Ghosts in Penang: Food for Our Souls


Most probably you’d be thinking about the ghosts I mentioned in my first post of Penang. This post however is mostly about the food that fed our souls during the whole trip. There’s nothing like Penang food. In fact there’s nothing like our Malaysian food. Period.

Since this is not our first trip to Penang, it’s quite easy to find good places to eat. It’s just that this time we thought of finding a different rather than the usual popular spots.

New World Park

This place was new to us and to a few people who came to Penang. With the hot weather surrounding us, staying indoors under a covered open space foodcourt was a great idea. The foodcourt has many stalls from Hokkien mee, Char Kuey Teow, western, Nasi Kandarassam laksa to desserts.

We had the ice kacang ice cream dessert which was similar to Air Batu Campur (ABC) which consists of shaved ice, red syrup, corn, jelly, red beans, cincau, jelly and a dollop of ice cream. Many people would queue up for this dessert as it is sweet & cooling. It normally piles up high but this version is just nice, not too big and not too little.

One of my friend introduced me to the tenya kueh which looked like colourful thick custard jellies. It is eaten with the gula Melaka which is a sugar from the coconut tree. It was my first time eating this and I loved it instantly. How come we can’t get this back in KL?

Our table by then were filled with other dishes such as the popular rojak buah which is a mix of fruits & vegetables topped with sweet thick peanut sauce. Rojak by the way means mixture or a mix of different things.

My friend had also asked me if I wanted to try the banana pancake and I said “Okay sure” thinking that it was those western type of panckae with banana slices squeezed inbetween. When the food arrived, I thought we had gotten the order wrong. We didn’t. The banana pancake that she mentioned was in fact known as the local apam balik, a crispy folded crepe with nuts, sugar and banana as the filling.

We were quite weirded out by the popiah basah or wet popiah which came with gravy. In KL, the wet popiah is not the fried version but this one with the gravy tasted different to me. I only had one of these and my friends ate the rest of it.

Location: No. 1, Jalan Burma, 10350, George Town, Pulau Pinang
Something cold to soothe you on a hot day, the popular ice kacang ice cream.

Something cold to soothe you on a hot day, the popular ice kacang ice cream.

Tenya kueh for dessert.

Tenya kueh for dessert.

Apam balik (crepe) with bananas inside.

Apam balik (crepe) with bananas inside.

Kek Lok Si Market

In search of the best & popular assam laksa brought us to a small food court at the Kek Lok Si market. We had wanted to eat at this Uncle’s stall who has been serving the best assam laksa and cendol for years but his stall was closed that day. Instead of sulking with disappointed at the thought coming all the way to Penang and not eating the best assam laksa, we went to the next best thing. Another stall selling assam laksa but in the food court across from the Uncle’s shop. There were small stalls selling local Penang dishes and I decided to have this instead which turned out to be pretty delicious. I can tell you now that if you want the best assam laksa dish you really have to come up to Penang!

Assam laksa is made up of a sour fish based soup and uses tamarind or assam jawa as the common ingredient in giving the soup its’ sour flavour. It also consists of shredded ikan kembung or mackerel together with a mix of finely sliced vegertables such as the cucumber, onions, red chilies, pineapple, lettuce, daun kesum & bunga kantan. The vermicelli or laksa noodles is thick and white. I normally pour in a spoonful of petis or thick sweet prawn paste with the noodle.

Location: Tokong Kek Lok Si, 11500, George Town, Pulau Pinang

Chilling out at the Kek Lok Si Market in Penang.

Chilling out at the Kek Lok Si Market in Penang.

Noodles at Kek Lok Si Market. It's the only thing I could eat.

Noodles at Kek Lok Si Market. It’s the only thing I could eat.


Gurney Drive Foodcourt

If ever you ask anyone where to get the best local Penang food, they would most probably say Gurney Drive. It is the most popular tourist spot and also a tad bit expensive for me. There are definitely many stalls which serves all authentic Penang dishes but you will have to get here early before the crowd gets in. We decided to tapau the food back instead of eating there due to the crowd. Luckily the apartment had a good dining and kitchen area for us to have our dinner.

We were also distracted by the local night market or pasar malam selling toys, souveniers, accessories to passerby. I got myself a hairbun item that could give me the thick high bun like Adele. With a black dress and proper makeup maybe I could pass as her!
Location: Persiaran Gurney, Georgetown, Pulau Pinang.

Of course these are not the only places to eat in Penang. There are plenty of other spots which I’m sure you would have tried out or been to, but none that is haunted of course.

Well that’s another story, in the next post.

About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

4 Responses to Ghosts in Penang: Food for Our Souls

  1. Fie-Nuts says:

    Oooh you love Rojak too. How about those van that sell the rojak & cendol? Aren't those good as well?

  2. Alamak itu rojak buah is making me go “aiyaiyaiyai..” I can't seem to find a decent place making rojak buah here.. Last time at pasar malam got but when the pasar malam change, the chinese auntie oso gone already.. 🙁

  3. Fie-Nuts says:

    Hi Brock!

    Thank you for the nice compliment. Love your photos too!
    It would be nice to exchange links.


  4. All of your pictures look delicious!

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