Chowrasta Market is one of Penang’s oldest, dating back to the mid-19th century, and still one of its liveliest morning markets. Located in George Town’s picturesque old downtown, the market is still very accessible to tourists/visitors whilst retaining its very local characteristics.
One of the pleasures of visiting Chowrasta’s morning market is the wide selection of breakfast options at the nameless/featureless open-air food centre off Chowrasta Road, near the intersection with the pedestrian-busy Kuala Kangsar Road.
What we had this morning:
- Penang-style curry noodles. Sometimes known in Malaysia, outside Penang, as the “white curry mee”, it’s basically a mix of yellow Hokkien wheat noodles and thin, white rice noodles or “bee hoon”, in a savoury, coconut milk-tinged light soup. Garnished with shrimps, cuttlefish, tofu puffs “taupok”), and fish-balls, finished off with a generous, compulsory dollop of pre-toasted sambal, to be stirred into the soup, turning the whole concoction bright orange. No pig’s blood cubes in the rendition here - pity.
- “Char koay kak” - also known as fried “chai tow kway” in Singapore, “bot chien” in Vietnam and “pad kanom pak kard” in Thailand, this is a quintessential Chinese Teochew/Chiuchow/Chaozhou dish of stir-fried rice cakes flavoured with fish sauce, soya sauce, salted radish, eggs and, where preferred, beansprouts. The version here at Chowrasta Market is certainly not the best in Penang (for better ones, head to MacAlister Lane or Kuching Lane) but still a competent version.
- HK-style chee cheong fun and dim sum. These are the rustic, Penang street version, and cannot be compared to the finer HK teahouse versions. But I quite enjoyed eating these here, and the ambience was unmistakably Penang
Come early - the bustling market is right behind the largish Chowrasta Market building along Penang Road, the old city’s main thoroughfare- an unmissable local landmark. The market starts pretty early - just past 6am and tapers off by 11am when the weather gets hotter.