10 Must-Try Halal Foods in Penang Island

Penang is known as a food heaven. As a Muslim though, it is quite a challenging mission to find life-changing halal foods in Penang. That’s because the majority of the population in Penang Island is Chinese non-Muslims, who use pork and/or lard as the main ingredients of their foods. So I am compiling the list of halal foods here that you must try when you are in Penang 🙂

Tajuddin Hussain

THIS is my all-time favourite! I will never leave Penang without going here! The texture and taste of the curries here are to die for! The curry is definitely what sets it apart from other Nasi Kandar joints. My favourites are lamb rose and lamb kurma (see pictures below). They are surprisingly very, very tender! Make sure that you eat these curries with white rice instead of biryani, so that the taste of the curries won’t mix up with the biryani’s spices. Make sure you come here early as the foods can quickly run out!

Location: 51, Lebuh Queen, George Town, Penang Island (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11:00 AM to 3.30 PM (lunch) and 6:30 PM to 10 PM (dinner)

Curries overloaded  Lamb Kurma Lamb Rose

Roti Canai Transfer Road

Chicken curry
Chicken curry

This roti canai is the ultimate favourite for Penangites. It is the best roti canai that you can find in Malaysia! What makes it so good? Well, it’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. There is a slight barbeque smell, complete with the caramelised curry. Make sure you order the plain roti canai (instead of egg roti canai) and ask for kuah asing (separate curry) so that you can taste the crispiness of the roti. I would prefer the beef curry instead of the chicken one, due to the richness of the taste. But it really depends on your preference so I’d suggest you to try both! Again, make sure you come here early coz the curries may run out by 11 AM, especially during weekends when KL people would usually go to Penang.

Crispy roti canai

Location: Transfer Road, George Town, Penang Island (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM daily

Nasi Kandar Kampung Melayu

img_4538aForget about the Line Clear Nasi Kandar, which is completely overrated by Penangites’ standards, this nasi kandar is definitely better than that! The curries are not too spicy but packed with spices. The shrimp and beef curries are a must try!

Location: Block A29, Jalan Kampung Melayu, Ayer Itam, Penang Island (Google Maps)
Opening Hours:  6:00 AM to 12:00 PM (breakfast/brunch) and 5:30 PM to 11.00 PM (dinner)

Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul

The long queue of cendol
The long queue of cendol

The best cendol in Penang is definitely here, in Penang Road. You can see that the queue builds up very quickly, non-stop! In contrast, its competitor, which is located just opposite the stall, is quite empty. What makes this cendol very good is the fresh ingredients used — the santan (coconut milk), red beans, and the cendol. Unlike Indonesian cendol, Malaysian cendol is very small and thin. Nevertheless, it’s a great dessert to be enjoyed especially in hot Penang 🙂

A bowl of cendol
A bowl of cendol

Location: Lebuh Keng Kwee off Jalan Penang, George Town, Penang Island (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: 
Monday to Friday, 10:30 AM to 7:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday 10 AM to 7.30 PM

Ilyana Cafe

Mee udang (prawn noodles) is the only reason why locals come all the way here. It’s so delicious! The shrimps are so big and fresh with perfectly cooked noodles. There is also some fresh seafood you can find here, including the steam fish and crabs.

Mee Udang (Prawn Noodles) Steamed Fish Crabs

Location: 10, Gerai JKKK, Jalan Gertak Sanggul, Teluk Kumbar, Penang Island (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: 12 PM to 1 AM daily. Closed on the second Thursday of the month.

Pen Mutiara Restaurant

Fish Head Curry
Fish Head Curry

Pen Mutiara Restaurant originated from a humble beginning. It used to be a traditional stall selling Malay-style fish head curry. But now, it has become a grand restaurant with the very royal-like decor. Fortunately, the fish head curry is still quite affordable — RM 65 for 4 people. My father-in-law said that this is the best fish head curry that you can find in Malaysia! Nothing else can beat this place. One of the reasons why this is the best is because the fish market and port where the fishermen arrive with their boat full of fish is just right at the corner of this restaurant. So no wonder that they’d get the freshest fish! I would definitely recommend the fish head curry and the fried flour-coated-squid. The only drawback is that the location is very far from George Town. But it’s definitely worth going all the way here! Uber/grab your way there!

Fried flour-coated-squid (sotong goreng tepung)
Fried flour-coated-squid (sotong goreng tepung)

Location: Pelabuhan LKIM Batu Maung, Bayan Lepas, Penang Island (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: 11 AM to 10:30 PM daily

Anba Coconut

In most days, Penang is unbearably hot! So in order to cool myself down, my second favourite place after the cendol is this coconut place. The coconut water that they sell here is amazingly sweet – you don’t need extra sugar! After drinking the water, be sure to ask the guy to chop it off so you can eat the coconut meat! So refreshing! 🙂

Location: Abu Siti Lane, George Town, Penang Island (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: 8 AM to 7 PM daily

Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng

img_4570aThe Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng is a famous Mamak-style (Indian Muslim) mee goreng with squids. The taste is very different with Indonesian mee goreng so I’d suggest you to try and see if you like it. Many people like this mee goreng so much (and that’s why it’s been featured on TV I heard…), but I am just not a big fan of it. The noodle is slightly sweet and savoury.

Location: 280, Jalan Burma, George Town, Penang Island(Google Maps)
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM (closed on Monday)

Hameed ‘Pata’ Special Mee

My husband thinks that this stall deserves to be on the list. I myself didn’t remember eating the foods here, but this place is famous for its mee sotong, either fried ones or the soupy ones. I think a better review about this can be seen in this blog.

Location: 6, Kota Selera Padang Kota Lama (Fort Cornwallis Food Court), Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, George Town (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11:30 AM to 8:00 PM

Bee Hwa Cafe

After trying to eat here twice (and it was closed at both times), we managed to go here and order some foods. Both my husband and I loved the Chinese-style char kuey teow! The noodles are soft and tender and the flavour has that unique “burned” taste that we all crave whenever we eat char kuey teow. It is not bad at all and since this is the only place in Penang (so far) that served the halal Chinese version of char kuey teow, I can’t complain! Most other stalls sell Malay-style char kuey teow, which is quite soupy — we are not a fan of those, unfortunately!

We also try the mee udang and curry mee, which are not bad for a halal version :). I am satisfied. Bee Hwa Cafe is so far our must-visit place to eat whenever we go back to Penang.

Location: 10 Lebuh Dickens, George Town, Penang Island (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM and Saturday 7:00 AM to 3:30 (closed on Sundays and public holidays)

So that’s the list of halal foods in Penang that local Penangites would usually go when they’re on the island 🙂 Hope it’s useful!


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