Visiting markets in Penang became an almost daily event on our most recent visit. There is such a wide variety that each market has its own point-of-difference. Whether a bustling “wet” market, a flea market, or experiencing Malaysia’s hawker food at one of the Penang night markets, there are plenty of options to keep every market enthusiast satisfied.
Here are my 5 must visit markets in Penang
Cecil Street Market
The first thing that struck me about Cecil Street Market was the hawker food centre. It was huge! Taking up nearly one third of the market, it offered the largest variety of hawker food under one roof that I had come across in my time in Penang.
So before hitting the rest of the market, I sat down to a delicious bowl of koay teow th’ng, a dish I had yet to try in Penang. It was flavourful yet still light and reminded me of my mother’s chicken noodle soup on a cold winters’ day. Although the eating area opens early, the rest of the “wet” market really doesn’t get going until later in the afternoon.
Cecil Street Market has a well-represented seafood section, a good fruit and vegetable selection, and a very loud and lively chicken despatching team in operation.
Cecil Street Market, Lebuh Cecil, George Town. 7.30am to 7pm
Macallum Street Night Market This night market’s main attraction, not surprisingly, is the food. However, it’s not the usual hawker food stalls that dominate, with plenty of other options on offer.
Walking up and down Lintang Macallum 1, you’ll find choices such as flavoured popcorn, waffles, grilled squid, deep fried fish balls and crabs, barbecued pork, and an interesting stall called Mat Toh Yau Dessert, where you’ll find brightly coloured jellies, fruits, and nuts mixed in together to make an interesting and refreshing dessert.
There are the standard non-food stalls offering items such as clothing, sunglasses, and bags, but that’s certainly not the reason to come to the night market.
Macallum Street Night Market, Lintang Macallum 1, George Town. Open Mondays and Thursdays, 6.30pm to 11pm. Note: Monday is the main night.
Pulau Tikis Market
Pulau Tikus Market is a tightly packed market that seems to offer everything a quintessential Penang market can. So much is contained within the market that it has burst at the seams and spilled into the surrounding streets.
Despite being jam-packed, the market is well laid-out and we had no problems making our way through the different areas of the market including the “wet” areas that contain a good meat, seafood, and poultry selection.
There is an excellent range of fruits and vegetables, with a good selection certified organic, as well a couple of stalls selling one of my favourite treats, nyonya keuh. Also, if you’re a fan of roasted meats, head to stall 43, where Seang Kee Enterprise sells roasted duck, pork, and chicken.
Pulau Tikus Market, 3 Jalan Pasar, George Town. Open 7am to 1pm.
Pulau Tikus Night Market After the stall-holders at Pulau Tikus have packed up for the day, the hawker food vendors appear and set up for the night ahead.
We had turned up here after a long day of sight-seeing, and luckily we were famished as we were able to set about trying many of the hawker food dishes on offer.
There are the usual hawker food selections such as char koay teow, fried oysters, chee cheong fun, and the “not-to-be-missed” lok lok, the skewered deep fried meats and vegetables. As is always the way at night markets, there were a number of satay vendors who served up a medley of “meats on a stick” – one of my late night favourites!
Pulau Tikis Night Market, Jalan Pasar, George Town. 5pm to 11pm
Chowrasta Bazaar is one of the more interesting markets in Penang. Entering from Jalan Penang, through the 1920s local council-like façade, the first stalls you come across will be selling candied fruits, preserves, and other cooking items such as belecan and oils.
Further on towards the back of the building, and after passing through an assortment of stalls selling such items as jelly fish and fish balls, fruit and vegetables, you reach the meat, poultry, and seafood sections that fill the recently renovated section of the market.
If you have time, make sure you head upstairs where there are quite a few second hand book stores, filled to the brim with all sorts of books and magazines.
Chowrasta Bazaar, Lebuh Tamil, George Town. Open 6.30am to 1pm.
What are your favourite markets in Penang? Let me know in the comments below.