Our list of hawker centres in Penang comprises food courts offering some of the best street food on the island. They are sometimes connected to casual Chinese coffee shops, but mostly these open-air eateries are roadside affairs, hosting a varied collection of hawker sellers and plenty of open-air seating.

    Penang hawker centres operate at all hours of the day, serving up affordable yet flavorful Malaysian dishes. These vendors often use age-old family recipes and old-fashioned cooking methods. A lifeline to locals and even travelers by helping to keep meal costs down, food presentation is not a priority but quality and freshness are always top-notch.

    1

    New Lane Hawker Center

    New Lane Hawker Center opens at 4 pm every day when Georgetown’s Lorong Baru closes down to vehicular traffic. Automobiles are required to find alternate routes to their destination because the street turns into a thriving outdoor hawker food center. Hawkers furiously fry up their specialties, which include char kway teow (flat rice noodles with cockles, prawns, chili and bean sprouts), and chee cheong fun (rice noodle rolls).

    Expect to sit on colorful plastic tables and chairs on the roadside. Our favorite dish here is congee, a Chinese oatmeal made with rice instead of oats, which makes for a filling, hearty meal. Flavored with a variety of side dishes, anything from fresh crab and eggs to pork and ginger chicken, this is basically Chinese comfort food.

    Location: Lorong Baru, 10450 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

    Open: Daily from 4 pm to 2 am

    Map

    photo by Bex Walton (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    Gurney Drive Hawker Center

    Home to the biggest variety of street food in Penang, Persiaran Gurney’s busy and iconic Gurney Drive Hawker Center, right beside Gurney Plaza Mall, is a great place to sample some of the best local dishes on the island. We recommend the char koay kak, soft white radish stir-fried with crunchy bean sprouts, chili, egg and pork lard, which is simply delicious, but also recommended is the barbecue roasting station (particularly the beef meatballs) which will please even the pickiest eater.

    The cafeteria-style seating is a little cramped, so the first thing to do is to find seats before ordering your food – in fact, copy the locals by standing behind diners who seem to be near finishing, then be ready to grab their soon-to-be-vacant seat.

    Location: 172, Solok Gurney 1, Pulau Tikus, 10250 Jelutong, Penang, Malaysia

    Open: Daily from 6 pm to midnight

    Map

    photo by uran2007 (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Presgrave Street Hawker Center

    Presgrave Street Hawker Center has a rather hidden location along Lebuh Presgrave, one of Georgetown’s back alleys. This is not the sort of place for a languorous meal – rather, it is great for great-tasting, speedy and hearty meals in Penang. 

    A must-try is prawn noodles from a stall called 888 Hokkien Mee. What makes this dish popular is the fact that the broth is light yet savory, and diners can add on extras to flavor their soup. Expect to see ingredients like pork ribs, fish balls, chicken legs, pig’s skin, and eggs. on the menu. The food court’s wan tan mee, roasted chicken wings and fried oysters deserve a special mention too.

    Location: 67D, Lebuh Presgrave, 10300 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 4 pm to 8 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Map

    photo by Bex Walton (CC BY 2.0) modified

    4

    Long Beach Food Court

    Long Beach Food Court is a simple, open-air hawker center in Penang. The sheer variety of great tasting food makes it one of our choice food courts in Penang. You will find some of the best wontons and noodles on the island. The broth is cooked daily with dried shrimp and pork bones, while the hand-rolled chicken egg noodles are springy and flavorful. 

    The Malay fried rice is also quite a treat – we like the kampung fried rice with plenty of salty, crispy anchovies – and spicy curry chee cheong fun, a version of the traditional dish that bathes rice noodle rolls in creamy, coconut and chili gravy with potatos and chicken chunks.

    Location: Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia

    Open: Daily from 6 pm to 11 pm

    Map
    5

    Just Food

    Just Food is Gurney Paragon Mall’s onsite food court. Its many hawker stalls are serious about putting out dishes that are authentic and loaded in taste. The food court is fully air-conditioned, making it a great place for tourists who want to escape the island’s warm weather. 

    Standouts include char kway teow (stir-fried noodles with lots of succulent prawns) and richly flavoured pan mee (hand-torn noodles in a rich anchovy broth with mushrooms and chicken slivers). We also enjoy the Maggi tom yum, which has instant noodles simmering in a thick and creamy broth.

    Location: 90, Gurney Dr, Georgetown, 10250 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 8 pm

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