Bee Hwa Cafe Penang – Halal Chinese Kopitiam Hawker Food
Bee Hwa Cafe is one of Penang’s popular Kopitiam with a Muslim clientele.
Penang is famous for Kopitiam and Chinese hawker food, but Muslim visitors cannot eat any Chinese food as they are non-halal.
Many Muslims are happy to finally get the real Chinese hawker food at Bee Hwa Café.
If you love the nostalgia of an old-school eatery where you meet all Malaysians, Malays, Chinese, Indians – everyone, you will love it here.
For me, it reminds me of the school day canteen.
I remembered having the Curry Mee at Bee Hwa more than 20 years ago.
Today on the eve of MCO, I decide to visit to write for Smart Dory Food and Travel Blog.
The Kopitiam has a camaraderie where everyone is friendly, such a pleasant sight.
Bee Hwa Cafe History
Established in 1967, Bee Hwa started as a traditional Chinese Kopitiam on Lebuh Dickens opposite the Penang Contingent Police Headquarters.
As a child, I remembered seeing some plains clothes police officer having their meals here, thinking this is the safest place to eat!
In 1992, Ah Lian started selling style Chinese PORK FREE local hawker food in the Kopitiam– a brilliant move to cater to the niche Muslim market.
There are more than 20 items on the menu to choose.
Bee Hwa Cafe’s customers are from all races, especially Muslims and Indians who enjoy the pork-free dishes.
The Significance of Jawi Signage at Bee Hwa Cafe
According to the owner, many years ago, a Jawi teacher visited to try Penang Char Kway Teow and was bowled over by the dish’s flavour and texture.
The Jawi teacher wrote the sign and the owner decided to incorporate that as part of their decoration in the Kopitiam.
Best Time To Visit Bee Hwa Cafe
The Kopitiam is crowded during breakfast and lunchtime.
Back in the day, it was common practice to share tables with strangers, everyone is friendly and happily obliges.
With the current SOP in place, be prepared to wait as there is limited seating in the shop.
I have been several times in recent years and found the Kopitiam is always busy and full.
Foodwise, the Kopitiam is Pork Free and has a good selection of hawker food both fried and soupy noodles.
Depending on what you want to eat, you can have brunch or a light breakfast here.
You can get your Toasts, Egg and Kopi O if you want something light.
Bee Hwa Cafe Ambiance.
Unlike similar Kopitiam of its era which is run down, Bee Hwa Cafe is remarkably clean and well ventilated.
In case the main dining area is full, customers can be seated at the adjacent shop or on tables along the verandah was.
Bee Hwa Cafe Service
When you first arrive, you will find the shop busy.
The best bet is to look around the other tables and observed what other folks are eating.
You will see a Chinese man always on the move, directing the customers, taking orders.
The cook is the Chinese lady, serving the food, and sometimes even serving your meal.
No matter how busy she is, Ah Lian takes the time to answer your questions with a smile.
Bee Hwa Cafe Popular Breakfast Spot With Muslim Travellers
During breakfast, the Kopitiam is fully packed with customers.
Yes, it is that popular as a Muslim friendly breakfast spot in George Town.
If you visit beyond breakfast time, some items may be sold out.
Bee Hwa caters to everybody as the dishes are halal and completely street food worthy.
The Kopitiam serves a variety of well know Penang hawker dishes.
The shop owner does most of the cooking.
Only Chicken (from halal suppliers) and Seafood is used in the cooking.
Most notable: Bee Hwa Cafe does not serve pork, beef, or alcoholic beverages, making the Kopitiam a welcome respite to attract customers from all ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Bee Hwa’s Signatures Kopitiam Dishes
One of the most popular items on the menu is their Signature Curry Mee, Hokkien Mee, and Hailam Mee.
Like all Kopitiam style food, the menu has soupy noodles and stir-fried suitable for all taste buds.
Bee Hwa Cafe Menu
At this Kopitiam, they will encourage you to add chilli padi (bird eye chillies) to your Char Koay Teow if you like it spicier.
The portions are more generous, and you can always add on an extra fried egg for a creamier more filling satisfaction!
Cooked without pork, the food is a healthier version but does not lack for taste.
Soup Series Menu
White Curry Mee (RM6.00)
Something that you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Penang – Curry Mee.
Here at Bee Hwa Cafe on Lebuh Dickens, you get to enjoy halal Curry Mee without compromising its authentic taste.
Same Yellow Noodles and Bihun bathed in a white, creamy in a coconut milk broth.
The ingredients are Prawns, Cuttlefish, Crab Sticks, Hard-boiled eggs, Tofu Puffs and Mint Leaves.
Add in the cooked Chili Paste to make the broth spicier in this bowl of awesomeness!
Hokkien Mee (RM6.00)
Penang Hokkien Mee is known as Prawn Mee out of the state.
The noodles are a combination of Yellow Noodles and Bihun (Rice Vermicelli); in a salty broth derived from shrimp heads and shells.
Other ingredients and garnish include prawns, fish balls, crab sticks, fishcakes, hard-boiled eggs, Kangkong (water spinach) and sambal (chilli paste).
Penang Chicken Soup – Koay Teow Th’ng (RM6.00)
Koay Teow Th’ng is the best choice for a soupy meal with milder flavours of thin flat rice noodle in clear chicken broth.
Other ingredients are Chicken, Prawns, Fish Balls, Crab Sticks, Fishcakes and Yau Mak Lettuce.
Stir-Fried Series Menu
Char Koay Teow (RM6.00)
Penang’s most iconic street food sold by hawkers are not halal.
If you’re looking to try Penang’s authentic Char Koay Teow, you can get a dish here without Pork or Beef.
Most Muslim love to try a halal version of this stir-fried Kway Teow with Prawns, Cockles, Fish Balls, Crabsticks, Eggs, Bean Sprouts, Garlic Chives and Chili Paste.
Char Koay Teow is best-enjoyed piping hot full of Wok Hey (breath of the wok).
Sang Mee (RM7.00)
A Cantonese noodle, Sang Mee is a crispy egg noodle covered with a savoury eggy gravy with Chicken, prawns, Fishballs, Crab Sticks Yau Mak Lettuce.
The combination of texture is what makes Sang Mee very appealing.
Nasi Goreng or Fried Rice (RM6.00)
Nasi Goreng is one of Malaysians’ staple comfort foods.
For rice lovers, you can order Nasi Goreng for a more filling brunch.
Everyone has their favourite combo of stir-fried, cooked rice fried with Prawns, Fish Balls, Crab Sticks and Eggs in a wok.
The garnish is Yau Mak Lettuce, spring onions and fried shallots. If you prefer to spice things up, adding chilli paste should do the trick.
Birthday Mee aka Ladna Style (RM6.00)
You will find a little know noodle dish called the “birthday mee” or Nyonya Lam Mee.
Nyonya Lam Mee is also known as “Birthday Mee” in Penang.
The dish has a combination of Yellow Noodles and Bihun in a clear, starchy gravy that the Chinese traditionally served during birthday celebrations to wish the birthday boy or girl longevity.
Toasted Bread or Roti Bakar (RM2.20)
Toasted Bread is a popular breakfast in any Penang Kopitiam.
You get a set of “sandwiches” with toasted slices of white bread spread with Butter and Kaya (coconut jam).
Half Boiled Eggs (RM2.60)
Feel free to add pepper and soy sauce to suit your taste and dunk the toasted bread in to eat.
Bee Hwa Cafe serves a variety of hot and cold drinks.
Kopi Susu (RM1.90)
Local black coffee sweetened with condensed milk is Kopi.
If you order it black, it is Kopi O.
Teh Ais (RM1.90)
A sweet Ceylon milk tea topped with ice.
Bee Hwa Café Review
Bee Hwa Cafe is well known among the locals.
Over the years, the Kopitiam has built a good following from outstation visitors and foreign tourists.
Most Muslim travellers love to visit for a chance to taste the Chinese Penang hawker food here.
One thing for sure, all Malaysians love to indulge in eating together – hence the popularity of Mamak late-night joints.
Bee Hwa Cafe – A Chinese Kopitiam All Malaysians Love
The appeal is not in its popularity but rather in a multicultural community’s ambience to eat with mutual respect and unity.
Bee Hwa Café knows that keeping everyone happy and maintains a personal touch with all customers.
Keeping food prices affordable with a generous portion of good food and service is the best customer service a Kopitiam can provide.
Go for the “special” for more ingredients on your plate.
Personally, for the Chinese who are used to the taste of the original Penang porky hawker food, the bite at Bee Hwa is a little different.
The taste of the Hokkien Mee is slightly on the saltier side.
Bee Hwa’s Char Kway Teow is okay but lacks the taste that the Chinese are accustomed to eating.
Overall, if you have Muslim friends visiting the state, I would recommend that you bring them to Bee Hwa Cafe to sample most of the Chinese hawker food here before touring around Georgetown heritage area in Penang.
Let’s Makan and Happy Eating.
Note on Food Preparation:
Bee Hwa Cafe uses fresh chicken to make their soup stock and in the dishes.
The Chicken is slaughtered according to Islamic slaughtering procedures.
Bee Hwa Cafe
10, Lebuh Dickens, 10050 George Town, Penang
Landmark: Penang Contingent Police Headquarters
Business hours: 7:00am-3:00pm, closed on Sundays
Website: Bee Hwa Cafe
Coordinates: 5.41890 N, 100.33094 E
Directions: Bee Hwa Cafe is located at Dickens Street (Lebuh Dickens), you turn in from Penang Road after Mydin into a one-way road next to the Penang Contingent Police Headquarters.
Street parking is available along this road, otherwise, you can park at the multi-storey public car park on Lebuh Hutton and walk via the side lane to Lebuh Dickens.