Nasi kandar, a favourite Malaysian dish of rice accompanied by a variety of curry-based meat dishes and vegetables, is a Penang staple. Malaysians will tell you that the best nasi kandar can be enjoyed only in Penang!
HAMEEDIYAH RESTAURANT, CAMPBELL STREET
Established in 1907, Hameediyah is one of the longest standing to date. Highly regarded for their famous fish head curry, fragrant biryani, and a medley of meat and big-sized seafood dishes, their secret lies in freshly ground spice pastes made daily. Choose biryani over white rice when you are here! This restaurant is also famous for its big portion murtabak, a pan-fried bread filled with spiced minced meat, lots of eggs and onions. This dish is best eaten with their pickled onions and mutton kurma gravy.
DEEN MAJU RESTAURANT, GURDWARA ROAD
This one takes the crown as the best nasi kandar in Penang, even though the restaurant is newer than the other outlets. Their famous dish is the crispy sweet-savory fried chicken, named Chicken 75, fried with 15 spices. For every plate of rice, don’t forget to ask for “kuah banjir” and “sambal nyok”, blended coconut with bird eye chili, mint leaves and spices. Do try their squid eggs too. The only grouse is finding a parking space. You need to look harder for one if you want to avoid your vehicle from being clamped by the authorities. Be prepared to wait in the long queue under the hot sun here!
NASI KANDAR IMIGRESEN, MARKET STREET
A roadside stall with limited dishes and curries. Although small in size compared with other nasi kandar restaurants, it is big in terms of delicious offerings. Their fried chicken comes in quarter size! Fried onions are available upon request on your rice. This family-run business started few generations back, near Penang’s immigration office, hence the name. Be early because all their dish finishes fast.
NASI KANDAR MERLIN, UNION STREET
A lunchtime favourite among locals, Nasi Kandar Merlin’s best dish is their decadent beef curry with its signature sweet-spicy flavour profile. Another bestseller is their sweet-spicy fried chicken. The restaurant is only open during the day for breakfast and lunch. To avoid crowd, come during off peak hours because this place is favourite for all the officers in that area.
MOHD RAFFE RESTAURANT, BURMAH ROAD
This outlet offers usual amazing nasi kandar but what sets this place apart is their famous tomato rice. Their curries are more on the thick and sweet side than other restaurants above. A flavour difference that goes well with tomato rice. The chicken here is flour coated fried that gives crunchy sound when you bite.