Street Food in Penang: How Adventurous Are You?


What’s more fun than sampling hundreds of different new foods? We can’t think of anything that appeals so consistently to everyone – young and old, every person, from every country in the world. It is simply a universal pleasure to enjoy good food.


And we’ll try most any kind of food once – sometimes only once! But we at least taste it.



Free Breakfast


The free breakfast at Le Dream Boutique Hotel was too good to be true!


It was not your regular bacon and eggs, toast, cereal, fruit and muffins breakfast – no no no – this was an extraordinary breakfast. With at least 30 different dishes, you could eat for a month and never have the same thing twice. Not only was there tremendous variety, but every dish we tried was outstanding.


Along with dozens of Malaysian dishes, soups, vegetables, eggs to order, and tasty mini-pancakes, there was papaya, banana, watermelon, honeydew, a fantastic flan, and a table full of desserts. Every drink your heart might desire was also available, all served in a pretty dining room with top-notch service from staff.




Free High Tea


Another day we enjoyed the afternoon High Tea at Le Dream Boutique. And again – it was Free. 


We thought that High Tea was only found in England, but it’s here in Penang too. There were tasty triangle sandwiches of ham and cheese, delicious teeny-weeny deep-fried chicken burgers, flaky mini croissants filled with chicken, tiny sponge cakes, Chinese jelly squares, fish crackers, rice crackers, candy, and a choice of fine teas including their own Sabah Tea and my favourite English Breakfast Tea.


Did I mention that Le Dream Boutique is one of our favourite hotels in the entire world in the under-$100-a-night price range.


Oh, and the famous Kimberley Food Street is right behind the hotel. Travellers from all over the world agree that Penang has the best food in all of Asia.



Kimberley Street


Wondering down Kimberley Street in Penang is like having a group of private chefs present you with a thousand tasting dishes. 


Penang Street food is an adventure onto itself because is is an incredible combination of Chinese, Malay, Perinakan, and Indian food.



Char Kway Tiao Stall


Char koay teow (fried flat noodles) is a traditional Penang street food dish. Lean Joo Sean, the owner of the stall, starts setting up his stall at 6 am everyday and has been doing it for over 60 years. He cooks in a wok over a charcoal fire, steam and smoke floating up around him. A dish of his secret-recipe scrumptious noodles with mantis prawns costs under $2 CAD! No wonder there are line-ups.


For dessert, it was difficult to choose from the sign. What would you choose? There was no one who spoke English to explain what any dish was. 



Finally, we tried this fruit dish in a mildly sweet syrup with white fungus and lotus seed. It was ok.



The Chicken Wagon


There were line-ups for the fried chicken wagon, and food was sizzling and being tossed everywhere along both sides of the street. 

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The Soup Stall


We would have loved to try some of the soups, but you just don’t have enough days to try everything! Peanut soup, red bean soup, gingko soup…


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The Stinky Fruit


There was a guy cutting the stinky fruit, Durian, but everyone knows that if you pinch your nose while near it, and quickly place it in your mouth, the fruit is delicious.


Not all food smells good, but that doesn’t mean it won’t taste fantastic.


You could spend weeks sampling the food and never taste all of the unique Penang street food.



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One day when we were getting full, we got some pastries to go. Each was filled with either pork or yams or coconut or yaki and the next day we found that all of them were scrumptious.

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Penang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known around the world as a culinary haven. These dishes are the most recommended in Penang: Char Kway Teow, Assam Laksa, Prawn Mee, Oyster Omelette, Bak Kut Teh, Grilled seafood.

There are dozens of excellent restaurants in Penang, but the cheapest good food is the street food, and each dish is only a few dollars.

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The Chocolate Museum


Final stop was the Chocolate Museum, where we learned the complex process of making chocolate from the humble cocoa bean.


A cup of hot chocolate along with a sampling of various chocolate-coated fruits, including the stinky, spiky Durian, completed our adventurous Penang street food fest. 



Adventurous Food Eater or Not


How adventurous a food eater are you? Would you try the stinky Durian fruit for example?


Would you try any and all of the Penang street foods you see in the photos above on Kimberley street?


Does food have to smell good before you will eat it?


C’mon, tell us, are you a food scaredy-cat or a food adventurer?


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5 Responses to Street Food in Penang: How Adventurous Are You?

  1. Mina says:

    I live Durian, and also first tried it at a street stall, but in South Korea.

  2. Did you mean “love” Durian? That’s cool! Maybe you will be an inspiration to others to try new and different foods. Thanks for commenting Mina.

  3. Anna Morrow says:

    Love all your stories and this one especially is making me hungry!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much Anna!

  5. Thank you so much Anna. It is fun to try different and unique foods… most of the time.

C'mon, share your thoughts. You know you want to.

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