The best hawker stalls in Penang only locals know about

Hawker-food hunting is a real sport in Penang. Ditch the tourist spots and check out the top five hawker centres locals swear by.

Perak Road Market, Penang
  • Jetstar Asia
  • January 2019

Penang opens in new window is a famous foodie destination so it doesn’t take much effort to find delicious street food. There are some famous stalls where you’re sure to find throngs of tourists queuing for a taste but Penang-born food blogger Ng Sock Peng opens in new window knows where the locals go. Here are the five food spots to hunt down.

Bayan Baru Market Complex, Penang
Get to Bayan Baru Market Complex by 11:30am to beat the lunch crowd.

1. Bayan Baru Market Complex

Its close location to industrial area Bayan Lepas means you get hearty dishes at affordable prices. Make a beeline for Sri Indian Food and struggle picking from the staggering selection of 30-plus dishes, including hot favourites like mutton curry. Just be warned: the food usually sells out by 3pm and the queues are unrelenting during lunch hour.
Bandar Bayan Baru, 11900 Bayan Lepas

2. Perak Road Market

Sock Peng swears by the curry rice stall that’s been at this market for over 30 years. Locals lovingly refer to it as ginna (Hokkien for “kid”) rice — the curry is more sweet than spicy and many long-time residents have fond childhood memories of eating from this stall. The prawn noodles next to the curry rice stall are also highly recommended — the broth delivers a serious umami punch.
Jalan Pasar, 11600 Jelutong

Chai Leng Park, Penang
New Corner Lok Lok’s specialty is in its homemade sauces.

3. Chai Leng Park

With hawker stalls lined along the street for over one kilometre, this is a popular supper joint. According to Sock Peng, New Corner Lok Lok is the most famous food stall here. The concept is simple — pick as many skewers of ingredients as you like (try the deep-fried octopus), cook them in the communal pot of boiling clear broth at every table and enjoy with any of the eight homemade sauces the stall is famous for.
Jalan Kurau, 13700 Butterworth

Pek Kong Cheng Hawker Centre, Penang
Pek Kong Cheng Hawker Centre is the best place to hit for a hearty breakfast.

4. Pek Kong Cheng Hawker Centre

This hawker centre packs many hits, so head there hungry. There’s Pek Kong Cheng Wan Tan Mee, where the noodles are handmade by the stall owner and the sauce is enriched with a robust pork stock. For more adventurous foodies, Famous Duck Meat Koay Chiap — a dish of soy-braised duck meat and offal with chewy rice noodles in a combination of broth and rich gravy made from the braising liquid — is a must-try. If you still have room, add on the bee tai bak (short rice noodles) in pork broth. “Be sure to throw spoonfuls of the homemade chilli sauce into the soup,” suggests Sock Peng.
Jalan Pasar, 14000 Bukit Mertajam

Ong Swee Hoe Duck Drumstick Noodle, Penang
Tender duck meat, an aromatic herbal broth and silky mee sua … nothing quite hits the spot like this local dish of herbal duck soup noodles.

5. Sungai Pinang Food Court

The clear front-runner of this food complex is Ong Swee Hoe Duck Drumstick Noodle. Regarded as one of the best versions of this uniquely Penang dish, the double-boiled herbal soup that’s sweetened with wolfberries and dried red dates helps to take out the gamey flavours of the duck drumstick. Served with silky mee sua (thin wheat noodles), it’s a nourishing bowl of food worth sitting in the heat and sweating it out for.
Jalan Sungai Pinang, 11600 George Town