It is a fact. Most of the hawker stalls in Penang are downright dirty. I agree with the Penang Consumer Protection Association president K. Koris.
Penang hawker food (not all, anyway) is mouth-watering, but when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness, it is stomach-churning. Definitely it is far from Singapore in terms of cleanliness.
Most of the time, food blogs and TV food programs just focus on the food itself. They just extoll how ‘ho chiak‘ (tasty) or ‘ho liaw‘ (great stuff) the local fare is, but never mention how ‘la sum‘ (dirty).
The sticky grim-stained floors of old kopitiam, the dust from the passing traffic, rat-infested alleys, stench from the clogged drains or from the nearby wet market.
Check out some of these popular Penang hawker stalls for yourself:
Assam Laksa at Air Itam wet market
Nasi kandar Line Clear at Penang Road
Ho Ping Coffeeshop at Jalan Kampung Malabar/ Jalan Penang
Roti canai stall at Transfer Road (opposite Malilia Bakery)
Road side Indian stalls at Lebuh Tamil (next to Chowrasta Market)
Coffee shops at Jalan Kuala Kangsar morning market area
And the prices of these roadside hawker food in Penang is actually NOT that cheap anyway. Remember you have your food by the dusty roadside and dirty shop verandahs with filthy drains.
But most of the food stalls are rather unkempt and unhygienic.
Disclaimer: Eat at those shops and stalls at your own risk.