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World's Most Delicious Street Food

Penang

Risk Factor: low

The Scene: This Malaysian island is a street-food paradise: authorities require the 7,000 licensed hawkers to attend a food-safety seminar and random health inspections are conducted daily. There’s even a municipal hotline for complaints about dodgy stalls.

Where to Go: Head for the ethnic enclaves of historic Georgetown, such as Little India (centered around Lebuh Pasar and the Kapitan Keling Mosque) and Chulia and Kimberley streets, in Chinatown.

What to Order: Assam laksa (sour fish curry); muar chee (sticky rice cakes with ground peanuts); cendol (pandan-scented rice noodles in coconut milk); mee rebus (egg noodles in thick gravy); murtarbak (crêpes with chicken or lamb); char kway teow (stir-fried wide rice noodles).

What to Avoid: Some stalls serve char kway teow made with cockles, whose freshness can be questionable.

Guide: Helen Ong organizes half-day street-food tours—on foot or by rickshaw or car.

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