[Penang, Malaysia] Putu Mayong Times Square on Dato Keramat Road

One of the most popular Indian snacks in Penang is the ๐™ฅ๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™ช ๐™ข๐™–๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™œ: steamed rice vermicelli, often sold with fresh, grated coconut and brown sugar.

Its Malaysian/Singaporean name is a misnomer, since the dish in question is correctly known as ๐™ž๐™™๐™ž๐™ฎ๐™–๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™–๐™ข in South India, where it originates from.

In early Malaya, more than a century ago, the ๐™ž๐™™๐™ž๐™ฎ๐™–๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™–๐™ข, together with steamed ๐™ฅ๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ช (called ๐™ฅ๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™ช ๐™ฅ๐™ž๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ in Malay) were peddled by itinerant South Indian vendors who carried them around in rattan basket-trays whilst shouting โ€œPuttu, Mayongโ€ - the latter term comes from โ€œmayangโ€, the local Malay term referring to the grated coconut. The Malays usually slice the โ€œmayangโ€ to obtain โ€œair niraโ€ (the sap of the palm tree).

So, local Malays mistook โ€œputtuโ€ as referring to the โ€œidiyappamโ€. The name, even if incorrect, stuck. The Thais made a similar food-name fiasco when they called โ€œeu char koayโ€ (deep-fried Chinese crullers) โ€œpathongkoโ€ (which came from โ€œpak tong koโ€/steamed rice cakes), because the early Teochew vendors in Bangkok would shout โ€œeu char koay, pak thong koโ€ when they were selling the two wares together.

Currently, the most popular (and tastiest) ๐™ฅ๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™ช ๐™ข๐™–๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™œ spot in Penang is ๐—ฃ๐˜‚๐˜๐˜‚ ๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ด (๐—ง๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฆ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ) on Dato Keramat Road.

Operated by the genial, friendly Arivalagan Ponnusamy, whoโ€™d been making ๐™ฅ๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™ช ๐™ข๐™–๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™œ and ๐™ฅ๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™ช ๐™ฅ๐™ž๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ for more than 30 years, the busy stall sees a non-stop stream of customers from the moment they open for business at 3pm, until they sell out in the late-evenings.

One of the best-tasting snacks in Penang!

Putu Mayong (Times Square)
Dato Keramat Road, near Times Square, 10150 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6011 6116 2974
Opening hours: 3pm to 9pm Mon to Sat. Closed on Sundays.


I was just wondering when I read putu / puttu and saw idiiappam :joy:

You guys have better access to south indian specialties than anywhere thatโ€™s not south in india!


Huge South Indian populace in George Town, nearly as large as the Chinese majority. Thatโ€™s because, at its founding by the British back in 1786, it was ruled as part of India, despite its location in Southeast Asia. Penang was known then as the Fourth Presidency of India, behind Bengal, Madras and Bombay.

At one point in its history, around the late-19th-century, Indians constituted the majority of its population. The influx of the Chinese began as the Manchu dynasty declined, and many emigrated to escape war and famine. The British welcomed them with open arms and soon, Penang and Singapore became virtual Anglo-Chinese-Indian cities.

Today, the Penang populace is an amazingly diverse, kaleidoscopic collection of cultures.