Earlier this summer, Peter and I spent a long weekend in Penang in Malaysia and absolutely loved it. The city is beautiful and vibrant and there was so much to see and do in just a long weekend that there’s no way I could fit it all in to one blog post. So first let me introduce you to Penang’s foodie scene with this Foodie Guide to Penang and next week I’ll give you a tour around the historic sites in Georgetown.
Penang is known for being a foodie haven and my to-eat list was longer than I knew we had time to eat. I’m not sure if I was hungry the entire weekend we were in Penang. We were constantly eating so I was constantly happy.
There is an amazing and unique blend of cultures in Penang and the food is heavily influenced by Malay, Chinese, and Indian culture and cuisine.
We went to Little India multiple times and I could not get enough of the roti canai at Kassim Mustafa. On my next trip to Penang this would be my first stop.
Kassim Mustafa Lebuh Chulia, 10200 Pulau Pinang, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
I was so deeply in love with the roti canai (an Indian influenced flatbread found widely in Malaysia) that at one point Peter finally pulled the –“why don’t you just marry the roti canai making man?” question out which was absolutely ridiculous. Do you think this man with his magical roti canai making skills wants to come home after a long day of making roti canai and make MORE roti canai for me if I was his wife? I think not. So Peter can stay.
In addition to the roti canai (try it slightly sweetened with bananas added, plain, or my favorite– WITH CHEESE) you can find delicious tandoori chicken, curries, and nasi kandar.
After gorging yourself on roti canai and Indian food, wash it all down with a few cocktails at the Farquar’s Bar in the beautiful Eastern & Oriental Hotel. You have to try their famous E&O Sling and check out the view from the pool.
Farquar’s Bar Eastern & Oriental Hotel, 10 Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 Georgetown
For dinner, head to the Lebuh Kimberley Night Market. Here you’ll find dozens of stalls serving skewers of satay, mee goreng (spicy fried noodles), char kuay teow (stir fried flat rice noodles usually with prawns), duck kway chap (noodle soup), fish balls, and lots of other Penang delicacies, all at very low prices.
Lebuh Kimberely Night Market (occupies most of the street of Lebuh Kimberely)
If you’re looking to have dinner in a different atmosphere, I recommend Kebaya Restaurant at the Seven Terraces. This is the #1 rated restaurant on TripAdvisor for Georgetown and for good reason. First of all the restaurant is gorgeous and the service is excellent. But most of all the food is delicious. It is extremely easy to find cheap and delicious eats in Penang, but while Kebaya is on the high end for the city, it was so nice to get cleaned up after a day of sweating and wandering Georgetown and to have a nice sit down dinner. The portions are generous and Peter and I were both stuffed by the final course. We would pay triple the amount we paid for dinner and drinks here if we were dining in Hong Kong.
Kebaya Restaurant 2-16 Stewart Lane, Georgetown, George Town, Penang Island 10200
If you still have room for dessert (or more dessert if you visited Kebaya beforehand) head to ChinaHouse where you’ll find the most amazing selection of cakes and milkshakes.
Grab a few to share before heading to the back of house known as The Canteen for another cocktail and to enjoy some live music. We had lunch at ChinaHouse as well and it was excellent.
ChinaHouse 153, Lebuh Pantai, Georgetown, 10300 Georgetown
Although Peter and I were visiting Penang from Hong Kong, we still decided to have a dim sum breakfast during our trip and it was well worth it. Head to Lebuh Cintra in the morning for dim sum at De Tai Tong Dim Sum.
This simple restaurant has no frills but serves a delicious variety of dim sum right from their gas heated carts. It’s rare to see dim sum still being served from carts, let alone ones that are this rustic and wonderful.
De Tai Tong Dim Sum 45, Lebuh Cintra, 10100 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang
For a second (and somewhat lighter) breakfast option, head to the long time favorite, Toh Soon Cafe for coffee and half boiled eggs with kaya toast.
Kaya is an amazing coconut egg jam that Peter and I fell in love with. Toh Soon can be very busy and you may wait a while before the sassy staff serves you, but it is well worth it and part of the experience. They toast each piece of bread in a small charcoal stove made out of an old oil drum.
Toh Soon Cafe in an alleyway on Lebuh Campbell, Pulau Pinang
There is an endless list of Penang dishes that you must try (I can’t forget the famous assam laksa) but the best part of the city is wandering around and stumbling upon a delicious food stall or restaurant yourself. In my next Penang tour post, I’ll show you the best places to visit in the city in between meals.
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