This is the 3rd installment of my Penang Hawker Food series. And in this article, we move on to a small little hidden coffee shop (although the sign says ‘cafe) along Penang Road … right next to the tallest building on the island of Penang, the Komtar. There’s quite a few popular food eateries around this area but the locals will know Joo Hooi Cafe.

Walking into Joo Hooi Cafe makes you feel like being transported back in time, to the era of the early 19th century. Cute, wooden cubicle seats … you never get those nowadays. Old adverts decorated the walls of the cafe and the ambiance is magnified by background oldies music of the 70’s ….

Like many other good ol’ coffee shops in Penang, you can find practically most of common local favourites in Joo Hooi Cafe. Char Kuay Teow, Assam Laksa, Rojak and Cendol are some of the choices you don’t want to miss. And if you ask me … I’d say most of them are equally as good, if not the best. After all, this place comes highly recommended by Ho Chak (a popular local “Food Hunt” TV pogram) and is listed in the “Penang Food Guide”.

There are mixed opinions about the popularity of the food choices here … for instance, the char kuay teow, Arguably, some say the best char kuay teow in Penang is by the Two Sisters over at Lorong Selamat, or even Ah Leng at Jalan Datuk Keramat. Well, I find the Char Kuay Teow is not too bad either. (Hmm … I never did find out what is the chef’s name). Good kuay teow texture and of course, you can’t miss the giant prawns … which is practically “in your face” when they serve it to you.


Another dish that comes highly recommended is the Assam Laksa. Although I am not a Assam Laksa fan, I find the ones they have here very appetizing. It’s thick rice noodles with sour tamarind sauce; a sprinkle of onion and not forgetting pineapples. That will definitely make you salivate … can you imagine having a hot bowl of Assam Laksa in front of you now?


Finally, the one item you musn’t leave without trying is the cendol. Especially after traveling around the Penang town on a hot, sunny day … nothing beats slurping those crushed ice down your throat. And munch on cendol jelly and the kidney beans. I usually like cendol that oozes with thick, gooey gula melaka (but musn’t be too sweet) on finely shaved ice with strands of green jelly-like cendol.


There you go …. a good run down on what’s available in Joo Hooi Cafe. Besides these, there are others that I’ve not written about such as Prawn Mee, Loh Bak and also Rojak. Check out the location map and address below ….

Joo Hooi Café
475 Jalan Penang
Penang, Malaysia


  1. New Kid On The Blog Said,

    wah… having good time in Penang la!! 🙂


  2. ck lam Said,

    Will be heading over to try out the CKT ….looks so good, beh tahan already.
    .-= ck lam´s last blog ..Malaysian Kueh – Penang Nyonya Kuih =-.


  3. J2Kfm Said,

    that’s still the BEST cendol to me.
    not even Melaka’s, not even Taiping’s, not even … erm, the others I’ve tried.
    .-= J2Kfm´s last blog ..Teluk Intan Nasi Pulut & Buntong Beef Noodles @ New Weng Fatt, Ipoh =-.


  4. jason Said,

    Very old-fashioned ambiance!
    .-= jason´s last blog ..A Taste of Guang Zhou, Day 4 =-.


  5. cumidanciki Said,

    i like the shots – the food so huge.. looks like im right there next to it!


  6. thenomadGourmand Said,

    yum yum…u make me miss Pg!!


  7. Pureglutton Said,

    Ahh… that pic of that heavenly-lookin plate of CKT makes me wanna visit Pg soon! *starts checking calendar* It was nice meeting you yesterday :-))


  8. Timothy Low Said,

    NKOTB … took these photos quite a while back … from my multiple trips to Penang. Finally putting it up after all these while.

    Ck … yeah, the CKT not bad hoh. You haven’t try this place meh?

    J2Kfm …. now can get those cendol in Subang also. Have you tried the Subang one?

    Jason, this place is so old school …

    Cumidanciki …I knew you like it big. Haha….

    NomadGourmand, let’s check out Penang together soon !

    Pureglutton .. it was nice meeting you too. Finally…. haha.


  9. foodbin Said,

    the ckt looks small in portion but the prawns are real fresh-salivating!


  10. 550ml jar of faith Said,

    Hmmm.. the last time I came here for the laksa (about a year ago), it was truly truly atrocious! Really heartbreaking because I’d had such memories of this place – I think it was the first place that converted me into an assam laksa fan! Hmm maybe time to give it another go!
    .-= 550ml jar of faith´s last blog ..Fish head noodles… stop me if you’ve heard this one before! =-.


  11. Sugar Bean Said,

    Like your photos, looks nice as usual. The prawns look SO large, don’t think I’ve had char kuey teow with prawns that large. How was the pricing? Food in Penang is well-known to be good, must visit Penang some day!
    .-= Sugar Bean´s last blog ..Happy Gathering (???) =-.


  12. KennyT Said,

    Timothy, these are places where I’ve been longing to visit in Malaysia. My cousin is a Penang and Kota Kinabalu fan, she goes there few times a year, haha.
    .-= KennyT´s last blog ..Celebrating 1st July Hong Kong Handover Anniversary =-.


  13. Rasa Malaysia Said,

    Local Penangites don’t go to the sisters CKT. It’s actually not that best. Anyway, in Penang, just go to any kopitiam for CKT and they are almost always great. The laksa here is great. I love it. 🙂

    Walk further away from this kopitiam and you can find another great CKT at Ho Peng.
    .-= Rasa Malaysia´s last blog ..Dried Oysters =-.


  14. Strawberry Gal Said,

    gosh i am getting hungry


  15. vivi Said,

    I like the laksa and ckt also… they are just yummy :))


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