* This article was published in the New Straits Times (Life & Times) on 19th November 2010.

Penang is truly blessed with many food street stalls, located on nearly every road and corner of the little island! But there is one place where every Penang-born will know like the back of their hand, and that is Padang Brown Food Court, or affectionately known as Padang. This food court is at the corner of Perak Road and Anson Road, beside a green field and directly behind Datuk Keramat Police Station. Padang has a historical significance to the island. It’s been on the isle since 1966 and it’s one of the first food court built by the Penang Municipal Council. Surprisingly, it’s still as popular with locals and tourists till today. On weekends, the food court is packed with diners.

The food court has an overwhelming choice of hawker fare. Do walk from one end to the other to make sure you do not miss the selection. The place is divided into two wings, with the left-hand side packed with Chinese hawkers in the afternoon. At night, the brightly lit stalls on the right-hand side are predominantly Malay and Indian stalls offering plenty of choices. Throughout the food court, plastic chairs, metal stools and tables are placed in front of the stalls, some under the shade and some without.

Al-Bismi stall with the cauldrons of soup at Padang Brown Food Court by what2seeonline.com

The night stalls have their specialties, such as mamak pasembur, mee and nasi goreng (fried rice). As always, drinks will arrive first. Among the crowd favourites are hot teh tarik (milk tea) and icy cold ros sirap (rose syrup drink). The frothy teh tarik can be drunk hot or cold. One favourite stall is Al-Bismi Soup which serves lembu (beef), ayam (chicken) and kambing (mutton) soup. Large cauldrons with the different soups line the front of the stall to tempt diners.

Al-Bismi stall with the cauldrons of soup at Padang Brown Food Court by what2seeonline.com

The soup kambing (mutton soup) is served with potatoes and Bengali roti (bread). The well flavoured broth is far from ordinary. The soup is aromatic with a distinctive flavour rich in herbs and spices. It comes with bony pieces of meat which give it the ultimate taste. This awesome soup easily whets the appetite for a second helping.

The mildly seasoned soup lembu is full of natural flavours of the beef. The lean beef is tender as it is boiled for long hours. This scrumptious soup is garnished with fried onions. In addition to the regular cut of meat, those who are more adventurous can opt for the perut (stomach).

Plethora of Penang’s Hawker Food @Padang Brown Food Court

The pasembur tastes good with spoonfuls of sweet and spicy sauce. A plate of pasembur is reasonably priced at RM3 with the basic ingredients comprising bean curd, beansprout, yambean, cucumber and keropok (fried fritters).

Equally good are the nasi and mee goreng. Nasi goreng comes with chuncky pieces of stewed beef. Coupled with the tender and flavourful beef, the fried rice is irresistible. It also comes with a bowl of soup.

Plethora of Penang’s Hawker Food @Padang Brown Food Court

Plethora of Penang’s Hawker Food @Padang Brown Food Court

As for the afternoon session, the stalls selling popiah, Chinese-style pasembur (also known as cheh hoo), lok lok, nyonya kuih, yong tofu, roti babi and ais kacang are popular.

Roti Babi @Padang Brown Food Court by what2seeonline.com

Deep-fried roti babi

The popiah is probably the first choice for visitors. There are two types — basic popiah and those with additional seafood (crab meat). The roll will be stuffed to the customer’s specification. A basic roll comprises a piece of popiah skin topped with sweet thick black soya and chilli sauces, vegetable and stewed shredded yambean. This is followed by beancurd and crab meat. The roll is then drenched with a generous serving of gravy with a robust crab flavour. It costs RM1.40 per roll.

Popiah with crab meat at Padang Brown Food Court by what2seeonline.com

The pasembur stall is next to the popiah stall. This Chinese version of pasembur is served with fresh shredded yambean, beansprout and cucumber, topped with bean curd, crispy prawn fitter and jellyfish strip. Semi-thick sweet and lightly spiced sauce is dribbled over it. The combination of the texture and taste is pleasant and keeps many coming back for more.

Chinese Pasembur with jelly fish at Padang Brown Food Court by what2seeonline.com

The lok lok stall has plenty of skewered ingredients on display. At times, the lok-lok tables can be packed with customers cooking the food in a pot of hot water. The yong taufu stall at the far end of the food court is popular too. Do expect to find exotic ingredients such as pig’s blood and innards in addition to the usual fare.

Other crowd favourites include fried kway teow, Penang laksa, and pan fried tau kua (bean curd).  Highly recommended to try the kerabu beehoon and nyonya kuih. There are plenty of drinks to choose from, ranging from cendul and ais kacang to fresh coconut and lychee juice.

Yam Cake at Padang Brown Food Court by what2seeonline.com

Orh-kuih (yam cake)

Flavorful, spicy plate of Kerabu Beehoon at Padang Brown Food Court by what2seeonline.com

Kerabu beehoon

Over the decades, the food court has dilapidated but overall, the arrangement is tidy and organized. It remains one of the best places to sample a plethora of Penang’s hawker food under one roof.

Padang Brown Food Court by what2seeonline.com

Scene of the Padang Brown Food Court in the night

Click here for the Map Location.

Padang Brown Food Court
Corner of Perak Road and Anson Road

GPS coordinates : N05.414249   E100.316611

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 19th, 2010 at 10:21 am and is filed under Chinese, Food Court, Hawker, Mamak/Indian, Media Preview, Mee Goreng, New Straits Times (Life & Times), Pasembur, Penang, Popiah, Street Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 comments so far


Aiyo… your posts always make me rindu Penang only… especially the food, haha! :D

November 19th, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I am quite embarrassed to admit this.. an island girl through and through but I don’t believe I’ve EVER dined here, despite it’s legacy! Shame shame!

November 20th, 2010 at 9:18 am

i always have a soft spot for Popiah.

November 20th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

We went to Padang Brown on Tuesday for lunch. There were not that many stalls open but what we had was good.
The otak2 is just awesome, nice and creamy texture wit lots of flavour.
The egg tarts are just fantastic! Nice flaky pastry with a really creamy custard filling.
The Char Kway Teow had a nice charred flavour – a tad salty but one of the better ones we had.
We almost didn’t get to try the popiah as it was still closed when we arrived but as we were finshing lunch, the lady walked past with a plate of ‘extra’ popiah which we promptly took over – not bad at all.
Would we go back? YES!

November 20th, 2010 at 4:31 pm
modo alimentare

the lok-lok stall at the Padang Brown is nice too…

November 21st, 2010 at 5:08 am

Was visitng Pg only a week ago! The pasembur is one of the best around. We wanted popiah too but the line was too long! FYI, just across from the entrance to the parking area is a coffee shop; in the morning(except Tue), there is a really good Hokkien mee stall. Be prepared to wait 20-30mins for your order. Also, try the “iced Nescafe” there.

November 21st, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Wah itu an neh damn hensem …. if they know you shoot photo, they pose nicely for you.

The momories eating at Padang Brown is the true hawker food enjoyment

November 22nd, 2010 at 9:45 am

Oh Padang Brown’s opened at night too?
Never knew. Went for the popiah the other day, and lost as there was one Chinese stall and one Malay stall!
Ended up trying both. :)

November 22nd, 2010 at 8:47 pm

next roudn go back must go hunt this roti babi d..now not many place got serve that..miss it!

November 25th, 2010 at 12:07 pm

About their opening hours: Chinese side opens for lunch and afternoon. Popiah stall opens always a bit later (+/- 01:30 pm).
Malay / Indian side opens in the evening.
Regarding the comment about the kopi shop across the street: it’s kedai kopi Classic; my real favourite for morning Hokkien mee. Be early and patient. Yum!

December 1st, 2010 at 9:14 am

Best Lok Lok.. Best Yong Tau Fu.. !!

December 10th, 2010 at 6:30 pm

One Trackback/Ping

  1. Famous Lok Lok & Yong Tau Fu @ Padang Brown , Penang | I Come, I See, I Hunt and I Chiak    Oct 04 2011 / 10am:

    [...] TweetA place that I used to come often when I was a kid with my grandparents, that I cant event remember when was the last time I been here. At this field at the end of the corner, there is one place that host many food. One of the reason, most people are here during lunch to tea time is for Lok Lok. This food court that have 2 different sessions that on the left side as where you see now is selling lok lok, char koey teow, and a few other stuff and during night, you will see another different version at CKLam’s Blog. (click here) [...]

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