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10 Iconic Local Dishes You Have To Try In Penang


A. Zakiran •  May 19, 2016


Wake up, drive car, cross Penang Bridge and eat. These 4 simple activities have been known to cure many problems. Heartaches, stress and many more psychologically-related issues (not all though) can possibly just be a thing in the past if you try this inexpensive gastronomy treatment. While you are there, don’t forget to drop by the numerous interesting places such as Fort Cornwallis, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Batu Ferringhi and Penang Hill among others. However, let’s leave that for another day as I’m just here to talk about FOOD.
Nom nom nom Credit: Giphy Lo and behold, kindly find my 10 personal purposes/excuses every time I set food (pun intended) in Penang.
1. Chicken Milani Biryani at Restoran Kapitan
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2 - Chicken Milani
A sight to savour.[/caption] Credit: wakdingding I stumbled upon this gem of a dish by chance when a friend suggested Restoran Kapitan to have dinner. She actually recommended the Tandoori (which is pretty awesome too!) and even offered to pay should any of us say it was below par. Seeing that a number of us were ordering the Tandoori, I chose to look around the menu and saw this yellowish image that caught my eye. Fast forward two dishes later, we ended up paying for her meal after countless of thanks for her introduction of the place to us. Mouth-watering and tasty biryani combined with grilled chicken and the special Milani gravy – made of cheese, turmeric and other unknown delicious ingredients make up the dish. Hand to heart, I have personally had this for lunch, tea, dinner and supper. All on the same day. [caption id="attachment_8051" align="alignnone" width="1600"]
Kapitan in Georgetown.
Kapitan in Georgetown.[/caption] Credit: reenaonlinePrice Range: RM10 onwards Address: 93, Lebuh Chulia, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Contact: +60 4-264 1191 Opening Hours: 24 hours daily
2. Nasi Kandar Beratur
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One of many excellent choices on the island.
One of many excellent choices on the island.[/caption] Credit: penang Honestly this writer is not a big fan of nasi kandar (whatt?! I know right). However, being a self-proclaimed food enthusiast, it is a must for me to try at least the better known nasi kandars around town. I must say, Non-Nasi-Kandar-Fan’s best choice award (I might have just made that up) would go to Nasi Kandar Beratur. This establishment taught me to appreciate the rich and many intricate tastes that make up this dish called nasi kandar. I could taste each and every type of food put on the plate independently and would say that this would be the only place I will eat my nasi kandar from (should there be a need to choose one). [caption id="attachment_8053" align="alignnone" width="1600"]
Literally 'beratur', which means queueing up.
Literally 'beratur', which means queueing up.[/caption] Credit: photobookworldwidePrice Range: RM10 onwards Address: 98, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Contact: +60 4 261 3984 Opening Hours: 22:00 - 09:00 (Mon – Sun). Yeap, they're only open at night!
3. Bangkok Lane Fried Mee
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Yummy fried mee.
Yummy fried mee.[/caption] Credit: thehalalfoodblog You can never go wrong with a simple plate of fried mee. But make no mistake, this simple looking dish is actually more than what it looks like. With choices to add squid, eggs and even options for the vege-lovers, you will be spoiled every time you visit this humble coffee shop. Located at the corner of Bangkok Lane and Burma Street, this special fried mee finds home in the cute Seng Lee Coffee Shop. Step foot in at any time, the shop is always full with locals and tourists alike. Especially during weekends. You know it’s good when even the locals go there for their daily breakfast. [caption id="attachment_8055" align="alignnone" width="1600"]
Small cosy food haven.
Small cosy food haven.[/caption] Credit: tailimPrice Range: RM5 onwards Address: 280, Jalan Burma, George Town, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Contact: +6016 485 7859 Opening Hours: 08:00 - 18:30 (Tue – Sun)
4. Butter Chicken at Sri Ananda Bahwan, Tanjung Bungah
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Vibrantly enticing
Vibrantly enticing[/caption] Credit: toothfoodie Pick your choice of naan or rice to accompany this rich platter of poultry goodness. Trust me, the taste gets better each time you alternate between the two. Only with a full (like, really full) stomach are you able to resist another mouthful of this dish. Specially prepared and marinated every day, this particular butter chicken differs from the rest with its unique vibrant colour. A result of the blend of ingredients used and mixed – among others, perhaps a pinch of salt and a lot of love. Price-wise is not that bad at all and the other dishes are priced very competitively as well. Choose a cooling mango lassi to go with your order of butter chicken for dinner, that night is guaranteed to be a good one. [caption id="attachment_8057" align="alignnone" width="1600"]
Spacious garden restaurant
Spacious garden restaurant.[/caption] Credit: kokcheehouPrice Range: RM12 onwards Address: 14, Jalan Tanjong Bungah, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Contact: +60 4-890 9771 Opening Hours: 07:00 - 00:00 (Daily)
5. Oxtail Soup at Sup Hameed
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Soup for the soul.
Soup for the soul.[/caption] Credit: jomjalan Where do you get the best hot soup in Penang? Locals especially will point you this way. Served with their handmade bread called roti benggali, this choice of food can be consumed at any time of the day. Personally, supper late at night after a long day is the best. With various types of soups on offer, it can become a headache (a very welcome one though!) to pick which ones to try. The soft tender meat and juicy bones of the oxtail would probably be the perfect choice. [caption id="attachment_8067" align="alignnone" width="1024"]
Place to go for soups.[/caption] Credit: Farhan NazmeePrice Range: RM6 onwards Address: 48, Jalan Penang, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Contact: +6012 473 2786 Opening Hours: 07:00 - 03:00 (Daily)
6. Rojak Buak G. P. Soon at Gurney Drive
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12 - Rojak Buah
Best Rojak in Penang[/caption] Credit: expatgo Long queues, long wait and varying opening hours. These are the only negatives any rojak lover will tell you about this particular stall. However, one thing in common is that they will all say it is worth it. What makes them different is their thick sticky paste, besides the usual nuts and sliced fruits, and other add-ons such as cuttlefish, turnips and fried crullers. Truly a delicacy that should be savoured by all. Take it as your appetizer or dinner. It’s one of the things you will never regret. [caption id="attachment_8062" align="alignnone" width="1024"]
13 - G.P Soon Rojak
Name and number worth remembering.[/caption] Credit: reloadfood [caption id="attachment_8063" align="alignnone" width="2048"]
14 - Best Street Food
Best street food 2011.[/caption] Credit: soonph87Price Range: RM5 onwards Address: Stall 39, Gurney Drive Food Court, Gurney Drive, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia Opening Hours: 21:00 - 02:00 (Daily except Thursdays)
7. Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
Teochew chendul chendol penang
Credit: @leeroy1991
Before anything else, let me explain that there are two famous chendul stalls in this vicinity. Take your pick, both have their own staunch supporters and will swear by it. Don’t fret though, both are extremely good, but I just happen to like this one better. Walk down the road on a hot day (just an excuse) or not, queue up and slurp up every last drop of this simple yet wonderful dish. Also, there is also more zing to it as this business, which started from a humble pushcart, has become a nationwide franchise chain. That won’t happen with just any average tasting dish. [caption id="attachment_8069" align="alignnone" width="1600"]
On a hot day, I’d pick this over any fancy ice blended.
On a hot day, I’d pick this over any fancy ice blended.[/caption] Credit: petunialee#HHWT Tip: If you'd rather sit and enjoy your chendul, walk down a little further to their physical shop and grab a seat (and a piping bowl of laksa) before someone else does! Price Range: RM2 onwards Address: 27 & 29 Lebuh Keng Kwee, 10100 Georgetown, Penang Contact: +60 4-262 6002 Opening Hours: 10:30am - 7pm (Mon-Fri), 10am - 7:30pm (Sat-Sun)
8. Assam Laksa at Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
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Bowl of succulent assam laksa.
Bowl of succulent assam laksa.[/caption] Credit: reloadfood Most come here for the chendul. However, only those who have ever tried the assam laksa here will  tell you how good it actually is. Some even call it the best Assam Laksa in Penang with its perfect balance of broth thickness, chunky fish meat and wonderful paste to go along.
teochew chendol - assam laksa
Credit: @livoniaricky As many others say, good food can’t be described with words. Just ensure you get here and have a bowl. Or two, maybe three. Certainly is a must to go along with that bowl of chendul. [caption id="attachment_8071" align="alignnone" width="1024"]
From roadside stall to full blown shop.
From roadside stall to full blown shop.[/caption] Credit: reloadfoodPrice Range: RM4.00 onwards Address: 27 & 29 Lebuh Keng Kwee, 10100 Georgetown, Penang Contact: +60 4-262 6002 Opening Hours: 10:30am - 7pm (Mon-Fri), 10am - 7:30pm (Sat-Sun)
9. Mee Sotong Hameed ‘Pata’ & Jalil Special Coconut Shake
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Simple yet tasty.
Simple yet tasty.[/caption] Credit: hanneehoney This plate of goodness is as good as it gets. Combining just two simple everyday recipes – your mamak fried mee and squid sambal creates this unique blend of taste that keeps you wanting more. Being one of the most popular stalls in the food court, long queues are the norm, especially on Saturdays. To wash down the yummy sambal taste, just next to the stall you can find the irresistible coconut shake. This glass of creamy and refreshing coconut drink sells like hot cakes, every single day. Be sure to try this pair as a meal whenever you find yourselves in Georgetown. [caption id="attachment_8073" align="alignnone" width="900"]
Some are known to use this image as their phone wallpaper.
Some are known to use this image as their phone wallpaper.[/caption] Credit: familysukamakanPrice Range: RM6 onwards (fried mee) & RM2.50 onwards (coconut shake) Address: 6, Kota Selera Padang Kota Lama (Fort Cornwallis Food Court), Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, 10200, Georgetown, Penang Contact: + 6013 4319384 Opening Hours: 11:30am – 8:00pm (Monday – Saturday)
10. Ice Kacang Swatow Lane at New World Park
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Three bowls to cool your head.
Three bowls to cool your head.[/caption] Credit: nookberry Even after they relocated to a better, more modern food court, this ice kacang never lost its fans. It is often the first stop many road trippers make to Penang when they arrive in the hot afternoon sun. From as low as RM2 per bowl, it is not a mystery why customers are normally never seen with only one bowl each. [caption id="attachment_8075" align="alignnone" width="1024"]
The new looking yet old tasting stall.
The new looking yet old tasting stall.[/caption] Credit: orangkecilorangbesar#HHWT Tip: Try the ais kacang topped with fruits like banana, jackfruit and mango...and an extra scoop of vanilla ice cream if you need an extra treat ? Price Range: RM2 onwards Address: New World Park (Sin Sei Kai) Food Court, Swatao Lane, Off Jalan Burmah, 10350 Penang Contact: +604 227 8804 Opening Hours: 10am - 9pm (daily) We're packing our bags for Penang right now!