Butterworth must-try food

  • Wantan Mee in Butterworth
  • I'm eating bah kut teh at jalan raja uda in Butterworth
  • Hap Ki Seng in the tray
  • Food market stalls
  • After mixing the bah kut teh ingredients
  • Cendol Pulut Penang
  • The Tarik - Malaysian Pull Tea
  • Hap Ki Seng
  • Bah Kut Teh
  • Nasi Kandar, a favourite in Butterworth
  • Masala Vadai
  • Fried Kueh Tiaw
  • Market popular for char kueh tiaw in jalan raja uda Butterworth

A traveller will never be separated from visiting new interesting destinations, and from trying new delicacies of course. I am pretty sure lots of people out there agree with this statement. I know this from my experience in life, and today I will share my knowledge about a place called Butterworth.

I'm eating bah kut teh at jalan raja uda in Butterworth

I’m eating bah kut teh at jalan raja uda in Butterworth

When I plan a trip, I follow a usual routine every time. A few things pop up in my mind first: the budget, the hotel and its location, the amazing destinations, souvenirs and, not to forget, food! Trust me, I do a lot of research before going anywhere. So, you see how all this is connected and now, since we are talking about food, I want you to visualize food as our topic of the day.

For a start, let me explain: why food? Well, I’m a food lover and will always want to try more. Second, my mother cooks delicious food everyday, making me wonder: is there any food better than her cooking? I am joking of course, but if she heard me say her food is not nice, she would run after me with a slipper in her hand!

Food. Understanding about food is a great thing, and an easy one: we eat so we can live. But if one can eat delicious food, even better right? Have you ever read or hear that Penang is a food paradise within Malaysia? If no, it’s okay because here I am going to share about it. What follows is a list of must-try food and drinks in Butterworth:


Bak Kut Teh

Bah Kut Teh

Bah Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh is a Chinese dish that is very popular food in Malaysia and Singapore. When we talk about Bak Kut Teh, the first thing that comes to mind is delicious, nice texture and hot, making you swallow all the juices it generates…

Bak Kut Teh is my favourite dish. It is basically pork ribs in a spices and herbs soup. Its taste is not so salty and the pork meat is normally soft and rich, hence easily chewed. It is delicious when eat in a hot clay. Bak Kut Teh soup colour is a dark brown, and it contains mainly pork meat, meat balls and vegetables. Yet, different places might be using something extra, making it more yummy.

This fabulous dish was introduced in the 19th century and is believed to be able to boost energy in those who eat it. Besides that, it is also good for people with rheumatism conditions thanks to the ingredients like pork ribs and herbs such as Sichuan Lovage Rhizome (Chuan Xiong), Cinnamon, Star anise, Angelica root, Cloves and Coriander.

If you ever have a chance to try this dish, do it! You will not be disappointed.

Char Kway Teow

Fried Kueh Tiaw

Fried Kueh Tiaw

Did you know, Char Kway Teow is the healthier noodles dish in the world as it is made of rice? Literally it is flat rice noodles approximately around 0.5 to 1cm in width, so popular in Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. In Penang, this dish is a must try dish if you visit the city.

Usually, Char Kway Teow is stir-fried with light and dark soy sauce, chilli, shrimp paste, prawns, de-shelled blood cockles, bean sprouts and Chinese chives.

Sometime people will also add in eggs, Chinese sausages, fishcake, pork or even chicken to make it tastier. This dish can be found mostly at Butterworth Raja Uda evening market. As for recommendation, the best Char Kway Teow are those fried by Thai women.

Wantan Mee

Wantan Mee in Butterworth

Wantan Mee in Butterworth

Wantan Mee or Wan Than are noodles in a dark flavorful sauce with barbecued pork (char siew) on top. Apart from Bak Kut Teh and Char Kway Teow, Wantan Mee is also one of the famous dishes in Butterworth, Penang.

I first tried this dish in 2013, when my partner brought me to this small shop somewhere at Teluk Air Tawar.

At first glance, I thought it would be just a normal mee, yet when I ate it, I realized its taste was superb. Here are the ingredients: black soy sauce, barbecued pork, leafy vegetables, minced pork, wantan mee which is either deep fried or boiled, salt and pepper.

Nasi Kandar

Nasi Kandar, a favourite in Butterworth

Nasi Kandar, a favourite in Butterworth

Nasi Kandar originally is Indian Muslim food. This amazing dish can be found mostly in Penang and it is suitable to be eaten both for lunch and dinner.

Nasi Kandar is steamed rice served together with ingredients such as fried chicken, chicken curry, cubed beef, lamb, fish roe etc. Usually, all the curry flavour from different ingredients will mix into the rice, which is what makes Nasi Kandar taste nice and unique.

For me, eating Nasi Kandar won’t be nice if there are no salted egg and no sambal nasi lemak. My favourite versions are cooked by Pelita Nasi Kandar and Nasi Kandar Subaidah restaurants, though I must say it is nice everywhere.


Cendol Pulut

Cendol Pulut Penang

Cendol Pulut Penang

Have you ever tried Ais Kacang or Air Batu Campur, ABC? If yes, well, Cendol Pulut is part of this family of beverages. The only different thing about it is the ingredients are not the same. Thus, for those who have never tried Ais Kacang or ABC, no worries, I can assure you Cendol Pulut is worth trying.

I start to encounter this beverages, that I can call some sort of traditional ice cream, when I was at university. That day, my friend and I walked outside the campus; we were thirsty and tired so we stopped at the grocery store and bought Cendol Pulut.

It was the first time I tried it, and I found it so unique I became addicted to it.

Ever since, I always buy it anywhere I manage to find it.

Cendol Pulut is made out of a few ingredients: cool and icy coconut milk, sweetener Gula Melaka, glutinous rice (pulut), a green jelly that looks like small worms, and red beans, a great combination to be had in hot sunny days. For those who have never tried it and for those who want to have it again, Penang is definitely the place to find it.

If you have a chance to visit Butterworth in Penang, don’t miss the chance to try these delicacies. Happy eating, bon appetite and selamat menjamu selera!


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About the author

Cato is a young woman, passionate writer, and a loving mother from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Cato gained a Master's Degree with honours in Social Science majoring in Communication Studies at the University Malaysia Sarawak - UNIMAS. After a long spell as a full-time reporter writing for TV and Radio news in Borneo and beyond, she is currently a Senior Marketing in a private firm practicing writing, public relations as well as marketing. She is also a regular and passionate contributor at Asian Itinerary. Cato is a dynamic woman with several interests and hobbies such as travelling, listening to music, playing guitar, reading, hiking, kayaking and surfing the Internet. She is a young promise in the travel-writing world, and one of the main exponents of Asian Itinerary.

View all articles by Catohrinner Joyce Guri