Penang, Malaysia is synonymous with great food. There is one problem though, most of it is non-Halal. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any but it is hard to come by unless you go for traditionally Halal fare like Mamak (Indian-Malay) or Malay food. Other types of food like Penang street food are non-Halal unless cooked by a Muslim which sometimes doesn’t come out quite right i.e. it is not always authentic.
Enter Bee Hwa Cafe, a kopitiam (Malaysian coffee shop or cafe) which serves Penang street food that’s Halal! It’s so authentic that we’re told by our non-Muslim friends that it’s the real deal when compared to the non-Halal alternatives. When eating there, you’re also comforted by the fact that you’re right across from the Penang police headquarters. Arguably the safest kopitiam in Penang, you’ll often eat amongst uniformed and undercover cops – you can tell because they usually carry a compact sling bag which presumably conceals a fire arm and sometimes eat with their uniformed colleagues. The day we were there, a local television show was doing a piece on Bee Hwa Cafe. Good to know we’re not the only ones who think this place is fantastic.
Back to the food. It’s awesome! They have a variety of stir fried dishes like Char Koay Teow (stir-fried ricecake strips), Char Pui (stir-fried rice) and Char Mee (stir-fried noodles). If soupy is what you’re after, try the Hokkien Mee (prawn noodles), Curry Mee (curry noodles) and Koay Teow T’ng (ricecake strips in a chicken broth). Be sure to specify the amount of heat you prefer in your food because it is turned up all the way to at least an 8 by default. Wash it down with your typical kopitiam drinks like teh tarik (literal translation is ‘tea pull’, hot local tea with condensed milk and frothed by transferring the tea from one pot to another repeatedly), teh oh (hot plain local tea), kopi (hot local coffee with condensed milk), kopi oh (hot plain local coffee), Milo (hot Milo with condensed milk), Milo oh (hot plain Milo), bali (hot barley) and some exotics like teh oh swee kam (hot plain local tea with lime), teh oh ‘c’ kosong (hot local tea with evaporated milk and without sugar) and derivatives thereof. Note that adding the word peng after each makes it an iced drink, for example, teh oh peng is an iced plain local tea. Finally, order the roti bakar (toasted bread with butter and kaya, a sweet coconut jam) for dessert even though this is usually a breakfast item.
Address: Lebuh Dickens (a.k.a. Dickens Street), 10050 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia (directly across the street from the entrance to the Penang police headquarters)
Phone: We don’t know whether there is one – just go there!
Hours: 7am – 5:00pm Monday to Saturday / closed on Sunday