2 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Bee Koh Moy.)
Gu3 Bak1 Wan2
Noodles served with beef balls and minced beef.
To order, say this: Gu3bak3 bi1hun4 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Gu Bak Bihun.)
Bu3bur1 Cha3 Cha3
Cubes of sweet potatoes, taros and sago pearls in sweet coconut milk
To order, say this: Bu3bur1 cha3cha3 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Bubur Cha Cha.)
Dessert of green starch-noodle in coconut milk and palm sugar.
To order, say this: Cen1dol1 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of cendol.)
Char1 Koay1 Teow2
Stir Fried Rice Noodles.
To order, say this: Char1koay1teow cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of Char Koay Teow.)
Chee1 Cheong3 Fun2
Steamed flat rice noodle rolls in hae ko
(shrimp paste sauce) and huan cheo chiau
(chili sauce). Penang version differs from Chee Cheong Fun available elsewhere in the country.
To order, say this: Chee1cheong3fun2 nor3 tiau2.
(One rolls of chee cheong fun.)
Meal of Hainanese origin of rice cooked in chicken stock, and served with roasted or steamed chicken, or both, on a bed of cucumbers, some times accompanied by beansprouts, spring onions or parsley.
To order, say this: Kay3pnui3 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of chicken rice.)
Sah1 Po1 Kay3 Pnui3
Popular hawker dish of chicken and rice cooked in a claypot with Chinese sausages and dried salted fish.
To order, say this: Sah1po1 Kay3pnui3 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of claypot chicken rice.)
Spicy soup of egg noodles and rice noodles with various ingredients.
To order, say this: Curry Mee cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of curry mee.)
If you want to withold any of these ingredients from your curry mee, say this: no chilli
, no prawns
, no cockles
, no bean sprouts
, no coagulated blood
, no soyabean puffs
, no cuttlefish
, no mint leaves
Fried rice noodle fast food.
To order, say this: Pan3gee2 bi1hun4 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of economy bihun.)
Eu3 Ca3 Koay4 [iu-tsa-koe]
Chinese bread sticks taken on their own or with porridge.
To order, say this: Eu3ca3koay4 nor3 tiau2. (One sticks of eu cha koay.)
Char1 Hor3 Fun2
Stir-fried flat rice noodle dish.
To order, say this: Char1hor3fun2 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of Char Hor Fun.)
Succulent oysters fried in an egg omelette topped with parsley or coriander.
To order, say this: Oh2 Cien1 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of Fried Oyster.)
Nyonya sweet wheat porridge often taken during afternoon tea.
To order, say this: Gan3dom1 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Gandum.)
Deep-fried banana fritters.
The banana fritters are usually sold by a pack by Malay orders, and by individual pieces by Chinese hawkers. To order, say this to a Malay hawker: Pisang goreng satu bungkus.
(One packet of banana fritters.) Or say this to a Chinese hawker: Go3reng3 pi3sang1 cit3 leh2.
(One banana fritter).
Gu3 Bak1 Koay1 Teow2
Beef soup with flat rice noodles.
To order, say this: Gu3 Bak1 Koay1 Teow2 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Gu Bak Koay Teow.)
Hokkien-style fried egg-noodle dish.
To order, say this: Hokkien Char4 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of Hokkien Char.)
Similar to Hokkien Mee, spicy noodle in prawn-based soup, often with the inclusion of spare ribs.
To order, say this: Har1 Mee3 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Har Mee.)
To withhold chilli, say this: mai1 huan3cio1
Noodle in spicy prawn-based soup topped with fried onion and kangkung
To order, say this: Hokkien Mee3 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Hokkien Mee.)
To withhold chilli, say this: mai1 huan3cio1
Hoo3 Bak3 Bi1hun4
Fish meat rice noodle soup.
To order, say this: Hu3 Bak3 Bi1hun4 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Hu Bak Bihun.)
Hum3 Chin1 Peng2
Deep-fried yeast dough, some times called the Chinese donut.
To order, say this: Hum3 Chin1 Peng2 cit3 tay3.
(One piece of Hum Chin Peng.)
Ang3 Tau3 Sng1
Sweet dessert of shaved ice, red beans and other ingredients.
To order, say this: Ang3 Tau3 Sng1 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Ice Kacang.)
Egg noodle in potato-based tomato gravy, topped with sliced boiled eggs, prawns, beancurd, fritters, a sprinkling of toasted grounded peanuts and chilli paste.
To order, say this: Jawa Mee3 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of Jawa Mee.)
Chunks of rice cakes fried with eggs, bean sprouts and chye por
(preserved vegetable bits).
To order, say this: Koay1 Kark3 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of Koay Kark.)
Koay1 Teow3 Thng1
Flat rice noodle soup with slices of chicken meat, fish balls, fish cakes, minced meat.
To order, say this: Koay1 Teow3 Thng1 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Koay Teow Thng.)
Fish-based spicy rice noodle soup. Penang version, known elsewhere as Penang laksa, differs greatly from laksa available elsewhere in the country - almost every state has its own version.
To order, say this: Lak1sa4 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Laksa.)
To withhold chilli, say this: mai1 huan3cio1
Lek3 Tau3 Thng1
Nyonya sweet broth made from green beans
To order, say this: Lek3 Tau3 Thng1 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Lek Tau Thng.)
Mixed dish of deep-fried titbits that may include Lor Bak (meat rolls), boiled egg, taukua
(tofu), prawn fritters, octopus, ikan pari
(ray) and sausage.
Ordering Lor Bak requires you to point to the item you want, and it will be deepfried for you. So point to one item and say this: Hor3 wah4 cit1leh1.
(Give me this). For the next item, point to it and say: cit1leh1.
( ... and this)
Egg noodles and rice noodles in dark starchy broth, with chicken meat, julienne shittake mushroom, chicken feet, and garnished with minced garlic sauce.
To order, say this: Loh1 Mee3 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Lor Mee.)
Indian fried noodle with fritters, beancurd, egg, prawn, squid, and a dash of lemon.
Mee goreng is usually sold by Indian Muslim hawkers. To order, say this: Mee goreng satu.
(One mee goreng.)
Indian cooked noodle with fritters, beancurd, egg, prawn, squid, and a dash of lemon.
Mee rebus is also usually sold by Indian Muslim hawkers. To order, say this: Mee rebus satu.
(One mee rebus.)
Mee3 Snua1 Tau1
Vermicelli soup with shreded crab meat
To order, say this: Mee3 Snua1 Tau1 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of Mee Snua Tau.)
Malay-style prawn noodle.
Mee rebus is also usually sold by Malay hawkers. To order, say this: Mee udang satu.
(One mee udang.)
Peanut-coated glutinous rice-balls.
To order, say this: Muah3 Chee2 cit3 pau1.
(One pack of Muah Chee.)
Indian Muslim-style stuffed pancake.
Murtabak is also usually sold by Indian Muslim hawkers. To order, say this: Murtabak satu.
Meal of Indian Muslim origin of rice served with a variety of self-selected dishes.
To order nasi kandar, first request for the rice, then point to the dishes you want. Start by saying this: Nasi satu pinggan.
(One plate of rice please). Then point to the items you want and say: dengan ini.
( ... with this). Continue the "dengan ini" for the next item. The seller will then drench your rice with various gravy. If you want less gravy, say "kuah sikit"
. If you want it well drenched, say "basah"
A Malay-style meal of rice cooked in tomato paste and served with a selection of dishes.
Nasi tomato is usually sold by set, which includes a piece of chicken. To order, say this: Nasi tomato satu set.
(One set of nasi tomato).
A colourful array of local cookies.
Buying Nyonya Kuih requires you to point to the item you want, and it will be packed up for you. So point to one item and say this: Hor3 wah4 cit1leh1.
(Give me this). Continue by pointing to the next item and say: kah1 cit1leh1.
( ... and this)
Steamed yam cakes topped with dried shrimp, fried shallots, springonion and slided red chilli.
To order, say this: Or3 Koay4 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of Or Koay.)
Steamed fishcake drapped in banana leaves.
To order, say this: Otak Otak cit3 pau1.
(One packet of Otak-Otak.)
Flour-based noodle, served either dry and in soup.
To order the dry pan mee, say this: Ta1-eh3 pan2 mee3 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of dry pan mee.) To order the soup pan mee, say this: Tam2-eh3 pan2 mee3 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of wet pan mee.)
Fried titbits and shreded vegetable salad in sweet-and-spicy sauce.
Pasembur is sold by both Indian Muslim and Chinese vendors. To order from the Indian Muslim vendor, say this: pasembur satu.
(One pasembur). To order from the Chinese vendor, say this: Chnae3hu2 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of pasembur).
To withhold chilli, say this: "kurang pedas"
to the Indian Muslim hawker and "mai1 huan3cio1"
to the Chinese hawker.
Nyonya sweet broth often taken during Chap Goh Meh.
To order pengat, say this: Pe3ngat1 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of pengat.)
Teochew-style springroll with a filling comprising turnip, beancurd, egg bits and a dash of chilli paste and sweet sauce.
Popiah is sold by rolls, with minimum order usually being two rolls. To order, say this: Po3piah4 nor3 kap3.
(Two rolls of popiah.) If you want the vendor not to put any chilli sauce, say mai1 huan3cio1.
Indian-style steamed rice cupcakes.
Puthu cawan is usually sold by packs of two or three pieces. To order, say this: Putu cawan satu bungkus.
(One packet of puthu cawan).
Indian-style steamed rice vermicelli cakes. It is usually sold by packs of one to three pieces. To order, say this: Putu Mayong satu.
(One pack of putu mayong).
Indian-style steamed rice cakes with filling of brown sugar. It is usually sold by packs of one to three pieces. To order, say this: Putu Piring satu bungkus.
(One pack of putu piring).
Sio3 Ark1 Pnui33
Chinese rice meal of rice with roasted duck, usually served with a salted vegetable soup (kiam3 chye1 boey4
). To the hawker, say: Sio3 Ark1 pnui33 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of roasted duck rice).
Mixed fruit salad in prawn-paste sauce sold by Chinese, Malay and Indian Muslim hawkers. To Chinese hawker, say: Ro1jak1 cit3 leh2.
(One rojak) and to the Malay or Indian Muslim hawkers, say: Rojak satu.
(One rojak). To withhold chilli, say "mai1 huan3cio1"
to the Chinese hawker and "kurang pedas"
to the Malay or Indian Muslim hawker.
Chinese-style deepfried stuffed bread. Note that the Chinese often slur the "r" of "roti" to make it sound like "l".
To order, say this: ro3ti3 ba3bi1 cit3pnua2.
. (One plate of roti babi.)
Indian Muslim flatbread. To order, say this: roti canai satu.
(One roti canai).
Malay-style lacy crepe. It is usually sold in a set with gravy. To order, say this: roti jala satu set.
(One set of roti jala).
Sar1 Hor3 Fun2
Broad rice noodle dish. To order, say this: Sar1hor3fun3 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of Sar Hor Fun).
Malaysian-style kebab. Satay is sold by Chinese as well as Malay hawkers. Minimum order of satay is usually ten sticks. To order from the Chinese hawker, say this: Sa1tay4 cap3 chiam4.
(Ten sticks of satay). From the Malay hawker, say this: Satay sepuluh.
(Ten sticks of satay).
Tau3 Sah3 Pneah4
Green bean pastry. This is sold by the box. To order, say this: Tau3 Sah3 Pneah4 cit3 ak1.
(One box of Tau Sah Pneah)
Wan3 Than1 Mee3
Egg noodle dish with wonton
(Chinese ravioli), barbecued pork and vegetable. Available in dry form and in soup. To order the dry version, say this: Ta1-eh3 Wan3 Than1 Mee3 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of dry Wan Than Mee.) To order the wet version, say this: Tam2-eh3 Wan3 Than1 Mee3 cit3 wna4.
(One bowl of wet Wan Than Mee.)
Rice cooked with yam. This is sold as a set with soup and other items. To order, say this: Or3 Pnui3 cit3 set1.
(One set of Yam Rice).
Yee1 Foo1 Mee3
Cantonese egg noodles. To order, say this: Yee1 Foo1 Mee3 cit3 pnua2.
(One plate of Yee Foo Mee).
Yong3 Tau3 Foo3
Hakka-style stuffed beancurd and other selected items in a soup. To order, select the items you want the hawker to cook and pass the bowl to him/her.
Jelutong Market Lor Mee, in my opinion the best in Penang (1 September, 2012)
The Background on Penang Hawker Food
Most of Penang's hawker food have their origin as food for blue collar workers in the 19th and early 20th century. The coolies working in the harbor, the ricksaw peddlars, and others engaged in heavy labor required food that give them energy at a low cost. As is the usual case, necessity was the mother of invention, and through such a need came Penang street food such as the Char Koay Teow, Curry Mee and Hokkien Mee, three dishes that originated in Penang. Indeed, there is no equivalent to the curry mee and Hokkien mee elsewhere in Malaysia, which has their own variation of street food, often holding the same name as in Penang, but looking very different from the Penang version.
The Penang Food Directory attempts to put a face to all the street food that is available in Penang. Having listed the foods, we then advise where to find them. Read also the other page on Penang Food
in this website.
How to use the Penang Food Directory
If you are living in Penang, or you've just arrived in Penang, and you're looking for a specific Penang food item, the first thing you do is to scroll down to that item. For example, scroll to Char Koay Teow. Click to enter. On the Char Koay Teow page, you are given a broad list of coffee shops where it is sold. Every food item is illustrated with a location map which you can zoom in-and-out and scroll about, so you never have to think hard to find the location. Select one which is most convenient for you, according to where you are staying, or when it is sold. Alternatively, look at the number of votes each stall receive, and visit the one with high scores. Easy, isn't it? Good luck on your gourmet journey!
Related Pages on Penang Food
This is just one of many pages on food in Penang. For more, see the list below:
- Penang Food Directory
- Penang Coffee Shops
- Penang Nyonya Kuih
- Penang Nyonya Dishes
- Penang Nyonya Sweet Broths
- Penang Nyonya Chinese New Year Cookies
- Penang Nasi Kandar Restaurants
- Penang Vegetarian Restaurants
- Penang Seafood Restaurants
- Penang Restaurants
- Fast Food Chains in Penang
- Penang Bistros & Bars
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