Street Food in Penang – Ultimate Guide

If you are like us and love trying new foods when you travel, you will love Penang. The street food in Penang is world-famous, and we can understand why! We spent two weeks trying all the vegan/vegetarian street food Penang had to offer, and put together a list to help you find some of the best spots to eat at. We haven’t included any meat dishes in our list, but I can guarantee everything on here is delicious, and even the staunchest meat-eater will love them too.


Must Try Street Food in Penang


Laksa is a very popular dish in Malaysia (as well as Singapore and Indonesia), and while we think of it as a lunch or dinner dish, it’s enjoyed by locals any time of day and often had for breakfast. While the base of the dish is usually the same, this noodle soup can be served with a number of variations from the type of noodle, to the toppings (meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu).

I have always loved laksa, and Penang is the perfect place to try this traditional Malaysian dish. We went to a restaurant that had been highly recommended (Laksalicious), but you absolutely can find Laksa at street food stalls in Penang as well.

We both had vegetarian laksa with traditional noodles (very similar to udon). There are so many places that serve laksa, so you won’t struggle to find it!

Laksa: Laksalicious


Red Bean Bao Buns & Lotus Flower Bao Buns

Out of all the street food we had in Penang – these have to be my favourite. The red bean bao was surprisingly sweet, and if you’ve ever had a bao bun before you will know how soft and fluffy the steamed bun is.

The lotus flower was actually green inside, and much sweeter than we expected. It has an earthy vanilla flavour, and was also super delicious. Again – you won’t struggle to find either of these in Penang! I could have eaten bao every day for the 2 weeks we were there and never got sick of it.

Bao Buns: Long Feng Dim Sum Restaurant

must try street food in penang steamed bao buns

Rice Flower Cake

The best way to describe this “cake” is like a very moist crumpet, with a kind of sticky gelatinous texture. I really liked it, although I probably won’t be rushing back for seconds.

Rice Flour Cake: Pan Cake and Steam Rice Cake Stall


Fried Sesame Balls

We tried these at the same street stall as the rice flower cake above, and they were really nice! I wasn’t sure what to expect – the texture is really unique and a bit sticky/chewy, but crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I initially wasn’t sure about the texture, but with each bite I liked it more and more. We tried a coconut one and a lotus one, and both were amazing. I would have to say the lotus one was my favourite, but I would recommend trying both!

Fried Sesame Balls: Pan Cake and Steam Rice Cake Stall



Kuih is a very traditional dessert in Malaysia, and of everything we tried in Penang, this was probably my least favourite, but that’s not to say it was bad! There was an overwhelming amount of choice where we went, and we only tired two of the flavours – one had a sweet coconut taste, and the other was a lot more savoury.

The restaurant we tried Kuih at, first opened in 1933 and was a really cool local venue to eat at. We would definitely recommend stopping off here to see how this traditional food is made, and to have an authentically local experience while in Penang.

Kuih: Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay


We tried a number of other local street foods while in Penang, and if you want to see what we thought you can check out our full street food vlog here!

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