Five Malaysian entries in the ‘Top 50 World Street Food Masters’ list

A delectable plate of char koay teow at Kimberly Street - Mouth-watering, ya?

Malaysia has five entries in the Top 50, two of which are from Penang. But before we get all puffed up, Singapore has 14 in the listing prepared by the World Street Food Congress 2017 in Manila.

Perhaps it is time to consider setting up a Penang Street Food Academy to focus on passing on the maestros’ culinary arts skills to the younger generation.

1. Hill Street Tai Hwa Bak Chor Mee, Singapore
466 Crawford Lane, Tai Hwa Eating House #01-12 Singapore 190465
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:30am to 9:00pm (Closed on 1st & 3rd Mondays of the month)

“They are the first family behind this Singapore invented dish and the second generation, already in his sixties, have now received worldwide attention as one of the first street food hawkers to obtain a Michelin Star. The sambal and black vinegar laced pork noodle, is
the stuff addiction is made of and the wait for an order, is about 90 minutes today.”

2. Franklin’s BBQ, Austin, USA
Austin Historic East Side, 900E, 11th, Austin Texas, TX 78702, USA
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:00am to 3:00pm

“They have this “best bbq in the world” reputation and Anthony Bourdain calls it “the finest brisket I’ve ever had.”. The wait every day, is at least 3 hours to get into this restaurant selling what cowboys used to grill in the streets back in the day. Folks head there in the wee hours of the morning before they open. And the wait time, is like party with food nuts. The meat is fork tender, moist and the “bark” is bold and confident. The flavour, smoking good and redolent with salt, pepper and touches of Worchester sauce and the magic is the art of the grill master in this bbq house. They sell out by 3pm each day.”

3. Che Paek Pu Ob Voon Sen, Bangkok, Thailand
Thanon Charoen Rat Soi 1, Khlong San, Bangkok
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 5:00pm to 10:00pm (Closed on public holidays)

“They open from 5pm each day and literally hijack the entire street side walkway and set up seating for over a hundred people each night. If you are lucky to get a seat without a wait, then ease up to the stall and watch them put this crab or prawn glass noodle in a seasoned steel pot together. The lard, spring onions, garlic, basic seasoning and the natural juices of the crustaceans seizes the glass noodles and it is absolutely arresting, and the atmosphere, vintage Thai street side chow at its best.”

4. Aling Lucing Sisig, Pampanga, Philippines
Corner G. Valdez and Agipito del Rosario Streets, Angeles City, Luzon, Philippines
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 6:00am to 3:00am

“This is the second generation of the grand dame that created this dish from very desperate and humble beginnings last century in Pampanga, Philippines. This chopped hog head salad with soy, lime and chilli is regarded as a national dish of sorts.”

5. Pak Sadi Soto Ambengan, Jakarta, Indonesia
Jl. Wolter Monginsidi No. 28 Petogogan Kebayoran Baru, RT.1/R-W.6, Petogogan, Kby. Baru, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12170, Indonesia
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 7:30am to 9:30pm

The amount of seafood and bones blended into the broth laced with very accommodating spices is why top foodies raise their hand in agreement over this hawker with very humble beginnings. The prawn cracker crush and fried chopped garlic topping takes this dish
to another level.”

6. Datau Roast Goose, Shunde, Guangzhou, China
Xiaodi Road 76, Shunde Qu, Foshan Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:00am to 1:00pm & 4:00pm to 8:00pm

“It’s a one dish food shop and it is deceivingly simple. He only displays a couple of geese at a time because another lot is always roasting in his basement wood fired oven. The turnover is very high. Foodies in Shunde, the food capital of Guangzhou, have high regards for this master. You get them hot, fresh, juicy and crispy all at once. Do ask for slices of the goose liver.”

7. General’s Lechon, Manila, Philippines
Second Floor, Petron Gas Station, EDSA Corner Arnaiz Avenue, Dasmariñas Village, Makati City, Manila, Philippines
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 9:30am to 9:00pm

“This humble food shop that sees more delivery orders than at their little shop has this Negros style lechon perfected down pat. “Crispy out and soft inside” is a common call cry among their fans and we must should add “juicy and oh, the garlic chilli”. They have a masala
risotto lechon that beckons the jaded lechon lover.”

8. La Guerrerense, Ensenada, Mexico
Lopez Mateos (Calle 1ra) y Alvarado, 22785 Ensenada, Mexico
Opening hours: Friday to Wednesday, 10:30am to 5:00pm (Closed on Thursday)

“This mum and daughter team remains true to traditions. They offer seafood and avocado tostadas and you’ll only realise how good and humbling this is when you finally taste the home made salsas buried in it. They were one of the big hits at the inaugural World Street Food Congress 2013 in Singapore.”

9. Line Clear Nasi Kandar, Penang, Malaysia
177, Jalan Penang, George Town, 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang,
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, Open 24 Hours

“Arguably the most famous Nasi Kandar stall in Malaysia. They occupy a side lane, not even a stall, with their selection of masala fried chicken, fish head curry, lamb, sambal prawns, eggs, spicy greens, etc, all lined up along the wall in stainless steel pans, you just devour them with rice. Turnover is very high and they are very loud and friendly, as is the customers.”

10. Chey Sua Fried Carrot Cake, Singapore
#02-30 Toa Payoh West Market and Food Court, 127 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh 310127
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 6:00am to 1:00pm

“They are believed to be the first to introduce the now popular fried carrot cake frittata style. They make their own cakes and the quality shines through. They are legends in their own right and even Michelin has recognised them in their guides. A whole flat stack of chopped daikona and rice flour cakes is slowly pan fried with eggs, pickled daikon, and fish sauce. “

Other Malaysian entries in the top 50:

14. Siam Rd Cha Kway Teow, Penang, Malaysia
Jalan Siam, George Town, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 3:00pm to 11:00pm (Closed on

“The classic travelling food cart on 4 wheels. He cooks it over a perfected-over-the-decades wood-fired wok, and the smoky smooth appeal is the reason for the lines wherever he drags his cha kway teow cart to.“

23. Fauzi Nasi Kerabu, Terengganu, Malaysia
Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, 2000 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 7:00am to 12:30pm

“You can see the street side smoky chaos they create come meal times, especially at lunch. Fragrant blue rice, lightly flavoured, then perfumed and coloured with blue pea flower or bunga telang. They grill a stack of spicy chicken (or beef) and top this over that blue rice with a spiced grated coconut bean sprout salad (or ulam) with a piece of salted egg to kick the flavours up a few notches. Side orders include a stuff pepper with minced chicken. The street side shed food shop and is very popular with the locals and they don’t tweak it
especially for tourist, it’s just as it is, no matter who you are.”

34. Nonya Mee Siam Donald and Lily’s, Malacca, Malaysia
No. 16, Ground Floor, Jalan KSB 1, Taman Kota Shah Bandar,
Melaka, 75200 Malacca, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30am to 4:00pm

“Donald and Lily are known to be the first Nyonya hawker in the Peranakan capital of Malacca, Malaysia. Now roosting in this food shop, their range of popular Nyonya snacks and dishes have found favour with many. The Mee Siam, a rice noodle dish, wok tossed in a
sharp and tangy chilli sambal and doused with even more of the sambal, is addictive and uber moreish. A second generation helmed by daughter Jennifer, has comfortable eased into proper succession mode.“

36. Guan Heong Biscuit Shop, Perak, Malaysia
160, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 3000, Ipoh Perak, Malaysia, Tau Sa Piah Pork Floss, Ipoh, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9:00am to 7:00pm & Sunday,
10:00am to 3:00pm

“This tau sa piah or bean paste biscuit is really a ball of lotus bean paste stuff into lard and butter loaded dough ball, mould and baked to perfection. Nothing much about the method has changed. It’s still all hand grease work and each ball of dough is stuffed with the old
school lotus paste but new and very agreeable versions include bak kwa (pork jerky) and pork floss. You’ve been warned!

43. Jalan Kuli Satay, Malacca, Malaysia
50/52, Jalan Kota Laksamana 1/1, Taman Kota Laksamana, 75200
Melaka, Malaysia

“Watch carefully at how inventive this signboard-less little stall is. The weather beaten wood fire grill has a trough of water so steam and moisture the satay skewers as it fires up over the smoky charcoal heat. It prevents the sticks from burning up too. The resultant smoky skewers of pork satay, with a layer of fat are dunked in a peanut sauce that is sharpened with a dollop of sour belimnbing (wild starfruit) mash and some chilli oils. They operate only for half a day as they can only hand make so much daily.

The full Top 50 listing can be found here.

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Celebrity chef Martin Yan recognises Penang as global street food centre

“Foods that are prepared on the street are considered street food but if you serve street food in the restaurant or hotels it can become Michelin-rated food,” he said.


MBPP has revoked licences of 17 hawkers for violating the ban on hiring foreign cooks.

Councillor Ong Ah Teong said 16 hawkers lost their licences in 2016, while another one had his cancelled last year after the ban came into effect in January 2016.

Ong said for privately-run coffee shops, foreigners were not allowed to be the principal cooks for 13 local delicacies.

They are asam laksa, char koay teow, loh bak, hokkien mee, curry mee, chee cheong fun, wan tan mee, pasembur, mee sotong, char koay kak, oh chien, koay teow soup and nasi lemak.


Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan announced that roadside traders will be gone from the streets of Kuala Lumpur by 2020, and they would either be relocated or will have to operate from food trucks.

Will this happen to Penang Street Food vendors too?


It’s Incredible: Penang folk waste 700,000kg of food daily FOR more than half a century, Penang relished its reputation as a food haven. With a wide variety of foods, such as char koey teow and nasi kandar, that are easily available, people are spoilt for choice. Unfortunately, they are also unappreciative. This is evident from the high volume of food wastage recorded in the state daily, estimated by the state government to be at an average of 700,000kg. In figurative terms, 700,000kg is the weight of four empty 747 passenger aircraft or 700 Proton Saga (second-generation) models. State Welfare,… Read more »


Cancer-hit Singapore char kway teow hawker seeks to raise funds for his treatment. He is ready to teach anyone who is willing to pay at least S$10,000 for the privilege. He said it will take about a month to learn the proper frying wok techniques from him.


Food in Malaysia is good, but education is somehow not up to regional standard.

Malaysian universities failed to break into the top 100 of the inaugural Times Higher Education (THE) Best Asia-Pacific universities’ ranking, with Universiti Malaya not even making the top 200 universities in the region.


Better opt for HOT coffee, not iced ones!

The BBC reports that it found “varying levels” of the fecal bacteria in samples of iced drinks from [various prominent coffee outlets].


Anthony Bourdain wants to save street food BUT here’s the threat to keeping our Original-Maestros: The Bourdain Market (to please Tham Chiah Kui New Yorkers). How is Bourdain going to uproot a hawker entrenched in his little corner in Hanoi to New York? The same motivation as always, he said: money, opportunity, freedom to try a new thing. “Obviously we would need to be making some compelling arguments to move someone who has a good thing going in a street corner in Hanoi to go to a strange and terrible new world where everything is uncertain and we are… Read more »


Siam Road Char Kuey Teow closed for 10 days til 4 July. The boss is possibly now in New York to check up Bourdain Market?


Not sure if you notice now less traditional ingredients as the result of barang naik ?

Garlic has reached RM13-20/kg range (was RM2-4) such that some hawkers now put less garlic in preparing the meals. No wonder we are losing out to Singapore not stingy on ingredients due to stronger S$.

Bean sprout (taugeh) used to be so cheap now more expensive, seeing less of it in Char Kway Teow and Mee Goreng.

You can add on….


Siam Road Char Kway Teow always being underratedand good for locals, until its being mentioned to the world. Now the q is even longer than that Chendol one.
Widely circulated in social media, not sure if Anil has seen the ovation video as the CKT guy push his hawking truck to Siam Road.


This video was taken on Jan 2019:


Many believe Singapore is surpassing us in many fields, and now our famous street food not being recognized what a shame. Wont be surprised many local ori-maestros to pass over secret recipes to Singapore when they chosse to operate there knowing there is “equality” scenario there (meritocracy strives instead of quota system)

However, Singapore cannot compete with Malaysia on the scale of Money Games & Pink Diamond matter !!!


Michelin’s Bib Gourmand goes to 38 Singapore eateries this year


JK Lim

Penang hawker offers little value for money given its small portion and increased price tag.

Renee Reeves

Tourists come to sample various hawker fares at one time, so portions are made small for them to dine different hawker offerings. Locals are the ultimate losers.


Malaysian consumers bought around RM6.8bil worth of smartphones last year, according to Germany’s largest market research organisation, GfK.

High propensity in phone upgrading, less money for quality food now?


More food items to get GST from July 2017!

Front page news on Chinese papers today!
– Potato, coffee, corn, sotong, kway teow…
Barang Naik lagi!

Rani Shankaran

Luckily last minute U Turn else price hike again by hawkers. But Regime Barang Naik has given us what to expect for GST hike if it is voted into government again in GE14. Every vote counts to deny BN!


Such over hyping will lead to higher price, not


The Great White Father has spoken, even if it is about what you have been eating traditionally. Perhaps we can expect more “international ratings” of other fields such as plumbing, farming, etc.

Recognition and accreditation is largely rent extraction. Whether it is programming, real estate, call centre service, etc., a cert from a professional association gives an employer little help in assessing an employee. Generally, it only proves the ability to regurgitate theory that grows obsolete by the year and month. At best, it gets the employee (already in the profession) an increment or two.


What talking you?


Recently, I enjoyed a heavenly Wan Ton Mee (in black sauce) by the roadside @ Trengganu Road (in front of Lye Lye Food Court). Operating Hrs starting 7pm. A Large Bowl just costs Rm4.80 The Fried Wanton is the best in Penang Island. You gotta try to believe my words. On a lighter note, just drive to Jalan Trengganu-Jalan Free School roundabout (opposite Heng Ee School). You will not miss these ‘symbolic’ plant sculptures sitting on this roundabout – 11 HUGE ‘PHALLIC’-SHAPED TREES in 2-tones in straight skyward erection! Erectus-botanicus? frenzy @ MBPP or state horticulture department? C’mon. Why must… Read more »


You won’t miss these 11 ‘symbolic’ plant sculptures if you drive from Jalan Pinhorn to the roundabout.
zoro, you are welcomed to Penang to witness this Cleaner Greener + Hotter Penang work art.


Quick action (on Saturday) by whoever has rectified this roundabout plant sculptures. Actually, there are 12 trees. Now, they look like DAP rockets!


Now you dismiss the creavity of the state gomen. Art is subjective and just like food and claim that is the best one ton mee and drive all the way there burning all the fossil and leaving behind the carbon foot prints. No wonder Penang is much hotter now just for 4.80


Contrary to the religion of globalisation, if you value your culture and economy, you had better hope that the unique things in your locale do not attract international attention.

Danny Kua

Eye opener for Penangites as Street Food recognition loses out to cosmopolitan Singapore.

More ori-maestro’s children may seek to migrate to Sing Land to being along the secret recipes ?


You bet!
This is also an eye-opener to that curator @Penang Museum, Macalister Road.
Who seemed not interested to push for a Penang Street Food Museum, which actually could have made this almost empty ghostly museum a profitably managed site, as it also is so strategically near to New Lane Street Hawker Food Haven.


Opened by ex-Penangite, in Singapore:

JK Lim

Good Penang fare easily available in Singapore.

Penang Place at Suntec City Singapore – all you can eat buffet of Penang hawker food at S$40 – less than the Air Asia ticket from Singapore to Penang!