12 dishes, 12 hours: Epic eating in Penang!

Sarah and I just completed the most extensive wandering graze of our lives.

Over the course of 12 hours in Penang, we managed to munch through 12(!) of the West Malaysian Island’s most famous street foods.

We shared most of them and they were small portions, but there’s no denying it – this was hedonistic street-gluttony run amok

Click through to see the full extent of our appetite!

9am: Coffee and toast with coconut jam (2.2 ringit)

We’ve eaten at the same roadside stall in Chulia St every day we’ve been in Penang. The genial vendor serves steaming hot cups of hot, sweet, butter-roasted Malaysian coffee and doorstop slices of toast covered with a sweet and buttery coconut jam.

10:40: Hoikken Mee (2.5 ringit)

Hoikken Mee is one of the dishes Penang is famous for. The broth is made from a rich stock made by boiling together pigs bones and prawn shells. Boiled egg, prawns, slices of pork and two different types of noodles are then added, along with a big dollop of chilli paste.

10:40: Roast duck with rice (3.8 ringit)

Our favourite part of this roast duck was the zingy dipping sauce it came from. We also really like the long grain rice it came with – it was incredibly light and very unlike the stuff we ate in Korea.

12:39: Nasi Lemak Ayam (1.5 ringit)

Nasi Lemak is a street food staple throughout Malaysia. These banana leaf pyramids unfold to reveal a compact meal that can include rice, dried anchovies, boiled egg and meat or fish – all with a healthy dose of chilli paste. This particular Nasi Lemak included ayam (chicken.)

12:45: Mee Goreng (4.5 ringit)

Mee Goreng is a Malaysian Indian dish made with noodles, cuttlefish and a special chili sauce that purportedly varies from vendor to vendor. Just before eating, half a wedge of lime is squeezed on for added tang!

13:00: Vegetable samosa (50 cents)

This Samosa ranks up there with the best of them. We grabbed a few during a pit stop in Little India. Good pastry, great filling and a nice slow burn that makes sure you taste eat spice individually.

14:49: Char Koay Teow (3.70 ringits)

Another Penang classic, made from flat noodles, prawns, cubes of lard, beansprouts and chillis. For some reason I’ve always found Char Kway Teow to be a little flat in flavour, but perhaps I’m eating in the wrong places.

14:59: Chendol (2 ringit)

Icy, sweet, red bean-heavy desserts aren’t usually my thing, but on a hot Penang afternoon there is nothing better!

19:35: Spicy Satay (9 ringit)

Pre-dinner snack. The dipping sauce was really good. Tasted even better with a big cold bottle of Tiger (the hawker centre tipple of choice.)

20:15: Tandoori Naan (7 ringit)

Pre-dinner snack 2: Tender chicken, doughy naan bread? I felt like I was back in Glasgow (almost.)

8:50: Soft Shell Crab (15 ringit)

The main event. I’ve been hunting down these guys ever since we arrived. The legs and pincers were battered and deep fried, and the shells stuffed with a mixture of white meat and slided carrot. As if that wasn’t enough, under the meat in each shell was a lovely well of melted butter!

8:55: Wan Tan Mee (3.5 ringit)

Slices of Char Sui style pork make this noodle dish. I regret to say that by this stage I couldn’t even manage a bite. Sarah was on her own!