Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country with a rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscape, and colonial landmarks. A progressive nation that has embraced modernity while retaining its cultural roots. Penang called the Pearl of the Orient, is an exotic tropical land with beautiful beaches, colonial architecture, natural landscape, and mouthwatering cuisine. Whether it is to trek up Penang Hill, relax at the pristine beaches of Tanjung Bungah, or a visit to Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang is the most visited place in Malaysia.
One of the best ways to get to know a country is to taste its local dishes and visit its markets. Penang is a food lover’s paradise with a rich cuisine, shaped by the island’s many cultures, including Chinese communities, Malays, Indian Tamils, and the British. Come nightfall, the beautiful city of Penang does not sleep. Exploring Penang at night is exciting with its vibrant nightlife and the many night markets or Pasar Malam. They are fun places to stroll around in the evening, where shops sell low-cost merchandise such as clothes, utensils, jewelry, handicrafts, locally made products, personal grooming products, etc. In addition to this, there are stalls selling food like Laksa, Hokkien Mee, Char Koay Teow, Curry Mee, and Char Hor Fun.
People flock to the night markets not only for the items for sale but for the lively atmosphere and overall vibe of the place that makes for a truly Malaysian experience. Here is a list of the best night markets in Penang, Malaysia that you can check out on your visit to this captivating city.
Batu Ferringhi Night Market
Batu Ferringhi Night Market stretches for one km and is close to the Batu Ferringhi beach and consists of colorful stalls selling swimwear, sling bags, key chains, phone chargers, flip flops, sunglasses, colored jewelry, clothes, and sports goods. This market gets very crowded as night approaches. The sellers of Batu Ferringhi Night Market quote a very high price for their products compared to other night markets in Penang, so be prepared to put your bargaining skills to use and get a good deal. You will find plenty of restaurants serving Lebanese, Arabian, Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Mediterranean dishes near the main road.
Macallum Street Night Market
The Macaullum Street Night Market, located on the fringes of George Town, is open only on Sundays. It is one of the longest street markets and a must-visit place on your trip to Penang. This market is bustling with activity, with stalls selling cheap goods, clothes, and other necessary items and vendors selling local hawker food. Apart from the local dishes, you can try the waffles, flavored popcorn, and fried chicken. Unique options to try in this market are the crafted ice cream molded and decorated into the cute faces of cats.
Petaling Street Market
The Petaling Street Market is the most popular destination among locals and tourists due to its rich Oriental culture. The visitors to this market can find stalls selling a wide variety of clothing, shoes, watches, bags, accessories, electronics, and souvenirs. There are stalls selling “imitation” goods, and the prices of goods sold here do not have a fixed price. You can get a good bargain for the things you buy here. The food stalls sell traditional fried rice, beef noodles, chicken rice, Hokkien Mee, Ikan Bakar, Assam laksa, curry noodles, etc. Traders are mainly Chinese, but you may find a few Malay, Indian, and Bangladeshi traders.
Farlim Night Market
The Farlim Night market is close to a large residential area in Penang. It is one of the biggest markets in Penang, located on a spacious field at Medan Angsana. Farlim Night Market is open on Wednesdays. You can plan a trip to the Kek Lok Si Temple and visit this market. There are stalls selling souvenirs, DVDs, toys, shoes, clothing, and food trucks selling Tau Fu Fa, Yong Tu Foo, Char Koay Kak, Ramli Burgers, Satay, Thai Fried Chicken, Pineapple Tarts, Thai BBQ pork sticks, Spicy Sausages, Grilled Chicken bun, Everlyn Popcorn, Keropok Lekok, etc.
Tanjung Bungah Night Market
Tanjung Bungah Night Market is open on Tuesdays. This market is smaller than its counterparts, but still very popular with locals and expats alike. For shopping, you can find everything in this market like bags, clothes, reading glasses, phone accessories, etc. The food items unique to the Tanjung Bangah Night market are Xiao Long Bao, Pak Lan Martabak Mini Ayam, Putu Mayam, Muar Chee, and Peking Duck. The snacks recommended trying in this market are fried chicken skin, mashed potato and cheese melted in a cup, and aligot cheese.
Kimberly Street Night Market
Hawker stall culture in Penang is eminent at the Kimberly Street Night Market. This market is a food lovers’ paradise. It is better to find a table and order food and drinks, as it may get crowded. It is likely to notice a long queue in front of a stall selling Duck kway chup, a flavorful soup of succulent duck meat served with wide and flat rice noodles. Other food items to try in Kimberly Street Night Market are Tong Sui (Chinese sweet soup desserts), Oh Chien (Omelets with oyster meat), Chicken feet koay teo th’ng, Satay, Chee Cheong fun, Lok Lok, and char koay teow.
Paya Terubong Night Market
Paya Terubog Night Market caters to the locals as shops sell everyday items like kitchen utensils, home gadgets, mobile phone covers, slippers, clothing, wallets, and watches from Mainland China. There are a handful of food stalls in this market selling dishes unique to this market solely, like duck pancakes and Korean-styled fried chicken. The rojak sold here is served in a skewer instead of a plate. Do taste the local dishes like Belachan fried rice, Char koay kak, laksa, and lok lok. There is a stall selling essential oils for massaging to improve blood circulation.
Lebuh Keng Kwee Heritage Night Market
The Lebuh Keng Kwee Heritage Market opened on 1st June 2019. During the daytime, Lebuh Keng Kwee hosts the most famous Teochew Chendol stall in George Town. From 6 pm onwards, this place turns into a night market. To attract tourists to this Heritage Market, you will find many artists playing their favorite tunes. The reason that sets this market apart from the rest is that artists are selling their artworks and handicrafts and food stalls sell Korean mozzarella cheese, Nyonya kuih, muah chee, Boba toast, and Taiwan oyster mee suah. This market is a superb example of harmony between traditions and modernity.
Sungai Dua Night Market
Sungai Dua Night Market is open on Saturdays and is located opposite Tesco in Sungai Dua, selling fresh seafood, vegetables, and seasonal fruit from mangoes to durian. Residents in the Gelugor area and students from Universiti Sains Malaysia like to pick up groceries from this market. Many food carts in the Sungai Dua night market sell hawker food from a wide selection of Malay, Chinese, and Indian dishes. Food items to try in this market are Nasi lemak, Kebabs, Nasi biryani, Chee Cheong fun, Assam laksa, Ketupat, and Char Kway teow, which you can have along with sugarcane juice.
Jelutong Night Market or Pasar Malam Van Praagh
This market is a favorite among the locals as there are many everyday items for sale. The Pasar Malam Van Praagh is open only on Fridays in the populated Taman Kheng Tian along the Van Praagh Road. Stalls along the main road sell household items and clothing, while the food stalls in the smaller lanes sell local hawker food, available at affordable prices. Food to try in Pasar Malam Van Praagh is nasi tomato (tomato rice), Putu Mayong (Indian rice noodle dish), Yong Tao Foo, Popiah, Assam laksa, Roast pork, Hokkien Mee, and Muar chee (Chinese dessert similar to Japanese mochi).
Penang’s night markets happen once a week and are considered the best places to shop in Penang. Be sure to get there around 5.30 pm when most of the night markets begin operation. The busiest time is from 7 to 8 pm. From steaming bowls of tangy laksa to smoky char koay teow, explore the hawker stalls at your own pace and enjoy a cuisine that draws from Malay, Chinese, and Indian culture. Get your Malaysia visa or Malaysia tourist visa and catch a glimpse of the night markets that you cannot miss out on a visit during your trip to Penang.