5 Must-Visit Char Kway Teow Stalls in Penang

When in Penang, char kway teow you must!

Every state in Malaysia has its own culinary offering that the residents are proud of – Johor has its laksa, Malacca its asam pedas and Sarawak prides on its kolo mee. Well if there is a dish that Penangites boast of it is definitely the char kway teow.

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

Originating from the island of Penang, char kway teow (CKT) was invented by the Hokkien seafarers and farmers who served it as a cheap source of food for the local labourers. Literally meaning ‘fried rice cake strips,’ the dish quickly gained popularity for being low in cost but high in nutrients, due to the use of prawn, cockles and other types of meat.

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

Albeit its ingredients being open knowledge, the secret to a delicious char kway teow lies in the wok that is used to make it. That is why most well-recommended CKT stalls in Penang or anywhere in the country are usually family-run, with either the younger generation taking over the business or the original cook still running the show many years down the road. Now, these stalls are where everybody gathers no matter status or class for a scrumptious meal.

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

Here we’ve listed down 5 char kway teow stalls that you must visit the next time you’re in Penang island. Trust us because we sure did!

Ping Hooi Cafe

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

This café is home to the famous Tiger Char Koay Teow, made by the head ‘tiger’ aka Mr. Yeow. The stall has been operated by three generations of the Yeow family spanning over half a century and is so renowned in the area that the CKT is more famous than the café itself. Opt for the red version of the CKT if you prefer it spicy and expect a plate full of juicy prawns and bamboo clams with the kway teow. The staff are easily recognisable with their uniform – tshirts that say Tiger Char Koay Teow.

Ping Hooi Cafe (Tiger Char Kuey Teow)
179, Lebuh Carnarvon,
George Town, 10450 George Town,
Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Perak Road Market

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

If you want to have a taste of the old way of cooking the char kway teow, head to the stall at Perak Road Market. The hawker manning the wok fry the dish with homemade chili paste which infuses the CKT with its own flavour compared to the competitors. Operating al-fresco, the cook certainly gives a unique wok hei to his offering that makes customers return each time. No big, juicy prawns here, but expect delicious lap cheong instead.

Perak Road Market Char Koay Teow Stall
Jalan Pasar, Taman Desa Green,
11600 George Town, Penang,
Malaysia

Joo Hooi Cafe

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

Located along one of the busiest roads on the island – Penang Road – the café boasts a variety of hawker food under its roof, the most prominent being the char kway teow. Celebrities love the CKT here as well, evident from the photographs and newspaper cut-outs plastered on the stall glass. Complement your plate of CKT with other famous meals around, such as the fried oyster, chee cheong fun and of course the Penang Famous Teochew Chendul.

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow
Joo Hooi Cafe – the exterior. (Photo: xiquinhosilva on Visualhunt.com)

Joo Hooi Cafe
475, Jalan Penang, George Town,
10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang,
Malaysia

Kheng Pin Cafe

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

Another popular eatery along Penang Road, Kheng Pin’s CKT is notorious for its spiciness. Of course, you could request for a less spicy version, but that would not be the same CKT people drive in from far and wide for. Stand by her stall if you order your meal to go and the cook will chat you up, to ease the wait as it would be long during peak hours. Other must-tries at the cafe include the lor bak and prawn noodle.

Kheng Pin Cafe
20, 16, Jalan Penang, George Town,
10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang,
Malaysia

Kafeteria Dan Hotel Eng Loh

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

Penang George Town Char Kway Teow

For a piece of Penang’s colonial past while munching on some CKT, Kafeteria Dan Hotel Eng Loh is the place to be. Situated in the former banking district of George Town and now surrounded by various museums and other colonial-era edifices, the café proves to be an ideal spot to have lunch after a morning of sight-seeing. Again, be sure to tell the cook beforehand if you don’t want your char kway teow spicy!

Kafeteria Dan Hotel Eng Loh
48, Lebuh Gereja, George Town,
10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang,
Malaysia

Although we tried to showcase the best of the best CKT in town, this list is not exhaustive as other stalls unmentioned here have their own following and specialities. So, do visit Penang and explore the state for yourself and you might just find your own favourite CKT stall!

If this list of amazing char kway teow was of your interest, like us at UPPRE Foodie here and UPPRE here for more great stories on food, people and places!

*This post has been edited for clarity and content.

Vimal Palasekaran

Vimal Palasekaran

Loud laugher. TV buff. Hispanophone.
Vimal Palasekaran

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