Where to find the 15 best non-halal dishes in Penang

Where to find the 15 best non-halal dishes in Penang

When in Penang, it’s completely normal to plan your itinerary around food. Don’t be surprised if you see hawker stalls buzzing with patrons throughout the day because there’s no such thing as limiting yourself to just 3 meals a day here.

These are our top 15 favorite non-halal dishes and the best places to eat your way around Penang’s acclaimed hawker trail.

1. Lam Mee / Birthday Mee 

Lam Mee

Possibly one of the most underrated Penang hawker dishes, Lam Mee is a go-to comfort food for many locals. The secret of this simple clear broth noodles is in the sambal belacan that’s served on the side. When mixed in, the once delicate broth packs quite a spicy punch. Pro tip: Top it off with some coriander for added zest!

Where to get it:

  • Padang Brown, Jalan Perak (5.30pm – 11pm, open daily)
  • Nam Seng coffee shop at Hutton Lane (7am – 2pm, weekends only)

 

2. Chicken Rice & Roasted Pork Belly

Chicken Rice

Chicken rice is chicken rice anywhere you go, right? WRONG. Not be chicken rice snobs, but a good plate of this regional favorite has the right pairing of fragrant rice, pungent chilli sauce and juicy, roasted meats. One thing you can’t go wrong with is adding Siu Bak (roasted pork belly) or Char Siu (BBQ pork) to your chicken rice order.

Where to get it: Any of the Sin Nam Huat stalls

 

3. Wan Tan Mee

Wan Tan Mee

Touristy as it seems, even locals frequent Hong Kee for their famed bamboo noodles, prepared in the most exhibitionist of ways – workers see-sawing on a long bamboo pole, flattening the dough into thin sheets. But it’s not all for show. The result is fresh, springy noodles tossed in fragrant soy sauce with wholesome dumplings.

Where to get it: Hong Kee, 37, Lebuh Campbell, Georgetown (8.30am – 10pm, closed on Wednesdays)

 

4. Char Kuey Teow

Char Kuey Teow

A dish that’s synonymous with the island’s identity, you could go on a CKT binge through Georgetown’s food trail because every hawker’s wok lends a different flavor. The usual suspects on a good plate of this stir-fried flat noodles are Lap Cheong (Chinese sausage), shrimps, cockles, bean sprouts, scallions and of course, crunchy pork lard!

Where to get it:

  • Ah Leng Char Kuey Teow at Jalan Dato Keramat (9.30am – 3.30pm, closed on Wednesdays)
  • Padang Brown Food Court at Jalan Johor (1pm – 5pm, open daily)
  • Ah Soon Char Kuey Teow at Hillside, Jalan Sungai Kelian, Tanjung Bungah (11am – 6pm, closed on Tuesdays) 

 

5. Fish Head Char Bee Hoon

Fish Head Char Bee Hoon

This isn’t a dish that will make visitors go, ‘I have to try that!’ but it’s worth a mention. Call it an obsession for stir-fried bee hoon (vermicelli), Penangites crave this dish ever so often for its sheer simplicity and the satisfaction it delivers. Topped with aromatic fried fish fillets and crunchy pork lard, you’re bound to come back for more.

Where to get it: Hon Kei Food Corner45, Lorong Kampung Malabar (9am – 12am, closed on Thursdays) 

 

6. Minced Pork Porridge

Minced Pork Porridge
Credit: Huislaw

Leave plenty of stomach reservoir when visiting Hon Kei, because this place serves up some of the finest porridges in town too! Apart from its extensive noodle menu, patrons gather here for some hearty minced pork porridge that’s accentuated with salted vegetables for that extra tang.

Where to get it: Hon Kei Food Corner at 45, Lorong Kampung Malabar (9am – 12am, closed on Thursdays)

 

7. Curry Mee

Curry Mee

Penang’s rendition of Curry Mee is one that gets you slurping and slurping some more. The light, coconut milk-based curry promises umami flavors, and once you’ve stirred in a spoonful of that dark chilli paste, there’s no stopping ‘til your bowl’s wiped out. Tip: Do tell the hawker if you prefer your order without the coagulated pork blood.

Where to get it:

  • Pushcart stall at Hutton Lane (7am – 2pm, open daily)
  • Chew City Cafe at Jalan Sungai Kelian, Tanjung Bungah (9am – 3pm) 

 

8. Assam Laksa

Assam Laksa

How on earth did this rather obscure dish rank No.7 on CNN’s World’s Best 50 Foods? It’s no mystery, really. The tamarind-tinged fish broth in itself takes long hours to cook to reach a perfect fishy-tangy consistency. Upon serving, each bowl of chewy rice noodles is doused with this magical broth, shredded cucumber, pineapples, torch ginger flower and a spoonful of bittersweet shrimp paste.

Where to get it:

  • Guang Coffee Shop at Jalan Balik Pulau (10am – 5.30pm, closed on Mondays & Tuesdays)
  • Pasar Air Itam at Jalan Pasar, Ayer Itam (10.30am – 7pm)
  • Chew City Cafe at Jalan Sungai Kelian, Tanjung Bungah (9am – 3pm)

 

9. Char Hor Fun

Char Hor Fun

Want a bit more ‘fun’ in your noodle excursion around Penang? Char Hor Fun is a fuss-free semi-fried noodle dish that’s well complemented by a starchy gravy (sometimes with streaks of eggs). The combination of wok flavors with lean pork meat and prawns is guaranteed to please your taste buds, especially with pickled green chillies in every bite.

Where to get it:

  • Pushcart stall at intersection between Beach Street & Malay Street (7pm – 11pm)
  • Coffee shop at intersection between Lebuh Cintra & Lorong Kampung Malabar (2pm – 9.30pm, closed on Sundays) 

 

10. Hokkien Mee (Prawn Mee)

Hokkien Mee

Singapore and the Klang Valley have their own stir-fried interpretations of the humble Hokkien Mee, but ardent street food fans will argue that Penang has the most aromatic version of them all – a heady prawn stock base noodles with pork belly, fish cake and hard boiled eggs to boot. Think lobster bisque soup, kopitiam-style.

Where to get it:

  • 67-A, Lebuh Presgrave, Georgetown (5pm – 11.45pm, closed on Wednesdays)
  • Pushcart stall opposite Double Happy Cafe at Sungai Ara (10am – 3pm, open daily) 

 

11. Lor Mee

Lor Mee

Don’t let the darkness of this thick gravy intimidate you. In fact, Lor Mee is a rather sweet dish that leaves a light herbal aftertaste on your palate. Some foodies enjoy combining Lor (thick gravy) with Hokkien Mee (prawn mee) soup to achieve a sweet and salty base. No Lor Mee is complete without some garlic paste and homemade chilli sauce.

Where to get it:

  • Hai Beng Kopitiam at Jones Road, Pulau Tikus (8.30am – 4pm)
  • Joo Huat Cafe at Perak Road (7am – 10pm, closed on Thursdays)

 

12. Oh Chien (Oyster omelette)

Oyster Omelette

Talk about appetizers, the Oh Chien (Hokkien for oyster omelette) whets your appetite like no other. The oysters may be the hero of this dish, but it’s that crunchy, starchy omelette that makes all the calories worthwhile. Coupled with fresh coriander and a zesty chilli sauce dip, it’s a guaranteed home run.

Where to get it:

  • New Lane Hawker Centre at New Lane, Georgetown (4pm – 11pm, closed on Wednesdays)
  • Kedai Kopi Seng Thor at 160, Lebuh Carnavon (7am – 5pm, open daily)

 

13. Lor Bak

Lor Bak

Calling all foodies for some deep-fried goodies! Lor Bak is an essential side dish when you’re out indulging in Penang hawker fare. Take your pick from marinated pork wrapped in crispy beancurd skin, prawn fritters, tofu, fish cakes and more, then dip them in a sweet and starchy braised sauce (Lor) or chilli sauce for the complete experience.

Where to get it:

  • Kheng Pin Cafe at Penang Road (7am – 2pm, closed on Mondays)
  • Restoran Hai Onn at Jalan Burma (12.30pm – 8pm, open daily) 

 

14. Lok-lok

Lok Lok

Like ‘cooking’ your own food? This skewered-style helpings of meats, fresh seafood, vegetables and more is sure to tickle your fancy. There’s something quite communal about the way Lok-lok is presented and meant to be had; typically displayed like a buffet spread on hawker tables with a boiler in the centre.

Tip: Do look out for curbside Lok-lok vans for a grab-and-go experience!

Where to get it:

  • Pulau Tikus Market at Jalan Burma (4pm – 10.30pm, Closed Wednesdays & Thursdays)
  • Padang Brown at Jalan Dato Keramat (2pm – 10pm, Closed Thursdays) 

 

15. Koay Teow Th’ng

Koay Teow Th'ng

There’s nothing more comforting than a piping hot bowl of Koay Teow Th’ng on a rainy day. Simple yet soul-satisfying, the delicate chicken broth is served with silky flat rice noodles, fish balls, strips of pork meat and a generous sprinkling of chives and crispy garlic. Draw a few cut chillies on the side for an added kick.

Where to get it:

  • Ah Soon Char Koay Teow at Jalan Sungai Kelian, Tanjung Bungah (11am – 6pm, closed on Tuesdays)
  • Intersection of Jalan Argyll & Lebuh Clarke (7am – 2pm, closed on Tuesdays)

Planning to make a foodie trip to Penang soon? Look out for the best hotel and flight deals here!

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