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A Gastronomic Journey: Best Foods to Try in Penang

Welcome to the ultimate gastronomic journey in Penang! Known as the food capital of Malaysia, Penang offers a feast for the senses with its rich culinary heritage influenced by Malay, Chinese, and Indian traditions. Whether you’re a street food aficionado or a lover of fine dining, Penang has something to delight your taste buds. Let’s take you on a full-day culinary adventure to experience the best foods in this vibrant city.

Roti

Day 1 – Morning Delights

Start your day with a hearty breakfast: Penang is famous for its breakfast options, and nothing beats the local favorites to kickstart your day. Head to Roti Canai Transfer Road for a delicious serving of Roti Canai with a side of dhal curry and sambal. This flaky, crispy flatbread is a perfect morning treat.

Next, visit a hawker center to sample Hokkien Mee. This comforting bowl of prawn noodle soup, topped with slices of boiled egg, prawns, and bean sprouts, is a breakfast staple for locals. Cecil Street Market is known for serving one of the best versions of this dish.

Mid-Morning Snack

As you explore George Town’s UNESCO heritage sites, take a break and enjoy a mid-morning snack. Head over to Joo Hooi Cafe to try the famous Penang Chendol. This cooling dessert made with shaved ice, green jelly, and coconut milk is perfect to beat the tropical heat.

Another must-try snack is Penang Assam Laksa. This spicy and tangy fish-based noodle soup is a crowd favorite. You can find a delicious version at Air Itam Market.

Lunchtime Feast

For lunch, dive into the flavors of Nasi Kandar. This dish is served with steamed rice and a variety of curries and side dishes. Line Clear Nasi Kandar and Hameediyah Restaurant are two popular spots offering authentic Nasi Kandar that locals swear by.

No visit to Penang is complete without trying Char Koay Teow. This iconic stir-fried rice noodle dish with prawns, Chinese sausages, and fresh cockles is a must-try. Head over to Siam Road Char Koay Teow for an unforgettable experience.

Afternoon Indulgence

After a fulfilling lunch, indulge in traditional Penang desserts. Stop by New World Park for an Ais Kacang. This dessert, made with shaved ice, sweet red beans, grass jelly, and colorful syrups, is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on Apom Balik. This is a sweet pancake with a crispy edge and soft center. Look for street vendors along Lebuh Cecil for some of the best Apom Balik in Penang.

Evening Bites

As the day winds down, explore the night markets in Penang for dinner. One of the most popular spots is the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. Here, you can sample an array of street foods including Lor Bak and Satay. Lor Bak consists of marinated pork wrapped in beancurd skin and deep-fried to perfection, while Satay are skewers of grilled meat served with a rich peanut sauce.

End your culinary journey with a refreshing Penang White Coffee at Coffee Tree Penang. This aromatic coffee is brewed using local beans that are roasted with margarine, giving it a distinctively rich flavor profile.

Penang’s vibrant food scene offers a kaleidoscope of flavors that promises to leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re enjoying a hawker feast or a café delight, the island’s culinary diversity is a testament to its rich cultural heritage. Savor every moment and every bite on this gastronomic adventure in Penang!

Chee

Day 2 – Morning Delights

Your second day in Penang starts with a journey to Penang Street Art in George Town. While enjoying the murals, you can also relish delicious local breakfast. Try the Penang-style Chee Cheong Fun at Seow Fong Lye Cafe. This dish is a type of rice noodle roll served with a sweetish sauce, sesame seeds, and a dash of chili.

Next, make your way to the New Lane Hawker Center, where you can have a warm bowl of Lor Mee. This noodle dish, characterized by its thick, starchy gravy, is typically garnished with slices of pork, fish cake, eggs, and fried shallots. It’s the perfect comfort food to start your day on a flavorful note.

Mid-Morning Snack

As you continue exploring, stop by at Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul for another serving of Chendol. This famous stall has been serving up chendol for over 80 years, and the combination of shaved ice, green jelly, red beans, and coconut milk is the perfect refreshing treat.

If you’re still feeling peckish, head to Chulia Street Night Market, where you can try Banana Leaf Rice. This traditional South Indian dish features rice and an assortment of vegetables, curries, and chutneys served on a banana leaf. The authenticity and rich flavors make it a must-try.

Lunchtime Delicacies

When lunchtime comes, head over to Kimberley Street for a hearty meal of Penang Hokkien Mee. This noodle soup features a savory broth made from prawns and pork, and is typically garnished with water spinach, bean sprouts, shrimp, and sliced pork.

For a little adventure, explore the Balik Pulau area and indulge in some of the famous Penang Durian. Known as the king of fruits, Penang’s durians are hailed for their creamy texture and rich flavor. Some locals’ favorite spots include Lim Brothers Orchard and Green Acres Orchard.

Afternoon Tea & Snacks

After your durian feast, head back to George Town and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at The Eastern & Oriental Hotel. The classic English setting offers a selection of fine teas, pastries, finger sandwiches, and homemade scones, giving you a taste of colonial elegance.

If you’re in the mood for more local fare, visit Air Itam Market and try the famous Penang Laksa. This fish-based noodle soup with tamarind gives it a uniquely sour and spicy flavor that’s both distinctive and delightful.

Evening Feasts

As evening approaches, dive into another Penang street food experience at the Northam Beach Cafe. Situated along the coast, this open-air hawker center offers a scenic view along with a wide variety of food. Try the Satay, skewered and grilled meat served with tangy peanut sauce, and Pasembur, a type of spicy Malaysian-Indian salad with julienned vegetables, tofu, prawn fritters, and shredded egg drizzled with a sweet and savory peanut sauce.

For the final touch, head over to Lebuh Presgrave where you can sample the delightful Apom Balik. These crispy, thin pancakes filled with sugar, peanuts, or sweet corn are a perfect way to end your culinary journey in Penang.

Penang’s food scene is truly unparalleled, offering both variety and flavor that cater to any palate. As you savor these local delicacies, you’ll not only satisfy your taste buds but also get a deeper understanding of Penang’s rich cultural heritage. Bon appétit!

Coffee,

Day 3 – Morning Delights

Begin your third day with a visit to Sri Weld Food Court for a classic Malaysian breakfast. Indulge in the flavors of Roti Canai with dhal curry and a side of strong, aromatic Penang White Coffee. The crispy yet soft texture of roti canai paired with the distinct taste of white coffee is the perfect start to your morning.

Next, make your way to Old Green House Kopitiam for a serving of Curry Mee. This flavorful noodle dish, characterized by its spicy coconut curry broth, comes with a variety of toppings such as tofu puffs, prawns, and cuttlefish. It’s a hearty breakfast that Penang locals swear by.

Mid-Morning Snack

As you wander through George Town, take a break and head to Toh Soon Cafe for a mid-morning snack. Here, you can enjoy a classic Kaya Toast, a beloved Malaysian treat. The toast is slathered with kaya, a rich and creamy coconut jam, and paired with soft-boiled eggs and a cup of kopi (local coffee).

Additionally, you can explore the Penang Peranakan Mansion for a cultural experience, where you can learn about the unique blend of Chinese and Malay heritage. Afterward, treat yourself to a refreshing Ais Kacang from a nearby hawker stall to cool down.

Lunchtime Delights

For lunch, head over to Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul and try their Penang Chendol once more, but this time complement it with a serving of Lor Bak. This dish features marinated pork wrapped in beancurd skin and deep-fried to perfection. The combination of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors will leave you craving for more.

Another excellent lunch option is to visit Deens Maju Nasi Kandar on Jalan Gurdwara. Known for its queue-worthy dishes, make sure to try their fish head curry and fried chicken, and don’t forget to drizzle a variety of curry gravies over your steaming rice.

Afternoon Delicacies

Post-lunch, pop into China House for a delightful dessert experience. Renowned for its extensive cake selection, you can try unique flavors such as the rich and moist Salted Caramel Cake or the decadent Chocolate Banana Cake. Pair your cake with a cup of artisan coffee or tea.

Alternatively, explore the vibrant Little India district and sample the delicious Banana Leaf Rice. Served on a banana leaf, this meal includes rice, various curries, vegetables, pickles, and a choice of chicken, mutton, or fish. Visit Passage Thru India for an authentic experience.

Evening Feasts

As evening falls, gear up for more culinary adventures at the bustling Penang Night Markets. One must-visit spot is Macalister Night Market. Here, you can find a variety of local favorites, including Sotong Kangkung, a dish of cuttlefish with water spinach, topped with sweet and spicy sauce.

Make sure to try the popular Char Koay Kak, a stir-fried rice cake dish often sold at night markets. It’s spicy, garlicky, and packed with flavor. Look for the stall with the longest queue for the best version of this dish.

End your day with a visit to Kimberley Street for some advocacy of desserts. Treat yourself to a bowl of Pulut Hitam, a rich and creamy black glutinous rice dessert topped with coconut milk. For a little crunch, try Penang Apong, crispy pancakes filled with sweet corn and coconut.

Penang’s culinary landscape is truly a food lover’s paradise. The array of flavors, aromas, and textures you’ll experience is unmatched, and each bite will offer a taste of Penang’s rich cultural tapestry. Enjoy your food tour and savor the memories!

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A Gastronomic Journey: Best Foods to Try in Penang

Last Updated: June 21, 2024

Welcome to the ultimate gastronomic journey in Penang! Known as the food capital of Malaysia, Penang offers a feast for the senses with its rich culinary heritage influenced by Malay, Chinese, and Indian traditions. Whether you’re a street food aficionado or a lover of fine dining, Penang has something to delight your taste buds. Let’s take you on a full-day culinary adventure to experience the best foods in this vibrant city.

Roti

Day 1 – Morning Delights

Start your day with a hearty breakfast: Penang is famous for its breakfast options, and nothing beats the local favorites to kickstart your day. Head to Roti Canai Transfer Road for a delicious serving of Roti Canai with a side of dhal curry and sambal. This flaky, crispy flatbread is a perfect morning treat.

Next, visit a hawker center to sample Hokkien Mee. This comforting bowl of prawn noodle soup, topped with slices of boiled egg, prawns, and bean sprouts, is a breakfast staple for locals. Cecil Street Market is known for serving one of the best versions of this dish.

Mid-Morning Snack

As you explore George Town’s UNESCO heritage sites, take a break and enjoy a mid-morning snack. Head over to Joo Hooi Cafe to try the famous Penang Chendol. This cooling dessert made with shaved ice, green jelly, and coconut milk is perfect to beat the tropical heat.

Another must-try snack is Penang Assam Laksa. This spicy and tangy fish-based noodle soup is a crowd favorite. You can find a delicious version at Air Itam Market.

Lunchtime Feast

For lunch, dive into the flavors of Nasi Kandar. This dish is served with steamed rice and a variety of curries and side dishes. Line Clear Nasi Kandar and Hameediyah Restaurant are two popular spots offering authentic Nasi Kandar that locals swear by.

No visit to Penang is complete without trying Char Koay Teow. This iconic stir-fried rice noodle dish with prawns, Chinese sausages, and fresh cockles is a must-try. Head over to Siam Road Char Koay Teow for an unforgettable experience.

Afternoon Indulgence

After a fulfilling lunch, indulge in traditional Penang desserts. Stop by New World Park for an Ais Kacang. This dessert, made with shaved ice, sweet red beans, grass jelly, and colorful syrups, is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on Apom Balik. This is a sweet pancake with a crispy edge and soft center. Look for street vendors along Lebuh Cecil for some of the best Apom Balik in Penang.

Evening Bites

As the day winds down, explore the night markets in Penang for dinner. One of the most popular spots is the Gurney Drive Hawker Centre. Here, you can sample an array of street foods including Lor Bak and Satay. Lor Bak consists of marinated pork wrapped in beancurd skin and deep-fried to perfection, while Satay are skewers of grilled meat served with a rich peanut sauce.

End your culinary journey with a refreshing Penang White Coffee at Coffee Tree Penang. This aromatic coffee is brewed using local beans that are roasted with margarine, giving it a distinctively rich flavor profile.

Penang’s vibrant food scene offers a kaleidoscope of flavors that promises to leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re enjoying a hawker feast or a café delight, the island’s culinary diversity is a testament to its rich cultural heritage. Savor every moment and every bite on this gastronomic adventure in Penang!

Chee

Day 2 – Morning Delights

Your second day in Penang starts with a journey to Penang Street Art in George Town. While enjoying the murals, you can also relish delicious local breakfast. Try the Penang-style Chee Cheong Fun at Seow Fong Lye Cafe. This dish is a type of rice noodle roll served with a sweetish sauce, sesame seeds, and a dash of chili.

Next, make your way to the New Lane Hawker Center, where you can have a warm bowl of Lor Mee. This noodle dish, characterized by its thick, starchy gravy, is typically garnished with slices of pork, fish cake, eggs, and fried shallots. It’s the perfect comfort food to start your day on a flavorful note.

Mid-Morning Snack

As you continue exploring, stop by at Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul for another serving of Chendol. This famous stall has been serving up chendol for over 80 years, and the combination of shaved ice, green jelly, red beans, and coconut milk is the perfect refreshing treat.

If you’re still feeling peckish, head to Chulia Street Night Market, where you can try Banana Leaf Rice. This traditional South Indian dish features rice and an assortment of vegetables, curries, and chutneys served on a banana leaf. The authenticity and rich flavors make it a must-try.

Lunchtime Delicacies

When lunchtime comes, head over to Kimberley Street for a hearty meal of Penang Hokkien Mee. This noodle soup features a savory broth made from prawns and pork, and is typically garnished with water spinach, bean sprouts, shrimp, and sliced pork.

For a little adventure, explore the Balik Pulau area and indulge in some of the famous Penang Durian. Known as the king of fruits, Penang’s durians are hailed for their creamy texture and rich flavor. Some locals’ favorite spots include Lim Brothers Orchard and Green Acres Orchard.

Afternoon Tea & Snacks

After your durian feast, head back to George Town and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea at The Eastern & Oriental Hotel. The classic English setting offers a selection of fine teas, pastries, finger sandwiches, and homemade scones, giving you a taste of colonial elegance.

If you’re in the mood for more local fare, visit Air Itam Market and try the famous Penang Laksa. This fish-based noodle soup with tamarind gives it a uniquely sour and spicy flavor that’s both distinctive and delightful.

Evening Feasts

As evening approaches, dive into another Penang street food experience at the Northam Beach Cafe. Situated along the coast, this open-air hawker center offers a scenic view along with a wide variety of food. Try the Satay, skewered and grilled meat served with tangy peanut sauce, and Pasembur, a type of spicy Malaysian-Indian salad with julienned vegetables, tofu, prawn fritters, and shredded egg drizzled with a sweet and savory peanut sauce.

For the final touch, head over to Lebuh Presgrave where you can sample the delightful Apom Balik. These crispy, thin pancakes filled with sugar, peanuts, or sweet corn are a perfect way to end your culinary journey in Penang.

Penang’s food scene is truly unparalleled, offering both variety and flavor that cater to any palate. As you savor these local delicacies, you’ll not only satisfy your taste buds but also get a deeper understanding of Penang’s rich cultural heritage. Bon appétit!

Coffee,

Day 3 – Morning Delights

Begin your third day with a visit to Sri Weld Food Court for a classic Malaysian breakfast. Indulge in the flavors of Roti Canai with dhal curry and a side of strong, aromatic Penang White Coffee. The crispy yet soft texture of roti canai paired with the distinct taste of white coffee is the perfect start to your morning.

Next, make your way to Old Green House Kopitiam for a serving of Curry Mee. This flavorful noodle dish, characterized by its spicy coconut curry broth, comes with a variety of toppings such as tofu puffs, prawns, and cuttlefish. It’s a hearty breakfast that Penang locals swear by.

Mid-Morning Snack

As you wander through George Town, take a break and head to Toh Soon Cafe for a mid-morning snack. Here, you can enjoy a classic Kaya Toast, a beloved Malaysian treat. The toast is slathered with kaya, a rich and creamy coconut jam, and paired with soft-boiled eggs and a cup of kopi (local coffee).

Additionally, you can explore the Penang Peranakan Mansion for a cultural experience, where you can learn about the unique blend of Chinese and Malay heritage. Afterward, treat yourself to a refreshing Ais Kacang from a nearby hawker stall to cool down.

Lunchtime Delights

For lunch, head over to Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul and try their Penang Chendol once more, but this time complement it with a serving of Lor Bak. This dish features marinated pork wrapped in beancurd skin and deep-fried to perfection. The combination of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors will leave you craving for more.

Another excellent lunch option is to visit Deens Maju Nasi Kandar on Jalan Gurdwara. Known for its queue-worthy dishes, make sure to try their fish head curry and fried chicken, and don’t forget to drizzle a variety of curry gravies over your steaming rice.

Afternoon Delicacies

Post-lunch, pop into China House for a delightful dessert experience. Renowned for its extensive cake selection, you can try unique flavors such as the rich and moist Salted Caramel Cake or the decadent Chocolate Banana Cake. Pair your cake with a cup of artisan coffee or tea.

Alternatively, explore the vibrant Little India district and sample the delicious Banana Leaf Rice. Served on a banana leaf, this meal includes rice, various curries, vegetables, pickles, and a choice of chicken, mutton, or fish. Visit Passage Thru India for an authentic experience.

Evening Feasts

As evening falls, gear up for more culinary adventures at the bustling Penang Night Markets. One must-visit spot is Macalister Night Market. Here, you can find a variety of local favorites, including Sotong Kangkung, a dish of cuttlefish with water spinach, topped with sweet and spicy sauce.

Make sure to try the popular Char Koay Kak, a stir-fried rice cake dish often sold at night markets. It’s spicy, garlicky, and packed with flavor. Look for the stall with the longest queue for the best version of this dish.

End your day with a visit to Kimberley Street for some advocacy of desserts. Treat yourself to a bowl of Pulut Hitam, a rich and creamy black glutinous rice dessert topped with coconut milk. For a little crunch, try Penang Apong, crispy pancakes filled with sweet corn and coconut.

Penang’s culinary landscape is truly a food lover’s paradise. The array of flavors, aromas, and textures you’ll experience is unmatched, and each bite will offer a taste of Penang’s rich cultural tapestry. Enjoy your food tour and savor the memories!

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