Penang Food – Gurney Drive Hawker Centre

Penang Food – Gurney Drive Hawker Centre

We spent the day visiting the beautiful and breathtaking Kek Lok Si Temple. After a brief rest at Cititel Express Penang Hotel, we headed for the famous Gurney Drive Hawker Centre for what we heard would be really good Penang Food.

There was a lot of expectations because Gurney Drive Hawker Centre is famous. There was supposed to be a wide variety of delicious local food. Many people have written and praised the food there. Was it really great? Continue reading this review to find out.

Food at Gurney Drive  – The Overview & Rankings

One Star Rating

Name: Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
Cuisine: Asian, Local, Penang Food
Meals Served: Wide variety such as Assam Laksa, Chao Kway Teow, Satay, Indian Rojak, and more
Dining Choices: Dine In, Takeout
Family Friendly: Yes
Food: 1.0 out of 5.0
Service: 1.0 out of 5.0
Value: 1.0 out of 5.0
Atmosphere: 1.0 out of 5.0
Prices: $ out of $$$$$
Asia Travel Gems Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0 

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Gurney Drive Hawker Centre – The Video

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre was one of those places that you must see to know what it was all about. And after watching the video, go there to experience the place, the food and the vibrant energy. Watch the video now to get an idea of what to expect.

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About Gurney Drive Hawker Centre 

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre is also known as Pusat Penjaja Anjung Gurney. It is one of the biggest and most famous places to eat in Penang. There were plenty of food stalls along both sides of the market. And the center is filled with tables and seats for dining.

How the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre looks like
How the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre looks like, © 2018 Asia Travel Gems All Rights Reserved

The concept of the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre began in the 70s. I recalled hearing about it back then, too. Over the years, the moved many times to various locations. Today, it is now next to Gurney Plaza.

It is located by the sea, so you will get to enjoy some sea breeze as you have a delicious meal of local delights.

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre

How to Order the Food?

This is pretty much a self service place. What you need to do is to browse the stalls. There is a lot. So take your time to see what each stall offers, and what you like to eat.

When you decide, you make an order at the stall. They will prepare the food. When it is ready, you pay, and collect it then.

Do note that if you see a queue of people waiting, this means you must queue to order and get your food, too. Do not jump queue. It is frowned upon, and you may be embarrassed when you are asked to join the queue.

Below is a photo of one of the popular stalls selling Assam Laksa, also known as Penang Laksa. Notice the queue?

Penang Laksa also known as Assam Laksa,. Notice the queue?
Penang Laksa also known as Assam Laksa,. Notice the queue? © 2018 Asia Travel Gems All Rights Reserved

Tip: The stalls with long queues are usually the ones that are popular because the food served is really good. Join the queue to buy the delicious food.

Food at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre

As mentioned, there was a wide variety of food at Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. Question was – which ones were the stalls selling really yummy food? The answer seemed to be the stalls with long queues, like the Assam Laksa stall in the photo above.

There was another stall with a long queue. The stall that sold the Famous Char Koay Teow.

Famous Char Koay Teow stall at Gurney Drive
Famous Char Koay Teow stall at Gurney Drive, © 2018 Asia Travel Gems All Rights Reserved

Char Koay Teow is Fried Flat Noodles with fish cakes, cockles, vegetables and egg. It was quite a wait as each order is freshly made. I heard the queue would usually be quite long. But because it was raining on the day we came here, the queue was a little shorter, about ten people in line.

There was another stall that was popular, but the queue was not long. Again, maybe because of the rain. It was the Famous Indian Rojak Stall.

Famous Indian Rojak stall at Gurney Drive
Famous Indian Rojak stall at Gurney Drive, © 2018 Asia Travel Gems All Rights Reserved

My Malaysian friend told me the food was not that great. The stall was more famous for the person who prepared the food. See the photo below, guy circled in red. He would sing and dance as he did that. He was very entertaining. Watch the video to see him in action!

Famous Stall with Guy Who Sings and Dance (in red circle) as he prepares the food
Famous Stall with Guy Who Sings and Dance (in red circle) as he prepares the food, © 2018 Asia Travel Gems All Rights Reserved

Here are a few snap shots of other stalls at the hawker centre. Photo below was a stall that sold Penang Rojak, which is like a local salad of fruits and vegetables flavored with prawn paste and chili (optional).

Penang Rojak Stall at Gurney Drive
Penang Rojak Stall at Gurney Drive, © 2018 Asia Travel Gems All Rights Reserved

The photo below is a stall that sold meat and vegetables on sticks. After selecting the ones you would like to have, you would be given a pot of soup or sauce to cook the food on the spot.

Food on Sticks
Food on Sticks, © 2018 Asia Travel Gems All Rights Reserved

Thirsty? There were plenty of drinks stalls to choose from. The one shown below was apparently quite famous. The drink was nice.

Famous Soya Bean Drink Stall
Famous Soya Bean Drink Stall, © 2018 Asia Travel Gems All Rights Reserved

After the photo and video taking, we browsed the stalls to choose what we would like to eat. Below is a photo of our haul.

Our haul at Gurney Drive
Our haul at Gurney Drive, © 2018 Asia Travel Gems All Rights Reserved

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre – Asia Travel Gems Final Word

The food was very disappointing.

One Point Rating

After hearing so much about the famous Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, I expected so much more.

Everything we tasted was so ordinary.

Nothing to rave about.

For example, the Barbecued Sting Ray we had was so dry. The sauce and chili was close to tasteless. The Penang Rojak was all right but we heard so much about Penang Rojak, we expected better. After all, this is one of the dishes Penang boasts of.

The Wan Ton Noodle? Urgh. How dare they serve such garbage?

We should have gone somewhere else to enjoy great food. And I recommend that you do that. Stay away from Gurney Drive Hawker Centre.

Tip: Dine elsewhere.

How To Get There?

Really? After my bad review, you still wanna try the food here?

Sure, I understand. This is like an icon. So, ok. Here is a map of how to find Gurney Drive Hawker Centre.

It is actually just next to Gurney Plaza. So, go to Gurney Plaza, and you will be able to locate Gurney Drive Hawker Centre.

Address of Gurney Drive Hawker Centre:

Next to Gurney Plaza
Address of Gurney Plaza:  170, Gurney Dr, Pulau Tikus, 10250 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Operating hours:

Daily, from 6.00 pm till late (not sure of closing hours as different stalls have different operating hours)

Contact Gurney Drive Hawker Centre:

This is a hawker centre. So, there is no contact number or contact person.

By Foot

I do not recommend going there by Foot. Catch a cab, or better still, go by Grab.

 By Train

There are no train services.

By Bus

There is a Free bus service operated by Rapid Penang. It can bring you to major attractions, shops and city events. It is called the Central Area Transit (CAT). Get a map from their website, and simply board their buses at any specially marked stops on specified routes. The only concern here is that you will have to travel within their bus schedules.

By Car

If you drove to Penang, you are at an advantage. Traffic is not as heavy as cities such as Kuala Lumpur. Navigating around is easy, especially if you have Waze app.

Plus, parking is usually not a problem because there is ample space almost everywhere. What we did was park at Gurney Plaza, and walk over to the hawker centre.

By Taxi

They rarely go by meter.

Tip: Negotiate and agree on a price before you take the taxi.

Better Tip: Do not take the cab, go by Grab (see below).

By Grab

This is my preferred option. One reason is that there is no need to negotiate. Another is that the price is usually reasonable and affordable. No hassles.

It is so easy to travel around in cities now because of Grab. Just download the app, state your destination, a driver is assigned to you, take the transport, and you arrive at your destination. Comfortable and easy.

I have switched to Grab for my travels within a city ever since this option became available.

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If you have ANY questions about this review, about Penang Food – Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.

Thank you for reading this.

Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,


8 Replies to “Penang Food – Gurney Drive Hawker Centre”

  1. I very like all those tips! Good to know when you go in a big city like this! I didn’t know the Grab app and sounds really cool and easy to use! thanks

    1. Glad you liked the tips, Sabrina! It is one of the unique features here at Asia Travel Gems. Almost every post has at least 1 travel tip.

      The Grab service is popular in Asia. When you are here, this is one of the best way to get about in a city 🙂

  2. These pictures are so great! I’ve never been to Penang unfortunately, KL is the farthest I’ve got to in Malaysia. I’m a bit surprised at the low rating since I was expecting a lot from this place having heard so much about it!
    I’ll still visit if of course!

    1. Thanks Vivek! Glad you like the photos and video. 🙂
      Oh, you must visit Penang! And yes, even with the low rating, it is still an experience to visit Gurney Drive. Do let us know what you think about the place and the food after your visit.
      Please subscribe to the Best Places To Visit In Asia newsletter too, to get updates. 🙂

  3. I am impressed and amazed with your post on Penang, I do have a few friends who live in Penang but I have never visited them. I do have a great interest in Asia countries, I think the people are so nice and friendly which I have met online.

    Now after reading your post I am even more interested in Penang, but what worries me is I am on a strict diet no gluten or dairy foods would that be a problem when in Penang?


    1. Thank you for your kind words, Jeff. I am very happy that you liked and enjoyed my post on Penang.

      No worries about your diet, Jeff. While it may narrow your choices, there are food stalls, cafes and restaurants in Penang that can cater to your needs. Just do a bit of research before going there. Find out what are the places that serve no gluten or diary foods.

      You have inspired me to find this out. I will do so in my next trip to Penang. 🙂

      Meanwhile, do subscribe to the Best Places To Visit in Asia newsletter for updates. 🙂

  4. Penang sounds like a great place to visit and the Guerney Drive Hawker Centre reminds me of a festival that we have once a year in a city close by. We have many different vendors selling all kinds of different foods, with many table lined on the grassy area. Like your centre the food really is not that great. We go for the fun and experience that we don’t have year round. I think I would have to be one of those that goes just for the experience of being in a famous place in Penang. Is the Guerney Drive Hawker Centre always open or is it seasonal?

    1. Hi Dena,
      Glad you like Penang based on my article. It is really fun, and yes, go for the experience. Most people go there for that. That’s what I did too.

      It is always open. Although some stores close on certain days. Weekends and public holidays are peak periods. So, most stalls are open. And it will be crowded. Which adds to the color and fun of the place. 🙂

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