* This article was published in the New Straits Times (Life & Times) on 24th May 2011.

If you’re at Chowrasta Market in George Town, Penang, stop by Tamil Street, located on one side of the market building. This street is worth exploring for its variety of street food. Look out for a stall selling Ais Tingkap (translated as window sherbet). This classic chilled drink is named such because it used to be sold through an open window.

Ais Tingkap is a transparent sweet rose flavored thirst quencher _resize

The sweet red rose syrup drink is a mixture of getah anggur (olibanum gum resin), biji selasih (basil seeds), kembang semangkuk (jelly) and fragrant herbs. It is served in a glass with shaved ice and pieces of coconut flesh.

The drink was created in the late 1920s but over the years, it has undergone some changes. It started with a mixture of 25 herbs and ingredients, but now only a few are used. It attracts a lot of attention from locals and tourists looking for a different experience. The stall is open daily except Sunday.


Basil seeds expand into tadpole-like eggs

IMG_4398_resize IMG_4416a_resize

Next to the Ais Tingkap stall is a stall selling cucur udang. Prepared on the spot, the deep-fried fritters have beansprout and tiny shrimp. It is definitely a satisfying snack. It pairs nicely with the spicy sauce and chopped peanuts. The simple fried tofu with sauce is appealing as well.

Preparing the deep-fried items _resize

Preparing of the cucur udang

Plate of cucur with its gravy topped with chopped peanuts_resize

Another stall worth checking out is Java Satay Kambing at Restoran SW Srimanis. The mutton satay is grilled over charcoal fire in front of the shop. The owner still uses the traditional method of fanning the charcoal fire with a hand-held fan!

Variety of Hawker Food in Tamil Street, Penang  by what2seeonline.com

What adds to the uniqueness of the satay is the accompanying sauce. It is mixed on the spot in a wooden mortar with a pestle. It’s made of black sauce, palm sugar, chilli and crunchy ground peanut. Since it is prepared on the spot, the spiciness can be tweaked to suit the individual customer’s taste. Add a few drops of lime juice for a nice tang!

Variety of Hawker Food in Tamil Street, Penang

Besides satay, Restoran SW Srimanis also serves a plethora of Indonesian-influenced dishes, including pesto bandeng, nasi pandang, curry itik, bakso nasi or lontong, rawon and different varieties of pecel.

Variety of Hawker Food in Tamil Street, Penang

Satay with a glass of cooling Ais Tingkap

There are other street foods in Tamil Street. For snacks on the go, you can pick from a variety of deep-fried samosa (stuffed with sardine, chicken or potato), vadai or Indian doughnut at a stall nearer to Penang Road. These freshly made fritters are delicious with a cup of hot coffee.

Owner busy preparing the deep fried Samosa_resize

Variety of Hawker Food in Tamil Street, Penang Variety of Hawker Food in Tamil Street, Penang

Savory deep fried Samosa_resize

Don’t miss out the stall selling chicken soup. It also serves noodles, mainly Malay laksa and rice noodle soup. With the many varieties of hawker dishes, it’s no surprise that Tamil Street has the customers coming back again and again. Click here for the Map Location.

The rows of hawker stalls along Tamil Street_resize

The rows of hawker stalls along Tamil Street

Hawker Stalls
Lebuh Tamil

Business Hour : From noon to evening

Stalls mostly closed on Sunday

GPS Coordinates : N05 2504.3   E100 1953.6

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 30th, 2011 at 8:06 pm and is filed under George Town, Halal, Hawker, Mamak/Indian, Media Preview, New Straits Times (Life & Times), Penang, Satay. 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.

7 comments so far


You have gotta love the basil seeds in the drinks – looks like little frog eyes or unhatched frog eggs, no? :P

May 30th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

i like vadai.

May 31st, 2011 at 12:21 pm

There’s a really good nasi kandar stall in Tamil Street. The last time I went, there wasn’t any sign outside the shoplot located somewhere in the middle of the row.

Nasi Kandar Misai is what it’s known as, as the fella behind the stall scooping the dishes has a really prominent mustache.

May 31st, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Delicious stuff, just what I have always been eyeing for. The next door Jawa food stall is packed at night too, I noticed.

June 1st, 2011 at 11:11 pm

The cucur udang and vadai is really really nice!!! I will try the mutton satay next round…

June 3rd, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Very nice. Looks yummy!

June 27th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Some 20 years back, me & my buddies used to eat here. There was one Globe nasi kandar which we frequented but I never recall ordering any ais tingkap. One caveat though, this place is next to Chowrastar Wet Market. So, u can imagine the smell & not to mention the rats the size of a kitten.

June 28th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

One Trackback/Ping

  1. Penang Hawker Food - Window Sherbet (Ais Tingkap) | What2See : Best of Penang Food!    May 23 2012 / 11am:

    [...] hawker stall is located in Tamil Street/Penang Road (beside Chowrasta Market). It is closed on Sunday. This glass of Ais Tingkap which cost RM1.50 is a [...]

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