Travel Guide to Penang Malaysia – Food

Pulau Penang or sometimes referred to as Pulau Pinang (betel nut island in the Malay language), a busy island just of the North Western coast of Malaysia. Every island around the world lives of the surrounding seas, and Penang is no exception, it can call itself a gourmet paradise. The clear blue waters of the Malacca Straits deliver a fresh catch every single day, and over the years, many of the different cultures have brought plentiful signature dishes, which Penang now can call their own.

Food in Penang

When different kitchens meet on one island a mixture of dishes will develop through the years.

World famous Beef Rendang, beef stewed in coconut milk and spices was refined at this island. Penang Char Kway Teow a Chinese noodle dish comes in many different varieties, but is best consumed with fruits of the sea. Penang Asam Laksa, a tasty, hot spicy soup, eaten with thick yellow noodles. Nasi Kandar a variety of Indian style based servings brought to Penang by the Hindi population developed over the years to an extremely popular part of the daily cuisine. Penang Prawn Mee or Hokkien Mee another Chinese noodle dish with fresh seafood. Others would be, Sambal Udang, Daging Kicap, Burung Puyuh, Kacang Ice, Satay, Rojak and Pasembor.

In Penang the traveler will not go hungry, food is found 24 hours and all over the island. While roaming around the island taste buds and nostrils will be triggered by the many flavors and odors coming from food stalls, street vending hawkers and restaurants. Malaysians and aspecially people from the island of Penang, love supper, a late night evening snack or meal eaten with friends while having a late night Kopi Tarik (sweet coffee) or Teh Tarik (tea with milk) at a local coffee house called Kopitiam. 

Chinese Food

The large Chinese community brings most probably the widest range of cooking styles to Penang, Cantonese, Szechuan, Hokkien, Teochew and Hainanese dishes are all on offer, serving guests with mouth-watering experiences.  Try the Chinese hawker fare found at many food courts.

When the food culture is so rich, the variety of restaurants must be rich too. Penang offers it all from open air food courts to fine dining establishments. The most famous areas to start any evening would be Waterfront District, Gurney drive where one will enjoy the delightful seaside views, Historical Commercial Centre and the Heritage district, Penang Road, Upper Penang Road and Burmah Road in George Town.

The Unesco Heritage District

The Heritage District has become a bustling part of the town once UNESCO announced George Town a world heritage site. Around this area the visitor can pamper his palate with absolute certainty. Best landmarks to find this district are the Komtar tower to the South and the Cititel hotel to the North.

The two main beach towns Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Bungah where travelers and locals cross each others culinary paths offer a wide variety of mouth watering opportunities, and absolute gorgeous sea food dishes. Both towns offer a more tourist like ensemble of restaurants and eateries.

Enjoying food in Penang is an experience by itself, an experience that  will not be forgotten for a long time to come.

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Author: Frank Amptmeijer –

Research: Franklin-Paul Blake