Best Lok Lok Steamboat Dinner in Pulau Tikus Market Penang

Best Lok Lok Steamboat Dinner in Pulau Tikus Market Penang

Best Lok Lok Steamboat Dinner in Pulau Tikus Market Penang

Penangites love having the best Lok Lok steamboat dinner in Pulau Tikus, Penang.

This al fresco venue is popular for dinner parties or gatherings with family and friends.

What is this Lok Lok?

Penang Hokkien calls the skewered food dipped in a pot of boiling water. Lok Lok, which means “dip dip”. This is one of the MUST-EATS street foods in night markets in George Town.

When I have visitors, I will take them out for a nice dinner at the

wide variety of delicious local delights at many cheap affordable places in Penang. One of the requests is having a Lok Lok dinner.

The origin of is type of steamboat is unknown. I remember going to Padang Brown for a feast with my high school classmates. That was the only place we could find by taking the public bus.

It is now very common to find a street stall by the roadside, at hawker centers and near busy road junctions.

Best Lok Lok Steamboat Dinner in Pulau Tikus Market Penang
The popular Jetty Lok Lok near the Lim Jetty at Weld Quay is popular with locals and visitors. Photos: Doris Lim

How is the food displayed? Is it hygienic?

At the roadside stalls, the food is laid out in a multi-level rack with rows of skewered food on sticks all stacked neatly. On both sides of the stall, there will be two pots of boiling water and in between, there will usually be three types of dipping sauces; chili sauce, sweet sauce, and spicy peanut sauce.

Don’t worry, the food is cooked through when you immerse the skewers in the rapidly boiling water.

Lok Lok Supper After Office Hours

There is a popular Lok-Lok roadside stall parked near Penang Chinese Girls’ High School at night. For late supper, it is one of the easiest and fastest snacks. That explains why Lok-Lok stalls open till very late at night. Great for after work when you hang out with colleagues, you eat Lok Lok together. It makes chilling out FUN.

Best Lok Lok Steamboat Dinner in Pulau Tikus Market Penang
The Lok-Lok man with his food truck laden with skewered goodies. A popular choice of party food. Photos: Doris Lim

How to Eat Lok Lok Standing by the Roadside Stall?

You stand around the stall to eat. Choose and dip the stick into the hotpot until the food is cooked. Then dip (only once) into the sauce of choice. You eat it straight from the stick. There is no redipping of mixing up of the sauces.

If you’re visiting or trying the first time, just watch and learn.

Most Penangites are friendly and will help you out and explain the more interesting raw ingredients to you.

Until today, I draw a line at boiled blood clams. Blood clam connoisseurs will laugh as I make a face when they dangle a stick dripping in blood at me.

Er… pass?

This is stall is popular with office workers or even supper crowds who would ride up on their motorbikes for a stick or two of their favorite food.

Best Lok Lok Steamboat Dinner in Pulau Tikus Market Penang
Locals tucking into their Lok-Lok dinner at Pulau Tikus market under umbrellas in the evenings. Photos: Doris Lim

You can find a Table at the Hawker Centre for a Lok Lok Dinner

At hawker centers, the Lok-Lok is served as a roundtable steamboat. You sit and cook your own food. The skewered raw ingredients are placed on plates spread around the table. The plates are stacked one above the other.

There is a large variety of every imaginable bite-size food that ranges from simple bean curd to bacon, pork liver, intestines, fish balls, meatballs, squid balls, sausages, squids, shrimps, vegetable rolls, and mushrooms.

Precooked items include stewed pigs ears, Chinese sausages. Some stalls have deep-fried wontons and deep-fried bean curd sheets.

In the middle of the roundtable, there is a hole with a cylindrical metal pot. A gas burner keeps each pot of water at a rolling boil.   After the cooking process, sauces are added to the food.

Best Lok Lok Steamboat Dinner in Pulau Tikus Market Penang
Ready for the pot. An amazing array of goodies on skewers. Photos: Doris Lim

Try Out the Different Dipping Sauce and Find Your Favourite!

As most of the ingredients for the food are identical, the proof of the pudding is in the sauce. Some stalls have their own special homemade sauce.  The secret to most of these Lok-Lok stalls is in the sauces they provide. Some stalls can provide up to eight different types of sauces from chili sauce to unique blends of dried shrimp spicy sauce and sambal belacan sauce.

Everyone has their favorite sauce in terms of sweetness, spicy or hot sauces. It is quite common for most people to mix the sauces up, a little of each variety to enjoy a multi-flavored Lok-Lok.

For those spice lovers, the sambal or satay sauce is a good choice.

We will normally try all the sauces. In most cases, we almost always end up ladling satay sauce over our food. It goes well with our Lok-Lok ingredients.

It is inevitable. Lok-Lok tastes best with satay sauce. Satay sauce is available in most of the Lok-Lok stall.

In my younger days, we used to frequent the seat down Lok-Lok stall at Padang Brown.

There are two stalls at the Pulau Tikus wet market in the evening with their followers. If you ask me, both stalls have identical food skewers. The dipping sauces are identical. Both taste the same.

Perfect for families, groups of friends or even colleagues, the communal cooking and eating is a bonding process. The Lok-Lok hits the spot for small eaters or even those with ravenous appetites.

Best Lok Lok Steamboat Dinner in Pulau Tikus Market Penang
This cheese filled Tufo which tastes delish smothered in satay sauce! Photos: Doris Lim

All the skewers will have different colors on the end to denote the price of each stick which can be from RM1 up to RM2.

Get Ready to Check Out the Most Popular Lok Lok Stalls in George Town

Pulau Tikus Market, Jalan Pasar | Time: 7pm-11pm
Roadside stall, junction of Chulia Street and Carnarvon Street | Time: 7pm-11pm
Padang Brown hawker center, Jalan Johor | Time: 2pm-7pm
Goodall Cafe, Gottlieb Road | Time: 7pm-11pm
Chai Leng Park food stalls, Lebuh Kurau 5 | Time: 7pm-11pm Chai Leng Park
Pulau Tikus Market, Jalan Pasar | Time: 7pm-11pm
Lok-Lok Rojak @ Air Itam | Time: 12pm – 7pm
发仲乐乐 Huat Teong Lok Lok | Time: 8 pm – 11.45pm
Padang Brown Lok Lok | Time: 12 pm to 5:30 pm. Closed on every Thursday
Ping Hwa Lok Lok 槟华乐乐 | Time: 6.00pm – 11.30pm

Best Lok Lok Steamboat Dinner in Pulau Tikus Market Penang
Lok-Lok parties are very popular to serve up hot small bites with ice cold beers. Photos: Doris Lim

Have You Ever Had a Lok Lok Dinner Party? 

The ultimate food truck at house parties is the Lok Lok. In KL, Ipoh, and Penang, these food skewer trucks have boiling pots for cooking with an additional charcoal grille and deep-frying station.

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