Penang: A Foodie Paradise
The recent trip to Penang, Malaysia with my mum is probably one of my first overseas foodie trip where our sole focus was to indulge in all the local food.
Like Singapore, Penang is truly a food paradise where you can find good food at almost every corner of the street. The street food is not only amazing but very affordable too. For a couple of sing dollars, you can get a delicious bowl of Penang Laksa or noodles. Some of their local street food costs less than a dollar too.
The Malaysian food culture is somewhat similar to us so in terms of tastebuds, we go after the same type of food – hot, spicy and flavourful.
During our stay in Penang, we booked a room in a guesthouse via Airbnb. It is located close to Lebuh Kimberley so in the evenings, we would usually settle our dinner there. As we set off early in the morning to explore Penang, we would also walk pass the food carts along Lebuh Kimberley selling common breakfast items like peanut pancakes and carrot cake.
The food we have tried so far were pretty good and here are a list of 8 must-try food along Kimberley Street in Penang! And if you are visiting Kimberley Night market for the first time, do note that there are tables and chairs along the various stalls where you can sit to eat and drink. However, you will need to order a beverage from the drink vendor to secure a table or a seat for yourself. Once you got a table, you can order food from any of the stalls and have them deliver it to you. It is similar the open-restaurant concept but done in street hawker-style.
1. Duck Kuay Chap
We spotted this Kuay Chap stall which already has a line of customers queuing up at 6pm. It is the first makeshift stall along Kimberley Night Market as we entered the market. At first, we had no idea what they were selling until my mum went to approach a local and asked why there seemed to be this queuing frenzy at this particular stall. He shared that it’s the stall served the Legendary Duck Kuay Chap in Penang.
How legendary it is?
We bought a small bowl to try. It was hard to tell if this Teochew dish is delicious as the soup was cold by the time we ate it. The broad rice sheets (or ‘Kuay’) has a nice chewy texture to it though. The broth was somewhat flavourful but we wished it was served piping hot so that the flavours would come through.
In Singapore, the meat ingredients are usually served separately from the rice sheets. But over here, they mixed everything up and served it in a bowl.
2. Yong Tau Foo
Just as we cleaned out our Kuay Chap bowls, we spotted a few people crowding around this motorcycle stall selling traditional Yong Tau Foo. My mum said it might be another gem so we walked across the street to check it out.
The owner of this stall told us that he made all the main ingredients by hand, from scratch. It was his family recipe, he says. Hence, the meatballs and fishballs were all very bouncy and have a firm bite to it. Overall, it was quite legit but the serving was rather small.
This lok-lok stall took us by surprise. Eating Lok-lok by the street from a pushcart is quite a unique dining experience. Lok-lok is common street food in Penang. To me, it is a convenient way of enjoying the steamboat experience without using any form of utensils. The meat and vegetables are served on skewers so all you need to do dunk the whole skewer into the steaming hot soup. Once the ingredients on the skewers are cooked thoroughly, you just need to pull out the skewer, dip it into a plate of sauce and savour it.
This form of casual steamboat experience is made unique because you get to enjoy Lok-lok with other strangers who also stop by for some lok-lok.
Each stick is colour coded and each colour code has a certain price fixed to it. The price usually ranges from RM 0.80 to RM 3. It costs less than a dollar if you convert to Singapore dollars. Lok-lok has got to be the cheapest Penang street food which we have tried so far. It is super delicious too and my mum loves it!
Both my mum and I love Rojak and thus we were super excited to try the Penang-style rojak. Unfortunately, the flavours are that robust as the Singapore-style rojaks. The Penang-style rojak is simple and contain fewer ingredients.
The seller separated the rojak sauce from the ingredients so that the dough fritters would not get soggy.
Just by looking at the photograph below, you can tell how delicious these satay look. They were very delicious and the meat were very juicy and tender.
6. Air Itam Chicken Rice
During our 5-day Penang trip, we also ate at Air Itam Chicken Rice coffeeshop near Kimberley Street. The coffeeshop is very clean and spacious. There are hardly any customers patronizing the stall but we decided to just give it a try.
The chicken rice wasn’t that outstanding and it tasted just like any regular chicken rice. They only stood out from the chicken rice stalls with their own blend of spicy chilli sauce. The sauce has a refreshing zesty kick to it and it goes well with the chicken slices.
7. Fried Radish Cake (Cai Tao Kuih)
Life is never dull along Kimberley Street. From 7 am onwards, you will noticed several pushcart stalls along Kimberley street, selling common breakfast items like fried raddish cake and Peanut pancakes.
We bought a packet of fried radish cake from this family-run stall. They served the large chunks of fried radish cakes on banana leaf wrapped in a cone shape. It was so delicious and alot of the locals here would drop by to do a take-away. Each packet only costs about RM 3 or SGD 1.
8. Peanut Pancake
This peanut pancake stall is also very popular among the tourists and locals. I love the thin crust pancakes which cooked on charcoal-grilled pans.
It was really fascinating watching the owner of the stall making pancakes with his delf hands which move so swiftly in an almost synchronized manner.
You can choose various toppings like sweet corn and eggs to go along with the chopped peanuts.
For a final touch, a dash of sugar is sprinkled over the chopped peanuts for that sweet caramelized flavour.
That sums up our food adventure in Penang. Apparently, there are more eateries for us to check out in Penang and I hope to go back again to explore all the hidden gems!
If you’re a foodie, Penang should be one of your next go-to places to visit.