A DRIZZLE failed to stop thousands of people from flocking to the third edition of the Penang Street Food Festival (PSFF) at Beach Street over the weekend.
They were spoilt for choice as there were more than 90 stalls selling the state’s best street cuisine, ranging from the ever-popular char koay teow to nasi kandar and laksa Melayu.
The two-day food festival showcased the best of Penang street food from the island and mainland, and aimed at bringing the hidden gems out of the shadows.
Foodies tucked into a large selection of coffee shop staples, curbside bites and lesser-known but equally tasty eats divided across five zones namely Peranakan Bites & Desserts, Muslim-friendly Food, Hainanese Delight, Laksa Galore and Mainland Gems.
At the Mainland Gems zone, Penangites on the island got to try the food of famed vendors on the mainland such as Bukit Mertajam Yam Rice and Bukit Mertajam High School Rojak.
Nyonya kuih, bubur cha cha, ice kacang and more attracted dessert lovers to the Peranakan Bites & Desserts zone while nasi kandar, satay, nasi lemak and roti jala among others lured Muslim and non-Muslim foodies alike to the Muslim-friendly Food zone.
Over at the Laksa Galore, lovers of this fish-stock noodle dish satisfied their cravings featuring over 10 versions of the laksa from the highly-sought Peranakan-style assam laksa to the equally tasty Malay-style laksa.
The Hainanese Delight zone was also a hit as those looking for another of Penang’s best kept secret, Hainanese cuisine, lined up for chicken rice, chicken chop and many others.
Adding colour to PSFF were busking performances, cultural dance shows, cooking demonstrations and activities at the funfair area.
After Penang tourism development, arts, culture and heritage committee (Petach) chairman Yeoh Soon Hin launched the event, which is a spin-off of the wildly popular Penang International Food Festival (PIFF), visitors were treated to a five-minute fireworks display.
In his speech earlier, Yeoh said tourism was one of the state’s main economic contributors that had been on the rise each year.
“Last year, there were 7.79 million tourists making their way into Penang, an increase from 7.2 million in 2017.
“Tourism, which contributed to nearly 50% of the state’s GDP, has overtaken the manufacturing industry, ” he said on Saturday.
Yeoh added that to ensure Penang remained competitive in the global travel market, Petach aimed to drive visitors to the state via “EPY 2020” or “Experience Penang 2020”.
“One of EPY 2020’s components, Celebrating Diverse Festivals & Events, will highlight Penang as a state that celebrates festivals all year round, including religious, cultural and arts festivals.
“Some people have advised me to appoint an EPY 2020 ambassador but I decided not to as every Penangite can act as an ambassador by highlighting the state to their overseas friends or relatives, ” he said.