Cheap Eats

Time Out Malaysia Eating and Drinking Guide - - PENANG -

Hawker 888 Hokkien Mee 72 Lorong Mah­suri 10, Bayan Baru (016 434 1919).

Even be­fore its re­cent win at the ‘Bat­tle

of the Chef’ (Hokkien Mee Cat­e­gory), or­gan­ised by Pe­nang Times Square, 888 Hokkien Mee had an ar­dent fol­low­ing and a rep­u­ta­tion for its Hokkien mee amongst Pe­nan­gites. The Hokkien mee comes with the added op­tion of gar­nish­ing the noo­dles with top-ups of pork ribs, pork skins, pork knuck­les, prawns and in­testines. It doesn’t close be­fore mid­night, so it’s a place to sa­ti­ate your post-din­ner crav­ings. Just for­get about look­ing for de­cent park­ing spots – they don’t ex­ist. So pull up by the side of the road in­stead.

Fri–Wed, 5.30pm–12mid­night. $

NEW Air Itam Mar­ket Jalan Pasar, Pekan Air Itam, Air Itam.

Apart from its popular assam laksa, Air Itam Mar­ket is hugely popular among the Air Itam com­mu­nity for its sup­ply of fresh spices, fruits and vegetables. As with any morn­ing mar­ket, it’s pep­pered with food­stalls, which makes it ideal for break­fast runs.


NEW An­son Road mar­ket food court Jalan An­son, George Town.

This hum­ble food court is tucked away in An­son Road wet mar­ket. It’s not as large as its nearby com­peti­tors but its range of lo­cal com­fort food is equally de­light­ful. There’s the de­li­cious koay teow th’ng and Hokkien mee. If you have room for more, slurp down some wan tan mee and char koay teow.


NEW Batu Fer­ringhi Beach Cor­ner Kom­pleks Baru Senja, Batu Fer­ringhi (04 881 1867).

This popular Chi­nese cof­fee shop re­cently re­lo­cated and is now close to Tarbush, the Le­banese restau­rant. It’s a fun place to en­ter­tain by the beach and the food is popular with both lo­cals and tourists. Among the must­tries are the yam duck, spring rolls, crabs in spicy gravy, and the roast lamb with ladies’ fin­gers. Child friendly. Thu–Tue, 12noon– 2.30pm, 6pm–9.30pm. $

NEW CF Food Court 49-F, Pengkalan Weld, George Town.

Once fea­tured in An­thony Bour­dain’s No Reser­va­tions, this open-air food court houses some of the finest street eats in town. Whether your crav­ing calls for Thai or Tai­wanese cui­sine, CF has it all and judg­ing from the usual crowd, the va­ri­ety is enough to sat­isfy the most dis­cern­ing Pe­nan­gite. Sit back and or­der a cold beer with a side of hawker fare, from wan tan mee to spicy tom yam.


Gur­ney Drive Hawker Cen­tre Per­siaran Gur­ney.

Gur­ney Drive Hawker Cen­tre is one of the most popular places in Pe­nang for vis­i­tors, as should be the case. It is a place of con­cil­i­a­tion for all the del­i­ca­cies one should try from Pe­nang – Pe­nang curry mee, assam laksa (noo­dles in a fish-based sour broth), ais ka­cang (a shaved ice dessert), cen­dol (a co­conut milk-based shaved ice dessert), and ro­jak (a lo­cal salad); it's per­fect for your one-stop sam­pling of what Pe­nang has to of­fer. There are down­sides, how­ever – the prices have bur­geoned along with its pop­u­lar­ity and the traf­fic around the area is leg­en­dar­ily bad.

Daily, 6pm–12mid­night. $$

NEW I Love You Café Jalan Batu Fer­ringhi, Batu Fer­ringhi.

If you’re in Batu Fer­ringhi for its night mar­ket, I Love You boasts an ar­ray of Chi­nese, Western, Per­anakan and Thai dishes to try, per­fect for sup­per. For a hearty meal, head over to the In­dian stall for a sump­tu­ous dose of biryani as well as the seafood stall for its grilled fish.


NEW Just Food 5.08-13 & 20-23, Gur­ney Paragon, Per­siaran Gur­ney (04 228 8266/www. gur­ney­

Gur­ney Paragon’s clean, con­tem­po­rary food court is armed with 20 food stalls that cover ev­ery­thing from lo­cal to in­ter­na­tional favourites (rang­ing from Korean to Thai and Syr­ian), and of course, desserts. Cheras Yong Tau Foo is good and so is Teochew Chen­dul for dessert. An ab­so­lutely sat­is­fy­ing meal here will cost you around RM10 or more, de­pend­ing on what you or­der. What’s not to miss here? The nut­meg juice from the Just Bar stall, which sells only drinks. The dis­tinct sweet flavour of nut­meg with its tan­nin-sticky tex­ture is sim­ply re­fresh­ing and un­for­get­table.

Daily, 10am–10pm. $

Long Beach Café Jalan Batu Fer­ringhi, Batu Fer­ringhi.

This food court re­ceives a reg­u­lar in­flux of tourists, but it cer­tainly doesn’t war­rant be­ing la­belled a ‘tourist trap’ – the food, while not su­pe­rior to what's of­fered else­where, is quite de­cent. How­ever, some of the dishes tend to cost a lit­tle more than other Pe­nang food courts. If you have a flex­i­ble din­ing bud­get, sam­ple any­thing from tep­pa­nyaki and chicken chop to deep-fried popiah and tan­doori chicken. While this place is right on Batu Fer­ringhi beach, you can hardly see it from where you sit to eat within this cramped square. Make the most of the lo­ca­tion by tak­ing an after-din­ner stroll along the sand un­der the moon­light. Just grab a scoop of Häa­gen-Dazs ice cream be­fore you leave the food court.

Daily, 6pm–11pm. $

New Lane Hawker Cen­tre New Lane.

Even amidst all the hawker cen­tres that have pop­u­lated Pe­nang in ear­lier eras and the del­uge of new hawker cen­tres and food courts, New Lane re­mains a favourite amongst lo­cals and some tourists. Along the stretch of road is ev­ery of­fer­ing of all the food that has come to be as­so­ci­ated with Pe­nang, and ar­guably, the best vari­a­tions of each of th­ese del­i­ca­cies; es­pe­cially no­table ones in­clude the pork in­testines por­ridge, the chee cheong fun, the apom ma­nis and the roasted chicken wing and drum stick.


Old Green House Restau­rant 223 Jalan Burma.

It’s an im­pres­sive feat for a Hokkien mee (prawn noo­dles) stall to be able to stand out in a place like Pe­nang, given how many stalls sell the dish. The fea­ture that makes Old Green dis­tinc­tive is that it al­lows for its cus­tomers to cus­tomise their bowl of Hokkien Mee; it comes es­sen­tially as a blank slate, with only the noo­dles, eggs, prawns and pork ribs, and din­ers can choose from a se­lec­tion of roast pork, meat balls, braised egg, Chi­nese sausage, chicken feet, shrimps, pork in­testines and pork skin to add to their noo­dles. The place op­er­ates at the odd­est hours so drop by for a late din­ner or if you’re hav­ing late night crav­ings.

Mon–Sat, 8pm–4pm. $

NEW Pe­nang Road Fa­mous Teochew Chen­dul 27 & 29 Le­buh Keng Kwee, George Town; Su­per Kom­tar Food Ar­cade, Kom­tar, George Town.

Founded in the 1950s, this stall is man­aged by the chirpy Tan brothers, who in­her­ited this cen­dol business from their late fa­ther, Tan Teik Fuang. Armed with a five-decades-old recipe, the fam­ily rolls up their sleeves ev­ery day to pre­pare bowls of re­fresh­ing cen­dol and ais ka­cang for their cus­tomers. If you're up for an ice ball, get one of the ladies to shape and pack one for the road. As there are no chairs and ta­bles here, join the lo­cals and slurp down your or­der on the side­walk. The orig­i­nal stall is lo­cated next to Joo Hooi Café on Le­buh Keng Kwee but in re­cent times, we’ve spot­ted out­lets on Is­land Plaza food court, Kom­tar and Gur­ney Paragon. Mon–Fri, 10.30am–7pm; Sat–Sun, 10am–7.30pm. $

NEW Pitt Street Koay Teow Th’ng 183 Le­buh Carnar­von, George Town (017 479 3208/017 477 3419).

For­merly lo­cated on Pitt Street (now Jalan Masjid Kap­i­tan Kel­ing), the popular koay teow th'ng stall has now set­tled on Jalan Carnar­von. The ver­sion of koay teow th'ng here is tra­di­tion­ally gar­nished with sliv­ers of pork, eel balls and fresh let­tuce on top of a bed of smooth flat noo­dles. Whether you opt for soup or a dry ver­sion (same in­gre­di­ents mi­nus the

soup), al­ways keep in mind the side of home­made chillies. Add the chillies gen­er­ously to your bowl for ex­tra heat.

Tue–Sat, 8am–4pm; Sun, 8am–1pm. $

Pres­grave Street Hawker Cen­tre 67A Le­buh Pres­grave, George Town.

You won’t find this hawker stretch recorded in many travel guides but this place re­mains a well-kept se­cret among lo­cals and those who are fond of a late-night sup­per. You can find some of Pe­nang’s tasti­est street food here, such as ais ka­cang, wan­tan mee and fried oys­ters. A par­tic­u­lar favourite here is a pip­ing hot bowl of prawn noo­dles from 888 Hokkien Mee stall with its highly rec­om­mended add-ons of pork belly and chilli paste for an ex­tra kick. It’s a good thing that park­ing is scarce in this side of town; it gives you a rea­son to walk off a few calo­ries from all that feast­ing.

Fri–Wed, 4.30pm–12.30mid­night. $

NEW Siam Road Char Koay Teow Jalan Siam, George Town.

What mer­its the stall's pop­u­lar­ity and vol­ume of cus­tomers is the owner’s stir­fry tech­nique us­ing char­coal flames as op­posed to fry­ing food over a gas stove. Perched at the end of Jalan Siam, this char koay teow stall has been a Pe­nan­gite favourite since its open­ing many decades back. The owner op­er­ates only with one as­sis­tant, so pre­pare to wait with other cus­tomers for your or­der (many have been said to wait for 20 min­utes or more). How­ever, it's well worth the wait as ev­ery plate is stir fried to per­fec­tion with fresh in­gre­di­ents. There are no seats around the stall, so en­joy your plate of char koay teow at the Chi­nese cof­fee shop across the street.

Tue–Sun, 3pm–11pm. $

Ko­pi­tiam / Cof­fee Shop NEW Ho Ping Cof­fee Shop Junc­tion of Lorong Kam­pung Mal­abar and Jalan Pe­nang, George Town.

If you only need one rea­son to check out Ho Ping Cof­fee Shop, it’s the bak moi (pork rice por­ridge). Op­er­at­ing on the side street just slightly off the cof­fee shop, the MSG-free rice por­ridge is sim­ple and com­fort­ing; the rich, clear broth is cooked with a myr­iad of pork top­pings like in­testines, liver, brain and var­i­ous ‘spares’. Plac­ing an or­der can be quite an or­deal for the fussy eater, but we rec­om­mend get­ting a bowl with ev­ery­thing in it for speedy ser­vice – this famed road­side stall has quite a fol­low­ing. For the less ad­ven­tur­ous, ask for a bowl with­out in­nards. If you are caught in a queue and are con­demned to a long wait, fret not; the lor bak (fried minced pork roll) and heh ji (prawn frit­ters) from the ad­ja­cent stall make good snacks.

Fri–Wed, 5pm till late. $

NEW Kek Seng Cof­fee Shop 382, Jalan Pe­nang, George Town.

Amidst the sheer mul­ti­tude of lo­cal cof­fee shops in Pe­nang, Kek Seng Cof­fee Shop has been op­er­at­ing since 1903 and as of to­day, its quaint am­bi­ence and tra­di­tional wooden seats re­main in­tact. It’s bet­ter known for its durian ice cream, which goes won­der­fully with hefty meals such as chicken rice, Hokkien mee and pai tee.

Daily, 7.30am–3.30pm. $

Lam Ah Cof­fee Shop Cor­ner of Le­buh Pan­tai and Le­buh Chu­lia (op­po­site the Le­buh Pan­tai fire sta­tion), George Town.

In the world of cof­fee shops, Lam Ah is the gas­tro­nomic equiv­a­lent of a triple threat. It has a sig­na­ture stall that, on its own, is ca­pa­ble of at­tract­ing an al­ready for­mi­da­ble crowd: its famed beef noo­dles stall, widely held to be the best in Pe­nang. And if that isn’t rea­son enough to war­rant a visit, Lam Ah boasts the per­fect stall to com­ple­ment your beef noo­dles – an oys­ter omelette stall that, at the risk of sound­ing repet­i­tive, has also been cham­pi­oned as the best in the vicin­ity. Top it all off with a thirst quencher – the highly rec­om­mended blended white nut­meg with plum.

Pork-free. Mon–Sat, 10.30am–4.30pm. $

Sin Hwa Cof­fee Shop Jalan Burma, op­po­site Pu­lau Tikus po­lice sta­tion, George Town.

The old lady of the fa­mous char kuay teow stall of Sin Hwa Cof­fee Shop has re­cently passed down her recipe, her skills and the stall over to the han­dling of her pro­tégé, her grand­son; as is to be ex­pected, many have re­ported a de­cline in qual­ity but ac­knowl­edged, how­ever, that it re­mains among the best char kuay teow in Pe­nang. Be­sides, the char kuay teow still comes with the sig­na­ture ad­di­tion of duck eggs or squids, if you so choose. Be­sides that, there is also a laksa stall that serves its popular vari­a­tion of assam laksa (spicy noo­dle soup with a tamarind base) and laksa lemak (spicy noo­dle soup with rich co­conut gravy).

Pork-free. Child friendly. Dis­abled friendly. Mon–Fri, 10.30am–5.30pm. $

Toh Soon Café Le­buh Camp­bell, off Jalan Pe­nang (04 261 3754).

Toh Soon, a cof­fee shop so small it barely qual­i­fies as one, could be more ac­cu­rately de­scribed as a set of ta­bles and chairs in a shel­tered al­ley­way sand­wiched be­tween two build­ings. But Toh Soon’s painstak­ingly pre­pared char­coal toasted bread, with home­made kaya and rich Hainanese cof­fee, has lo­cals (old and young), tourists and ex­pa­tri­ates alike hud­dled in the dark­ness of its shop. Crowds of peo­ple head down to its run­down shack of a shop early in the morn­ing for its half­boiled egg, toast and cof­fee.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Mon–Sat, 8am–6pm. $

NEW Toon Leong Cof­fee Shop Junc­tion of Jalan Ar­gyll and Jalan Trans­fer, George Town.

Toon Leong has been around since the 1930s, and it still re­tains its min­i­mal­ist colo­nial ap­peal with wooden fur­ni­ture and mar­ble tiles cov­er­ing prac­ti­cally ev­ery inch of the place. This Chi­nese cof­fee shop is spe­cial for two rea­sons: its old-school break­fast with toast, half­boiled eggs and au­then­tic home­made cof­fee; and Deen Nasi Kan­dar, which op­er­ates at the front of the cof­fee shop and sells a wide range of spicy dishes.

Daily, 7am–1pm. $

Ma­mak Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng Seng Lee Cafe, 270 Jalan Burma, George Town.

Bangkok Lane’s Mee Ma­mak’s rep­u­ta­tion in the lo­cal league of street food is in­dis­putable, with long queues and rec­om­men­da­tions by food blogs and tele­vi­sion food pro­grams. The fam­ily-run stall has been up and run­ning for nearly eight decades and

cur­rently, Mah­boob Zakaria and his fam­ily helm the stall from Seng Lee Café. The mee goreng is the most fa­mous of the dishes here, a stir-fried noo­dle dish pre­pared with onions, pota­toes, eggs, bean sprouts and a tangy gravy of mashed sweet potato and prawn ex­tract. We rec­om­mend pay­ing a bit more for the ad­di­tion of cut­tle­fish.

Tue–Sun, 8am–6.30pm. $

NEW Gerai Makanan dan Minu­man Maj Le­buh Ah Quee, George Town.

There's no bet­ter place for cha­p­atti than Maj – you'll find the cooks grid­dling freshly made flat breads six days a week. The at­mos­phere of this unas­sum­ing stall is of­ten fes­tive and bustling with the lo­cal break­fast crowd wait­ing for a piece of this In­dian del­i­cacy. We rec­om­mend dip­ping the bread into a plate of mut­ton or beef curry.

Ha­lal. Daily, 7am–6pm. $

NEW Hameediyah Restau­rant 156 & 164A Le­buh Camp­bell, George Town (04 262 1076).

This old eatery along bustling Le­buh Camp­bell is fa­mous for its au­then­tic In­dian-Mus­lim cui­sine and has served up spicy, power-packed fish, chicken, vegetables and mut­ton cur­ries for over 100 years. Ba­si­cally, this restau­rant is a curry in­sti­tu­tion and we’d be sur­prised if you’re not im­pressed with their be­he­moth legs of turkey float­ing around in ap­petis­ing curry or their crispy but ten­der deep-fried freerange chicken mar­i­nated in spices. A deca­dent meal where you can in­dulge in two or three types of cur­ries, plain biryani and a murtabak may cost you be­tween RM15 and RM25 here, less for a mod­er­ate-sized meal or or­der.

Ha­lal. Sat–Thur, 11am–11pm. $

Nasi Kan­dar Line Clear Be­side 177 Jalan Pe­nang (04 261 4440).

Nasi Kan­dar orig­i­nated from Pe­nang, and Nasi Kan­dar Line Clear is one of the old­est nasi kan­dar eater­ies left stand­ing, so a food trip to Pe­nang wouldn’t be com­plete with­out a visit here. It is hid­den in­con­spic­u­ously along Pe­nang Road, with a small en­trance to an al­ley where the wooden chairs and ta­bles are laid out; but don’t worry about not notic­ing it be­cause come lunchtime, Line Clear will be buzzing with ac­tiv­ity. The nasi kan­dar here is a plate of rice with a side of chicken (along with any sides of your choice, nat­u­rally) and flooded with curry.

Child friendly. Daily, 24 hours; closed fort­nightly on Tue. $

Orig­i­nal Pe­nang Kayu Nasi Kan­dar 15 Le­buh Ni­pah, Bukit Jam­bul, Bayan Lepas (04 646 4767/www.orig­i­nalkayu.

Kayu is an ex­am­ple of a re­mark­able suc­cess story of a hum­ble stall in Klang Val­ley that grew into a well-known nasi kan­dar in­sti­tu­tion. Founded and man­aged by Pe­nan­gites through and through, the stall sees reg­u­lars filling ev­ery ta­ble for a bite of the sig­na­ture nasi kan­dar combo, con­sist­ing of hefty por­tions of meat, fish, vegetables and seafood. Dine like the lo­cals do with clean hands and top off your steamed rice with lots of cur­ries for full flavour.

Ha­lal. Daily, 24 hours. $

NEW Shar­iff Nasi Kan­dar Is­timewa Jalan Sul­tan Azlan Shah, Gel­u­gor.

There's hardly a short­age of nasi kan­dar eater­ies on the is­land and with many ad­ver­tis­ing them­selves as the best in the business, chances are you'll be pay­ing dou­ble for a plate of Pe­nang's age-old del­i­cacy. Shar­iff Nasi Kan­dar, how­ever, is still con­sid­er­ably cheap and of­fers large por­tions, aim­ing to sat­isfy cus­tomers of most in­come brack­ets. Some will queue as early as 5.30pm as the stall of­ten runs out of good dishes be­fore clos­ing time. Com­ple­ment your rice with fried chicken, roast beef, curry fish and seafood be­fore smoth­er­ing your plate with sev­eral scoops of gravy. The messier, the bet­ter.

Ha­lal. Mon–Sat, 5.30pm–9pm. $

Sup Hameed 164A Le­buh Camp­bell, George Town (04 261 1095).

Sup Hameed is renowned for its soups, not just for the wide va­ri­ety on of­fer, but also for the unique­ness of their tastes. Judg­ing on a su­per­fi­cial level will prob­a­bly do the soups an in­jus­tice be­cause they aren’t starchy or thick, and look, in fact, like any other soup would; but what makes th­ese soups so dis­tin­guished is their char­ac­ter­is­tic taste. Most pa­trons will have their soup served with roti beng­gali, which is made by hand. If you’re feel­ing ad­ven­tur­ous, try the sup tor­pedo, which is the bull’s pe­nis soup. Sup Hameed also serves the usual ma­mak fare, such as nasi kan­dar, nasi lemak and roti canai.

Ha­lal. Daily, 24 hours. $

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