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Penang, Georgetown (Malaysia)

Where are the best food hawker spots in Penang?

So I've read that Penang is supposed to be one of the street food capitals of the world (I guess they call it "hawker food")...  But I'm kind of confused as to exactly where the best areas are.  Is it all in Georgetown?  Or all around the island?  How walkable is it between zones?

5 Answers

top answer by
Jessica from Georgetown (Malaysia)

When it comes to hawker food, there are many places to choose from.

Although Gurney Drive Hawker Centre is "most famous", locals usually don't go there because it is way too expensive and frankly speaking, not all stalls are that great. But it IS big, and it does have lots of stalls (although some of them are repeated food items for sale).

The same goes for Batu Ferringhi hawker centre as well. They are probably slightly more expensive than the Gurney Drive one because it is solely a tourist spot there.

For a really good taste of local Penang breakfast meals, you should head on to Campbell Street Wet Market or Kimberley St. Hawker Stalls. They are both within walking distance of each other, and though crowded, they provide a few local breakfast food. If you dare to try pork tripe porridge (chee cheong chok), then, that's the place to go.

For lunch, there are places like the Weld Quay Food Court (they only open on weekdays to cater to the office workers around there), but it gets crowded as it is a busy banking street. There's also MacAlister Road food courts in the daytime as well as New World Park Hawker Center.

Night time is where the list gets longer. There are options to choose from Sin Kim San Cafe on MacAlister Road, or New Lane Hawker Stalls nearby. There's the Goodall Cafe on Gottlieb Road, not to be confused with the OTHER Goodall Cafe in Tanjung Tokong. Those are a little further away from the heart of George Town. There's also Chulia St. Night Hawker Stalls for a very realistic roadside experience (buses literally pass by you if you're sitting at the table by the roadside). There's also the Pulau Tikus Market Hawker Stalls as well.

Hopefully that helps.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gurney Drive Hawker Centre (restaurant)
  2. Batu Ferringhi (attraction)
  3. Campbell Street Wet Market (attraction)
  4. Kimberley St. Hawker Stalls (attraction)
  5. Weld Quay Food Court (attraction)
  6. MacAlister Road (attraction)
  7. New World Park Hawker Center (attraction)
  8. Sin Kim San Cafe (restaurant)
  9. New Lane Hawker Stalls (restaurant)
  10. Goodall Cafe (restaurant)
  11. Goodall Cafe (attraction)
  12. George Town (city)
  13. Chulia St. Night Hawker Stalls (restaurant)
  14. Pulau Tikus Market Hawker Stalls (restaurant)
5 thankscomments (2)

answered first by

While most of the best hawker centres can be found in Georgetown, there are others to keep in mind as well. Particularly on Batu Ferringhi.


Gurney Drive Hawker Centre > The biggest centre on the island. Tons of choice. Good, but not outstanding stalls.

MacAlister Road > sets up at night only. Very good satay.

Air Itam Market > some say best for Assam Laksa.

Those are just 3. Truth be told it's hard to find a bad meal on Penang but if you choose to frequent places with big line ups you won't go wrong.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Batu Ferringhi (attraction)
  2. Gurney Drive Hawker Centre (restaurant)
  3. MacAlister Road (attraction)
  4. Air Itam Market (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Daniel from Atlanta

All of these recommendations so far have been good, especially Gurney Drive Hawker CentreBatu Ferringhi has some incredible food as well near the night market.

However, best place hands down to get authentic Malaysian breakfast is at Gelugor Market Food Court (on Hilir Pemancar near USM Penang). It is the places to go for breakfast, even though it is located quite far away from touristy Georgetown.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gurney Drive Hawker Centre (restaurant)
  2. Batu Ferringhi (attraction)
  3. Gelugor Market Food Court (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Laura from Volgograd

YUP. most of the best hawker food can be found in George Town. To know which is the best, follow the locals, in other words, go where the crowd goes. But from my point of view, the food hardly tastes bad. 

Hawker stalls at  Gurney Drive Hawker Centre are slightly overrated and overpriced. Fr a local's view, I would not suggest anyone to visit there if you are searching for Good food at Good price. 

For breakfast, stroll along local street markets in Georgetown..( Lebuh Cintra, Lebuh Chulia Morning Pasar, Kimberley St. Hawker Stalls)// you can walk from street to street(walking distance), there will be plenty of food around, ranging from chinese food: hokkien mee/prawn mee (a bit spicy, but tastes like heaven), char koay teow, wan tan mee etc; or hop in some mamak stalls and try different kinds of 'bread', we call it roti.. a classic sample is roti canai, dip it with curry! 

Best laksa in town, true, its at  Air Itam Market.. 

For dinner,  MacAlister Road would be a great choice. it becomes lively at night. and the food there is good too. Get some char koay teow with big, juicy prawns and sample some fried oysters! a must! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. George Town (city)
  2. Gurney Drive Hawker Centre (restaurant)
  3. Lebuh Cintra (restaurant)
  4. Lebuh Chulia Morning Pasar (attraction)
  5. Kimberley St. Hawker Stalls (attraction)
  6. Air Itam Market (attraction)
  7. MacAlister Road (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Sarah from Austin (Texas)

I second the Gurney Drive recommendation. Tons of stalls there. If memory serves, it's right by the G Hotel and a big shopping mall.

1 thanks

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