Kek Seng Kopitiam – Still Cheap and Good!

Written by Lingzie

Topics: Penang Hawker Food

The iconic Kek Seng kopitiam is definitely no stranger to local Penangites. Having been in business since the early 1900s, Kek Seng kopitiam has consistently served cheap and good food.


It’s been years since I last visited Kek Seng. It used to be my grandfather’s favourite eating place. And I remember that I hated going there because it was really hot and packed! Little did I realize at that young age, that I was being brought to one of the best places to eat in Penang!

Over the years, we somehow have forgotten or overlooked this old gem which still stands proud today. I suspect that the kopitiam still looks exactly like it did when it first opened its doors. It hasn’t been renovated much or given a new coat of paint. It may even turn off some people who prefer dining at newer, cooler and cleaner places. But there was definitely something nostalgic about Kek Seng as I stepped into it on a recent overcast afternoon.


The Asam Laksa immediately caught my eye. Although this may not be one of the more famous stalls, the laksa definitely packs a punch! Chockfull of fish and served with lots of ‘he ko’. Heaven!


Everything at Kek Seng seemed to appeal to me that day. And so I went on an ordering spree. Pie Tee (Top Hats) was next. Crispy pastry cups filled with vegetables (turnips) and topped with shredded egg. A truly unique snack!


Oh oh and of course who can forget Kek Seng’s star item – their home made durian ice cream!! Best eaten with the Ice Kacang topped with their signature jelly. Very refreshing on a hot day.


I was on a roll now, so we ordered ‘lor bak’ (fried pork rolls) ,  ‘he chee’ (prawn fritters) and a piece of fried beancurd (I love beancurds!). Comes served with a chilli dip and a starchy ‘lor’ dip.  Yet another great snack!

ks5Just outside Kek Seng Kopitiam is the Char Koay Teow and Mee Jawa stalls. The Char Koay Teow here tastes good too! Lots of ‘lap cheong’ (Chinese sausages) to flavor the dish. I still prefer Ah Leng’s, but Kek Seng’s Char Koay Teow is a different style of preparing the dish which also sits very well with me.

By this time, I was too stuffed to try the Mee Jawa and the chicken rice, which if memory serves me well, should also be good!

I am glad to find that the food in Kek Seng kopitiam is still as good. And definitely affordable! Expect to pay about RM2.50-RM3 for the noodle dishes. Its no wonder that Kek Seng has managed to stand the test of time!

With more development and modern shiny new places coming up, something in me desperately holds onto memories and tastes of my younger years. In future, I would love to take my grandchildren to places filled with nostalgia just like how my grandfather took me to Kek Seng. And I would chuckle to myself when they complain about how hot and ugly the place is. Here’s to many many more years of Kek Seng!

21 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. email2me says:

    The home made ice cream, extra coarse shaved ice, home made jelly ….. Yup…. its the trademark of Kek Seng! which I quite frequent with my dad back in those years when I was still a kid. Being sipping down tea using the plate at that time.

    email2me´s last blog post..COCA Restaurant at Subang Parade [Thai Food]

  2. allie says:

    I was just about to post about this. 😛 I tried the ice kacang, but I opt for chocolate and corn ice cream as I am not a durian fan. I had the laksa too.

    allie´s last blog post..Penang Food | Fettes Park Western Food

  3. Tine says:

    I LOVE Kek Seng! I started going there with my grandpa when I was 4, and have been going there ever since. I don’t normally eat ice kacang, but this is one ice kacang I never miss 😉

    Thanks for talking about Kek Seng. It brings back a lot of great memories 🙂

    Tine´s last blog post..Fire Weather Shocker Ahead

  4. i sooooo agree! the jelly also unique! and I rmbr reading in thestar some time back..abt a couple who ordered the ice cream to be air flown back to their ctry..

    thenomadGourmand´s last blog post..A Taste Boutique, Red Velvet Cake and Recipe

  5. is the lobak still as good as before????
    i remember I ordered few dozens for my relatives to bring back home. 🙂

    New Kid On The Blog´s last blog post..Sin Dai Fong Coffee Shop ??????

  6. An oldie and a goodie! I really hope this place sticks around forever. Kinda makes Penang home to me! I want durian ice cream, pronto!

    550ml jar of faith´s last blog post..Dynamite Ollie, the ultimate Valentine turns ONE!

  7. lingzie says:

    email2me – oh yeah! who can forget sipping tea from the plate! 🙂 i never did that though, cos my parents didn’t let me drink coffee or tea when i was young!

    allie – oh kek seng has chocolate and corn ice cream? lol never knew that cos i’ve only had the durian one! 🙂 did you like the laksa?

    tine – since you were 4?? wow!! very cool. this place definitely holds a lot of memories.

  8. lingzie says:

    thenomadGourmand – oh yeah! i read that article keng man…ice kacang flown by air. never second guess the power of penang food! lol

    new kid on the blog – wow you ordered a few dozens?? cool! lol! to me the lor bak is still good 🙂

    550ml jar of faith – you are so right. it does make penang home. im glad a rediscovered this place once again. 🙂

  9. Jason Wong says:

    Last time, the 3 main attractions were Koay Teow Th’ng, Laksa and Ice Kacang.

    But it has since lost my patronage after they increased prices and reduce portion size. My belly don’t get that satisfaction anymore. The jelly is not the same as it was 10 years ago. And the ice cream is also different now. The Koay Teow Th’ng stall has also changed owner.

    Jason Wong´s last blog post..Hainanese at Nan Yang Chinese Cuisine, Penang

  10. snapshots says:

    let hope that this kopi tiam will still be around for future generations, I remember having the ice kacang here with my grandma some 30 years? ago. Yes the Chicken Rice is good, so is the Chee Cheong Fun the chicken curry version.

    snapshots´s last blog post..Another “Gurney Drive” for Penang, The Deck and The Promenade

  11. PenangTuaPui says:

    aiyooooooooo…. i wan my laksa…. cannot tahan liao…

    PenangTuaPui´s last blog post..Cheras Economy Rice

  12. ck lam says:

    My favourite is always the ice kacang with jelly and the durian ice cream topping….which you can’t find elsewhere.

    ck lam´s last blog post..Pan Mee @Macalister Road/Lorong Selamat, Penang

  13. I am drooling about ICE KACANG! my eyes are rolling now!

    Big Boys Oven´s last blog post..

  14. J2Kfm says:

    one of my fav during uni days.

    the ABC n the Hokkien Mee (Still there?)
    were my fav. and the Lor Bak as well.

    J2Kfm´s last blog post..Motormouth Survived Hanoi … & Turns ONE !!! Yay ?!!

  15. Chin says:

    My sentimental favourite! My wife, girlfriend then, took me there in 1987. Have never forgotten any of their food. Drop by once a while when in Penang. Really good stuff all round. Best – ABC with ice-cream.

    Chin´s last blog post..The Best Job in the World – Top 50 Shortlist Announced (Island Caretaker Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia)

  16. hheehe..if can i also wan delivery to KL!

    thenomadGourmand´s last blog post..Coca Restaurant, MORE than just steamboat…

  17. Felix Cheang says:

    Lingzie, mind telling me where is this Kek Seng Kopitiam located? You didn’t list it out.

  18. lingzie says:

    hi Felix, you’re right! i missed out on the location. thanks for reminding me. Kek Seng is located at Penang Road. If you’re coming from Macalister Road, it will merge into Penang Road when you turn left. Kek Seng is further down on your left. Hope this helps 🙂

  19. gina says:

    I don’t know why but suddenly I have the urge to drive to Penang this instant and go to Kek Seng! LOL!

    gina´s last blog post..How Far Would You Go?

  20. Shuner says:

    Hi Lingzie,

    I am new to your food blog, but i really find it very informative, thanks for the hard work, I will keep on supporting you on everything you post.

    By the way, may I know where is this Kek Seng kopotiam? Any address? The lobak and he ji really turn me on, would like to give it a try when I am back to Penang this CNY…


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