Hawker Foods in Penang Persiaran Gurney, Malaysia (end Feb 2010) | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Hawker Foods in Penang Persiaran Gurney, Malaysia (end Feb 2010)

Hawker Foods in Penang Persiaran Gurney

Excuse me for not posting any recipes for the past two weeks since this because I was visiting Penang and Langkwai, Malaysia about a week ago. Stayed in Penang for two whole days, husband and I had spent nearly every meal in eating hawker foods, which the city is renowned for.

In one single meal in Persiaran Gurney (新關仔小販中心), a popular hawker food center in George Town, Penang, we had tried all of these …

  • Char koay teow
  • Char Koay Teow (stir-fried flat rice noodles)
  • The rice noodle are silken, slightly chewy, and neither too moist nor too dry. A mouthful of them are both spicy and sweet with a strong shrimpy taste and some subtle crunchiness from the bean sprouts. I was so intrigued by this dish that I had stood myself beside the stall trying to mentally record the way the chef cooked.
  • Stir fried cockles
  • Goreng Kerang (stir-fried cockles)
  • As soon as I pick up the flesh of a cockle and have it landed on my taste buds, it seems that tens of aroma are released in my mouth. Juicy, flavorful and it should be one of the best fried cockles I have ever had.
  • Fresh sugar cane juice
  • Fresh Sugar Cane Juice
  • Simply fresh and naturally sweet. It is made from the raw sugar canes squeezed in front of me. Besides, a glass (actually it comes in a disposable plastic cup) of it costs only RM1.2 or so.
  • Chee cheong fan (steamed rice flour rolls)
  • Chee Cheong Fan (steamed rice flour rolls)
  • As silken as the rice noodles, you may choose to accompany them with various seasonings, chili sauce, sweet sauce, soy sauce and last but not the least their famous shrimp paste sauce and a dash of roasted sesame seeds.
  • Wok fried pancake
  • Wok Fried Pancakes
  • It is simply a pleasure seeing how the cook makes these wok fried pancake. Like playing magic, he manages his pancakes in five woks (large picture on top) at the same time. but each pancake he flips out is equally golden brown.
  • Banana pancake
  • Banana Pancakes
  • These banana pancakes are served by the same hawker stall making the wok fried pancake. I must say I like the wok fried version more because this one tastes like too similar to most banana pancakes.
  • Soy bean custard
  • Soy Bean Custard
  • Probably a great portion of this custard content is agar agar, which is different from those primarily made from soybean juice that I usually savor. But it is worth a try if you still find capacity in your tummy.
  • Asam laksa
  • Asam Laksa
  • To the lady cook: excuse me, your soup looks like made from the bottled laksa paste, but not fragrant. That is why this laksa are put at the end of this list, which I purposely arrange it according to my own preference.

A Wrap-Up
Char Kaoy Teow, Goreng Kerang and Sugar Cane Juice are the must-try if I am to visit this hawker food center again. Indeed, this was a happy dinner though we were sweating slightly while feeding us with the foods. Husband repeatedly looked cheered as he paid the bills (foods were served from different hawkers and he had to pay when a dish or a drink delivered to us). The whole dinner including all the above and a can of beer was just slightly more than RM30. Yet the taxies drove us to and from the hawker food center together cost us RM30 but each just took about five minutes to arrive.

Hawker Foods in Penang Persiaran Gurney

Getting Prepared to Penang
Penang to me is a charming city, and is a nice place to visit if you want to take a break from your hustle and bustle of life. But may I remind you that her weather is hot and the sunlight is very intense. So be prepared if you are going to explore around, especially on your own. My advice is to bring with you,
– more light clothes, you may need to change more than once per day
– a bottle of water wherever you go because the sun will make you sweat continuously
– sunscreen lotion
– hat
Read this Insider’s Guide to Penang Hawker Food if you are also interested in her hawker foods. Thank you to Bee, author of Rasa Malaysia for informing me of her insider guide. Just regret that we hadn’t got enough time to explore around. Besides, may I also take this opportunity to thank you the gentleman in Penang, who stopped his car in front of us and enthusiastically asked if he could offer us any help (we must have looked puzzled with the map). Also, the kind old lady talked to us at the bus stop, ‘Get on, this is free.’ And we were also fortunate enough to have met a nice lady, who showed us the way to walk up Kek Lok Si (Temple of Supreme Bliss) and told us what to do nearby.

Thank you every one, and see you next time, Penang!

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  1. MaryMoh

    Oh no….you make me miss home now…of course Penang, too where I was there for 4 years! All the food here are my favourite…mmm. Gosh….it’s a land of FOOD! My best is still the famous Penang char kway teow….just soooooo delicious! Great to know you enjoyed your trip there.

  2. gaga

    Oh my, I miss Asian hawker stands. Such delicious food for such great prices too! Yummy!

  3. penny aka jeroxie

    Oh! So many of my favourite dishes…. hope to head back to Asia soon to eat it all!

  4. pixen

    Hi, a Penangite here 🙂 It’s been ages since I’d been to Gurney Drive Hawker Food Center even though I passed by the place almost everyday. It’s mostly catered for tourists. Best of Penang’s food only locals would know and it’s scattered in several places.. 😉 Oh yes, the FREE BUS which is located around certain touristic routes… I like that too 🙂 There are some WiFi-bus on the run as well if you need to be online but mostly major spots have free WiFi 😀

    Btw… next time try the Red/Purple Sugar Cane juice… most stalls sells the usual Green Sugar Cane as is cheaper. There’s only 1 stall I came across selling Red Sugar Cane & Green Sugar Cane juices…it’s along Burma Road by the road side near a Chinese Primary school, not far from traffic light. Actually, her stall is besides Apong Guan (refer to Bee’s Penang Guide).

    The Wok Pancakes…it’s Apom Manis. The center is soft, spongy and sweet with outer crispy browned skin. This dessert mostly sold and originally by Indians on the island.

    I guessed once you’d tasted Penang food, you keep coming back for more. Glad you like the island. Hope to see you again in Penang.

  5. mycookinghut

    What do you think of Langkawi? Where did you visit and stay? I am from Malaysia. Langkawi island is just about 45 minutes then another 30 or so by boat from my hometown!

  6. mycookinghut

    By the way, I will be in Hong Kong in less than 2 week’s time, what are your recommendations for tai pai tong?

  7. LeeYong

    I love your blog!!! I do have a quick question… I’ve been steaming my bake goods in a wok and was wondering if you had any suggestions how to avoid doplets of water on cakes and other items? i’ve tried placing a sprayed piece of foil to prevent the top of the cake from sticking… it still stuck alittle… someone had suggested a towel – but wouldnt that stick to my cake when it rises???

    Thank you for any suggestions you can give me.
    happy baking!

  8. TasteHongKong

    @MaryMoh, I’m thinking to cook the Char Kway Teow soon.
    @gaga, Looks like Penang is one of the few places that still charge such ‘friendly’ prices for foods.
    @Penny, Hi, Asia is not far from you, get packed.
    @pixen, Thanks for such detailed information, I will keep it in mind and also check back when going to visit Penang next time. Indeed, we found one awesome Curry Mee near the jetty, and I believe it is one of those great hawker stalls.

  9. TasteHongKong

    @mycookinghut, Hopefully I could bring up a post on Langkwai soon, a beautiful place I must say it is worth sharing. Lucky and unlucky, we crashed the schedule with ‘Iron Man’, and most hotels are fully booked, we stayed in Bella Vista, not that conveniently located.
    @mycookinghut, Sadly, the tai pai tong in H.K. are diminishing because once the license-holder decease, government will not renew the license and the tai pai tong has to close down. For sight-seeing, it is good to visit those on the Temple Street (MTR: Jordan) and those near Lan Kwai Fong (MTR: Central) to get a feel of the tai pai tong. Some of their foods are nice but slightly pricey. Now, the remaining good tai pai tong are scattered and might not be easily accessible by mass transport. Please drop me an email at tastehongkong[at]gmail[dot]com on where you will stay and I shall see what better information can be sent to you.

  10. TasteHongKong

    @LeeYong, Thanks for your repeated visits. My trick is to make a doom shape / bridge-like foil over the food but still leave small openings on both sides if I still need air to penetrate the foods, like buns and cakes. You may need a large piece of thicker foil for this. By the way, any chance to try the radish cake?

  11. Carolyn Jung

    I’d love to eat my way around there, too. What a great multi-course feast out on the streets.

  12. Christy

    Welcome to Penang!! When’s your next trip here? =)

  13. Mhe-Lhanee Benito

    Wow I miss Penang! I havent made any blog about the Penang hawkers. This post makes me wanna post my old pictures and experience in Penang. I miss their Roti Canai and Hokkien Mee!! I miss Gurney and Queensbay as well…. U

  14. mycookinghut

    谢谢!I will drop you an email 😉

  15. Beaulotus

    Hey my Penang hosts brought me to the Gurney hawker centre, it was great I ate so much I thought my stomach would burst…

  16. LeeYong

    Thank you so much for your response to my question… I am planning on trying the radish cake – just got myself fresh radishes!
    Do you happen to know a great recipe for baked taro puffs? I wanted a healthier version instead of deep frying…
    Thanks again!
    Happy baking and cooking!

  17. TasteHongKong

    Thanks every one for your comments!
    @Christy, Visiting Penang again is on my wish list, yet greedily I have got a long list.
    @LeeYong, Excuse me, I haven’t made taro puff myself. Most of the dim sum chef here prepare wonderful puff, so I’d rather be their guests. Once cooked a fluffy taro roll with scallops inside and the memory of it is pretty nice. Though I can’t commit when to do it again, stay tuned.

  18. Hungryc

    hi, I am from Penang, and I eat the hawker food greedily every time I am home. You went to Penang when it’s at its hottest, so that must not have been so comfortable. But glad that you enjoyed the food. Rasa Malaysia has an excellent step-by-step tutorial for making char keow teow, so good luck.

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  20. bruleeblog

    it’s too bad you didn’t like the laksa. It was one of my favourite dishes from Penang, although the quality did vary from place to place. Kek Seng had the best one that I tasted.

  21. Steve

    Great place to eat. We go there often

  22. J2Kfm (Malaysian Food Blog)

    You must try the many other Street Foods of Penang. Yes, Gurney Drive may be the place to go for tourists wanting a taste of everything, but there isn’t one particular food there that’s good enough to attract the locals. Maybe aside from the Mua Chee (sticky glutinous flour snacks with chopped peanuts).

    Part 1 – http://www.j2kfm.com/penang-street-food-gastronomic-journey/
    Part 2 – http://www.j2kfm.com/penang-street-food-lebuh-chulia-lebuh-kimberley-lebuh-cecil-market/

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