CHAR KOAY TEOW
Flat rice noodles fried with beansprouts, egg, prawns, chinese sausage, cockles and chilli. A popular Penang specialty about RM1.50 - RM3.50 (USD$0.60 - USD$1.40) per plate. Some add duck eggs rather than chicken eggs to give the dish more aroma. Do not forget to insist on extra prawns! It's what makes good Char Koay Teow a real eating experience...
For the best Char Koay Teow in town (in no particular order): "Sisters' Char Koay Teow" in Macalister Road (morning to noon time); The two coffee shops in Kimberley Street (evenings only); New Lane Hawker Centre. Dragon & Phoenix Hawker Center at Gurney Drive (evenings); The first coffee shop in Kampung Malabar facing Penang Road (fried rice here is equally as good); The first coffee shop in Malay Street facing Carnarvon Road;
Wheat base mee in spicy coconut curry soup, garnished with beansprouts, prawn, cuttlefish, cockles, beancurd and mint. Price per bowl: RM1.50 - RM2.50 (USD$0.60 - USD$1.00).
For the best Curry Mee in town (in no particular order): Corner coffee shop in Lorong Seratus Tahun off Macalister Road opposite Agora Hotel (Mornings); Opposite of the Ayer Itam market (remember to request for more "lemak"- thicker coconut curry gravy and extra chilli); New Lane Hawker Centre; In front of Pulau Tikus Market in the evenings; First coffee shop at Bangkok Lane.
KOAY TEOW TH'NG
Rice noodles in savoury soup with beansprouts, fish balls and slices of chicken. Another popular dish about RM1.50 - RM2.50 (USD$0.60 - USD$1.00) per bowl.
For the best Koay Teow Th’ng in town (in no particular order): Opposite of the Ayer Itam Police Station (in the mornings served with slices of pork, mince pork, liver and fish balls); Dragon & Phoenix Hawker Center at Gurney Drive (evenings); New Lane Hawker Centre (instead of chicken or pork, this guy serves with duck).
Blanched Mee served with light sourish gravy and tomato, garnished with beansprouts, potato, beancurd, egg, prawns, deep fried flour paste and sprinkled with groundnuts. For extra kick add more lime juice and chilli. Price per bowl: RM1.50 - RM2.50 (USD$0.60 - USD$1.00).
You must try the Java Mee selling opposite of the Ayer Itam market (morning only). She fries the Java Mee making the gravy thick and concentrated, simply divine! To avoid disappointment, go early.
Wheat base mee in a special prawns and pork bones enriched soup garnished with beansprouts, 'kang kong', prawns, egg and pork. Another popular dish about RM1.50 - RM2.50 (USD$0.60 - USD$1.00) per bowl.
For the best Hokkien Mee in town (in no particular order): A coffee shop situated along the bus terminal in Ayer Itam opposite of the market (only in the mornings); Dragon & Phoenix Hawker Center at Gurney Drive (evenings); New Lane Hawker Centre (evenings only).
WAN THAN MEE
Cantonese egg noodle cooked with soup or “dry”. Garnished with pork or shrimp balls wrapped in thin dough (Wan Than). Vegetables and strips of sweet grilled pork meat (char siew) included. Try the green preserved chilli. It goes well with the noodles. About RM1.50 - RM2.50 (USD$0.60 - USD$1.00) per bowl.
For the best Wan Than Mee in town (in no particular order): Corner coffee shop in Pulau Tikus opposite Church of the Immaculate Conception (mornings only); New Lane Hawker Centre (evenings).
Special rice noodles (different from koay tiau) served in soya sauce soup containing duck meat, beansprout and egg.
There is only one place in Penang that we know offers this. It is opposite of the Ayer Itam market and starts selling from 4.00am. to 10.00am. Yes, you read it right - four o'clock in the morning. People in Penang never stop eating...
Steamed glutinous rice in soya sauce wrapped in bamboo leaves and stuffed with pork, mushroom, dried prawns, salted egg yolk or just white beans. Oily and high cholesterol delight which is a specialty during the Bak Chang festival (fifth moon of the chinese calendar). Available all year round at roadside stall in Swatow Lane (afternoons only). Goes well with Ang Tau Th’ng (red beans soup) or ice kacang. Prices range from RM1.50 - RM2.50 (USD$0.60 - USD$1.00) per Chang.
For the Nyonyas they have their own version of Bak Chang. Still made of glutinous rice but the stuffing differs from that of the traditional chinese Bak Chang. No soya sauce is being used and it taste slightly sweeter. Contain more nuts.
Translated literally means “to touch your heart”. Many beautiful variations of small steamed dumplings made with pork or pork ribs, and dough with meat and prawn fillings. Try also their chee cheong fun. Goes best with hot boiled chinese tea. A breakfast fare, it is now available in the evenings as well. Price differs from restaurant to street stalls and depending on number of variations consumed.
For the best Dim Sum in town (in no particular order): Shangri-La Hotel’s Chinese Restaurant in Georgetown (pricey but first-rate); Tho Yuen at 92,Campbell Street; A coffee opposite of Kong Weng Glass in Chulia Street.
Evening dim sum: Coffee shop in Kampung Malabar opposite Cathay cinema off Penang Road and Chulia Street.
Dumplings with meat: the chinese version of the American burger. Other variations include sweet paste instead of meat. Best eaten when warm. Available at most coffee shops.
Fried wheat base mee with dark soy sauce and strips of meat , prawns, liver and vegetables. Goes very well with sambal belacan.
SAR HOR FUN
Rice base noodles cut thicker (koay tiau) mixed with bee hoon fried with garlic and dark soya sauce is later topped with starch and egg gravy with strips of meat, prawns, liver and vegetables.
Prices for both dishes range from RM1.50 - RM2.50 (USD$0.60 - USD$1.00) per plate.
BAK KUT TEH
Pork ribs and other pork parts marinated and cooked in rich chinese herbal soup, eaten with plain steam rice or 'special yam rice'. Served with fresh chopped garlic which goes well with thick dark soya sauce and red slice chilli. Don't forget to order 'Ewe Char Koay'. Popular breakfast and supper meals. About RM12.00 (USD$4.80) per pot for two persons.
For the best Bak Kut Teh in town (in no particular order): Carnation Coffee Shop in Gurney Drive (mornings & lunch time only); Coffee shops along Dato Keramat Road (evenings only); Street stall in Rangoon Road beside Lai Lai Supermarket (evenings only).
FRIED OYSTER (OH CHEAN)
Oyster omelette with spring onions and mixed sauce. High cholesterol goodie for the brave hearted glutton. There is only one stall in Penang that stands tall when compared with others here in Penang. Situated in Carnarvon Street, he sells only in the afternoon and you must taste it to believe it.
JOO HOO ENG CHYE
Steamed Cuttlefish served with 'hei tay' (jellyfish), kang kong, sesame seeds, groundnuts and sweet sauce. About RM5.00 - RM8.00 (USD$2.00 - USD$3.20) per plate for two persons.
For the best Joo Hoo Eng Chye in town (in no particular order): Song River coffee shop in Gurney Drive
CHEE CHEONG FUN
Broad sheet rice noodles rolled and steamed. Eaten with sweet sauce and sesame seeds. Super cheap snack around RM1.00 - RM1.50 (USD$0.25 - USD$0.60) per plate.
There ia a stall at the New Lane Hawker Centre which serves Chee Chong Fun with curry and cockles. Taste good and different.