Top 10 Breakfast In Penang Where Local Penangites Eat
Visitors to George Town love to head out for breakfast in Penang, where the locals eat in the morning.
Most of the time, my friends from outstation (a colloquial word to mean for other states) would ask SmartDory for recommendations.
There was a time that I skipped breakfast; intermittent fasting and all – did it work?
Of course. It worked for my friends.
As for the Little Fish, let’s say she’s back to chowing down some delicious Penang hawker fare and café food for breakfast – AGAIN.
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Local Breakfast In Penang
Many Malaysians love a Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, or a bowl of noodles for breakfast!
Choice drinks are Kopi O or a frofty Teh Tarik.
So, it’s not unusual for the local Kopitiams to open as early as 6.30 AM!
If you go early, you can choose your corner table and enjoy the quieter atmosphere. Plus, you get a wider choice of add-ons for your noodles!
When it comes to breakfast in Penang, every local has their favorites, and believe me, that list is a long one.
Let’s break it down to what tickles my fancy as a chief eater for Penang travel and food blog – SmartDory.
I’m that quintessential Malaysian at heart; this means I would eat Nasi Lemak, Thosai, and Char Koay Teow, breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Recently I’ve started going Pork-Free, AND a whole new world opened before my eyes.
I started to notice vegetarian cafes, restaurants, and Kopitiam.
Mix it up a bit to enjoy the best of Penang’s food scene, and you get the local vibes of cheap eats and artisanal java joints.
Wherever you head to Penang, you must try the local Kopi (Coffee) and toasted Kaya (coconut jam with egg paste), Bread Toast, and Half Boiled Eggs.
Remember to make room for a few other hawker favorites.
If you prefer pork-free versions of hawker food in George Town, you will be happy to eat to your heart’s content at these two Kopitiam in Penang.
Tasty Char Koay Teow without lard. Spicy Curry Mee without blood cubes.
Time to grab a great, inexpensive meal and drink in the atmosphere.
Smart Dory Recommends The Ultimate Breakfast In Penang.
While there are many great places to eat, these are my favorite Kopitiam that I go to regularly.
For the best in vegetarian Penang hawker food, check out my all-time favorite Kopitiam at the end of the article.
1 Bee Hwa Café (Halal)
Bee Hwa Café is a Muhibbah Kopitiam patronized by Muslims, Hindus, and the Chinese community.
The Chinese lady owner is the cook, and she makes delicious Penang hawker food with chicken from a Halal-certified supplier.
The Indonesian Muslim helpers prep the ingredients, make your kaya toast and eggs and serve you.
Coffee is good solid and thick with a fragrant aroma.
My go-to order is Spicy Curry Mee, and Kopi O served in a big mug and Toast with Eggs.
If you like the heat and spicy, try the Char Koay Teow or Maggi Goreng with added sambal for a kick.
You can find a picture menu of other pork-free versions of Penang local delights pasted on the Kopitiam walls.
Go early to chope the table!
What I Order: Spicy Curry Mee, Toast with Eggs and Kopi O
Bee Hwa Cafe Penang (Halal)
Location: 10, Lebuh Dickens, George Town, 10050 George Town, Penang
Opening Hours: 7.00 AM – 4.00 PM (Closed on Sundays)
2 Ali Nasi Lemak Daun Pisang @ Beach Street (Halal)
A long line of customers waiting to tapao (takeaway) the pre-packed Nasi Lemak wrapped in banana leaves at Sri Weld Food Court.
The choice of toppings aside from Ikan Bilis and Telur is Fried Fish, Squid, and even Prawns.
However, there is no fried chicken on the menu.
The fiery red sambal sauce has a slightly sweet taste!
You must try the basic Telur and Ikan Bilis while you pile on the ingredients for your other orders!
What I Order: Telur and Ikan Bilis with extra Fried Fish.
Ali Nasi Lemak Daun Pisang
Location: Sri Weld Food Court, Beach St, George Town, 10300 George Town, Penang
Landmark: Near Tourism Malaysia Office
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 7 AM to 3 PM, Saturday 7 AM to 2 PM, Closed on Sundays
3 Roti Canai Gemas Road (Halal)
Gemas Road Roti Canai serves one of the tastiest Roti (Paratha) with a slice of cheese, Sunnyside up eggs, and raw onions!
Try a Roti Canai with their available curries – dhal, chicken, or beef curry!
Unless you have a sweet tooth, you may want to ask for less sugar for your Teh Tarik.
Go early in the morning if you don’t want to wait for a free table!
Peak hours for breakfast are between 9 AM and 11:30 AM!
Recommendation: I love the roti with curry chicken, a fried egg, add cheese slice and extra raw onions. Of course, a mix of the curries for the “banjir” way locals enjoy their roti!
Roti Canai Gemas Road
Location: 51, 29, Jalan Gemas, Taman Kampar, 10460 George Town, Penang
Landmark: Caunter Hall
Opening Hours: Thursday, Saturday & Sunday: 7 AM to 12:30 PM
Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday: 7.00 AM to 12:30 PM and 5.30 PM to 9.00 PM (Closed on Mondays)
4 Arati Villas (Pork-free food but serves Alcohol)
If you’re staying at hotels in Tanjung Bungah and opt-out of buffet breakfasts, head to Arati.
Arati Villas is a favorite with the locals and residences around the Tanjong Bungah area.
You’ll’ be happy to find some authentic banana leaf rice here without going downtown.
Check out the wide range of authentic home-cooked Indian dishes.
You can choose Roti Jala, Chapati, and Roti Bomb instead of eating rice.
Arati Villas is most well known for their delicious Indian food at an affordable price.
What I Order: Roti Jala with the Chicken Curry and Masala Potato
Location: 9, Tanjung Bunga Park, Tanjung Tokong, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Penang.
Landmark: Opposite Hotel Mercure Penang Beach
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday 8.00 AM – 10.00 PM, Saturday to Sunday 7.30 AM – 10.00 PM (Closed on Monday)
5 Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee (Non-Halal)
Penangite’s favorite gem is the Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee.
The curry noodle stall is close to half a century old, with second and third-generation regulars showing up for breakfast daily.
A big bowl of spicy Curry Mee comes with blanched yellow noodles swimming in a thick curry broth.
If you love the creamy taste of santan and spicy chili, you need to head here early for a bowl of deliciousness.
What I Order: Big Bowl with extra chili paste and order two glasses of iced Kopi
Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee
Location: 55, Lorong Seratus Tahun, 10400 George Town, Penang
Opening Hours: 7.30 AM – 2.30 PM (Closed on Thursdays)
6 Ah Koo’s Hokkien Mee @ Classic Café (Non-Halal)
Regulars eat their Hokkien Mee at Ah Koo’s every morning without fail.
Ah Koo’s, a local favorite, is reputable for its dose of the best Hokkien Mee in Penang.
The stall operates only during the morning.
Be prepared for a minimum of 30 minutes during peak hours.
Classic Café is one of the first Kopitiam in Penang that has only one hawker stall that fully packs every day.
Ah Koo’s Hokkien mee broth is one of the thickest, with a full-bodied shrimp aroma.
If you’re lucky, you get an extra serving of crispy lard bits!
Depending on your preference, some may find the soup too sweet.
Be sure to get there early if you want a bowl, and be prepared to wait for a table and wait for your food.
By 11 AM, the stall is sold out.
What I Order: Hokkien Mee with Bee Hoon prawns and extra prawns.
Ah Koo’s Hokkien Mee @ Classic Cafe
Location: 126 Jalan Perak, 10150 George Town, Penang
Opening Hours: 8.00 AM to 11.30 AM (Closed on Tuesday)
7 Chok Kee Porridge Café (Non-Halal)
Our pick of thick, flavourful Chee Cheong Chok is at one of Penang’s oldest pork porridge places.
Chok Kee Porridge serves the Cantonese style thick porridge flavourful served with pig innards, pig blood cubes, and topped with smokey roasted pig’s intestines.
Chok Kee Porridge Cafe
Location: 188, Lebuh Kimberley, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang
Landmark: Next to Wei Min Medical Hall
Opening Hours: (Mon-Fri) 11.00 AM – 4.30 PM (Sat & Sun) 8.30 AM – 2.30 PM
8 Pushcart Char Koay Kak (Fried Radish Cake) (Non-Halal)
The Sister Char Koay Kak Pushcart stall at Macalister Lane, currently run by the Eoh sisters, has been around since 1963.
One of my favorites, the Fried Radish Cake, is the most aromatic, soy-infused delicious, cholesterol-laden treat.
The most decadent way to eat this is to have the sisters cook this with two eggs!
Eoh Sisters Char Koay Kak
Location: 94C, Lorong Macalister, George Town, Penang
Landmark: Seow Fong Lye Coffee Shop
Opening Hours: 7.30 AM to 1.00 PM (Days off are not fixed)
9 Chee Cheong Fun @ Seow Fong Lye (Non-Halal)
Penang Chee Cheong Fun is steamed warm rolled soft, thin rice noodles.
The dish is served with a mix of three sauces to flavor the plain steamed rice flour rolls.
The main ingredient is shrimp paste which gives it an extra intense, savory flavor.
The garnish is a dash of shallot oil, a shake of toasted sesame seeds, and fried shallot crisps.
Sweet Sauce and chili paste add a balance to the taste.
If you prefer, you can ask for it to be unrolled, so you get more sauce on the Chee Cheong Fun.
If you don’t fancy the sauces, you can order the Chee Cheong Fun cut unrolled, served with shallot oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and fried shallot crisps.
For takeaways, he will recommend not to get it steamed.
Chee Cheong Fun @ Seow Fong Lye
Location: Macalister Lane, Penang
Landmark: Stall outside Seow Fong Lye Cafe
Opening Hours: 7.30 AM -12.30 PM (Closed on Wednesdays)
10 Jian Jian Vegetarian Food
For vegetarians, Jian Jian is the place to get your Penang Hawker food fix.
When the food is good, what I do is eat through the menu.
Jian Jian Vegetarian Food has a daily rotating menu for a vegetarian version of Penang’s favorite hawker noodles, fried and soupy.
The Penang Assam Laksa and Char Hor Fun, both the dry and wet versions, are my favorites.
If you want to try “Oh Chien” Fried Oyster – you can order a vegetarian version. The spicy chili dipping sauce is the bomb.
What I Order: Dry Char Hor Fun and Penang Assam Laksa with Kopi.
Jian Jian Vegetarian Food
Location: 58, Lebuh Tye Sin, George Town, 10300 George Town, Penang
Landmark: At the corner of Lebuh Tye Sin and Lebuh Cecil
Opening Hours: 7.00 AM – 2.00 PM
10 Places For Breakfast In Penang Is Not Enough?
I know. That’s why I added more places that I frequent. Believe me. It’s not so easy to get the shortlist.
11 Fried Fish Bee Hoon @Goh Chew Kopitiam (Non-Halal)
Goh Chew Kopitiam at Lorong Baru (New Lane) has a stall serving lux version of the humble Economy Fried Bee Hoon and Yellow Noodles.
The noodles are cooked with lard oil (a lot of it) and well infused with a mild savouriness from soya sauce.
Economy Fried Bee Hoon is an essential comfort food many enjoy without any other ingredients.
The lux version has deep-fried fresh sea bass and large prawns to go with your order.
The Sambal Chili (somewhat oily) is served on a small plate as a dipping sauce.
Some diners complain that the Noodles taste bland tasting without any Wok Hey, but then again, this is a braised noodles dish – not comparable to Char Hor Fun.
What I Order: Char Bee Hoon with Extra Fried Fish and Prawns and Kopi Peng.
Kedai Kopi Goh Chew 五洲茶室 (Non-Halal)
Location: 45, Lorong Baru, (New Lane) George Town, Penang
Landmark: Next to Sunway Hotel
Opening Hours: 8.30 AM -12.00 PM (Closed on Tuesday)
12 Restaurant Jaya AGD
There is a variety of vegetarian/vegan foods separated from regular Indian food.
You can find a whole section with different local veggies, mushrooms, veg chicken, and veg meat cooked in a traditional Indian style.
Try Indian bread such as roti-canai and chapati.
What I Order: Cheese Chapati with Masala Potatoes and Bru Coffee
Restoran Jaya AGD Sdn Bhd (Jalan Gottlieb)
25, Jalan Gottlieb, Taman Selamat, 10350 George Town, Penang
Landmark: Hope Children Hospital, Jalan Gottlieb
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday 7 AM to 11 PM
13 OO White Kopi Waterfall (Non-Halal)
OO White Coffee is a modernized “Kopitiam” that provides various Malaysian’s local food.
You can find local favorites Hokkien Mee, Char Kuey Teow, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Teow Chew Fried Oyster.
They are known for their signature hand-brewed coffee and Nanyang kaya butter toast.
For early risers and joggers at the Botanical Gardens, this Kopitiam opens early in the morning.
What I Order: Nanyang kaya butter toast and Kopi
OO White Coffee Waterfall
29 & 31, Jalan Gottlieb, Taman Selamat, 10350 George Town, Penang.
Landmark: Waterfall Hotel, Jalan Gottlieb
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday 7.00 AM to 5.00 PM
14 Roti By Golden Bowl (Non-Halal)
Ever wonder what it’s like to have a western breakfast under a shady tree?
Head to the heartland near some condos off the touristy spots. You’ll find Roti by Golden Bowl.
Start with a classic have Kaya Butter Toast, Eggs, and Coffee.
You can try fancy Pocket Toasts or even Cheesy Maggi.
Leave the Lattes and Cuppuicno for the cafes.
You’ll want to try their signature Kiam Kopi (Salted Coffee) and Hor Ka Sai (Tiger Bite Lion)
What I Order: Cheesy Maggi and Iced Kiam Kopi.
Roti By Golden Bowl
9, Medan Penaga, Kampung Batu Lanchang, 11600 George Town, Penang
Landmark: Taman Selatan Apartment
8.00 AM to 2.30 PM (Mon-Sat) 7.30 AM to 2.30 PM (Sundays) (Closed on Tuesdays)
15 Chettiar’s Tiffin Café @ Penang Street
Chettiar’s Tiffin Café’s variety of South Indian food is popular with the local breakfast crowds.
The restaurant has an extensive menu and serves delicious food quickly. The prices are low, and the portions are pretty big.
Dosai, Idli, Vada are all tasty!
Try the South Indian combo with Masala Chai for breakfast.
They do an excellent Banana Leaf Thaali for lunch.
My favorite is their freshly fried Vadai made on order.
What I Order: Vada and Masala Chai
Chettiar’s Tiffin Café
35, Lebuh Penang, 10200 George Town, Penang
Landmark: Opposite Woodlands Restaurant
8.30 AM to 10.00 PM
Let me know if there are other Kopitiam you enjoy your breakfast in, and I’ll add that to the blog.