Nadia’s TOP 8 Penang Hawker Favorites
In a Sea of Choices, There Are a Few That Stand Above the Rest
Char Kuay Kak
Pillows of fried rice cake goodness tossed with bean sprouts, egg (on request), chives and fried pork rind. Fried in lard first then a combo of dark/light soy and then chili (ask for specific spice levels), you’ll be in for a treat when you enjoy this dish, unique to Penang!
Grilled sting ray marinated in an aromatic sauce using curry/turmeric and more. Served with a amazing sauce of belachan and onions. This is a must for me every time I’m back. Though it can be pretty pricey, $25 RM for per plate, definitely one of the more expensive hawker favorites and usually only found at night.
Another Penang favorite, this is a noodle dish made from a fish based broth. Featured in Anthony Bourdain’s trip to Penang (the stall he visited in Air Itam is an institution though sadly I tasted it on my most recent trip Nov’14 and quality seems to have gone down). This dish embodies flavor profiles of spicy (chilis used in preparation), savory (broth), sweet (sauce on top) and fresh (packed with veggies such as mint and lettuce). One of those dishes I almost always crave!
Delicious boiled chicken cooked to perfection and served with cucumbers and a chili sauce. Eat with rice and the simple soup served and you’ll have a hearty meal. My favorite place to get this dish? Tho Yuen in Georgetown.
Kuay Teow Soup
Perfectly cooked fish balls with just the right amount of firmness while retaining the pleasant chewiness one would come to expect in a light savory broth. Garnishments range from green onions, thinly sliced red hot chili peppers, flash sauteed vegetables and chicken.
A bowl of thick yellow noodles swimming in a sumptuous thick gravy with healthy servings of hard boiled egg, fish cake and meat and pork. The flavor profile is further enhanced by garlic, chili sauce and fried shallots. The breakfast of of breakfast bowls.
Char Kuay Teow
What distinguishes a great char kuay teow is the flavor of wok hei infused through out this noodle dish. Wok hei is the highly sought level of extreme high heat flash cooking in a seasoned wok. This is most commonly made with scrambled egg, fresh bean sprouts, cut chives, just caught cockles (an acquired taste) and kicking shrimp. Depending on your palate you can ask to have the spice level range from nothing to mind blowing.
A spicy coconut milky curry broth layered with yellow noodles, deep fried tofu puffs, fresh prawns, organic chicken, a hard boiled egg, crisp mint leaves and just caught cockles.
- Bring Napkins! Lots of Napkins. I Can Not Stress This Enough.
- And if you’re at a hawker center, have low denomination currency on the table for quick payment for delivered food.