Finally, I’ve reached the last of my food roundups for our two-week Malaysia-Singapore trip (check out the ones for Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, and Singapore). I’m sure this won’t be the last time I write about Malaysian food – we are going back after all.
Penang is often said to have the best food in Malaysia. Perhaps we didn’t eat at the right places or have the right things, but we thought that the food in Melaka was better. However, we still enjoyed the food in Penang, and here’s what we had.
We stayed right in George Town’s Little India at Cocoa Mews (a great hostel). Close by, on the corner of Lebuh Chulia and Lebuh King, is Restoran Kapitan. They have great Indian dishes, wonderful juices, and fantastic roti canai. Roti canai isn’t served from 12-4, though. Definitely worth a visit!
Gani Famous Pasembur
Pasembur is a salad of cucumbers and bean sprouts served with spicy nut sauce and some fried things of your choice. You pick out your fried things from a big pile (above left) and they chop it up into the salad. You pay by how many fried things you add (many are seafood). Pasembur was not my favorite thing to eat, though it wasn’t bad. This particular stand was in The Esplanade Hawker Centre, on the waterfront next to the Town Hall.
Bee Hooi Coffee Garden
As we wandered around one evening, we found a lot of street food stalls on Lebuh Kimberley. There was a big group of them at Bee Hooi Coffee Garden. We decided to get some noodles from a busy-looking stall. There were a few kinds available and we pointed randomly to one, hoping it was the tasty-looking dish we’d seen on a few tables. Instead, what came out was a mass of noodles and meat products (some still unidentified) in an extremely slimy sauce. The flavor was good, but as a person sensitive to texture, I couldn’t get over how slimy the sauce was. I did not particularly enjoy it.
6 Cinnamon Bakery Cafe
Sometimes, we choose a place solely on its name. Such was the case with 6 Cinnamon Bakery Cafe, at the corner of Lebuh King and Lebuh Gereja. The conversation went something like: “Cinnamon? Let’s go there!” “Definitely!” It was a cute café with baked goods and a small menu at lunchtime. We shared a cinnamon bun. It was good. Sometimes choosing by name works!
Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant
I should have learned by this point in the trip not to go by our Lonely Planet’s restaurant suggestions. But the thing is, sometimes LP gets it right (I think Kapitan was in there too). So I keep trying. But in this case, it was a miss. The menu’s time restrictions were many and complicated (you can get this section from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM, and that section from 1 PM – 4:30). The juice wasn’t as good as most juice. My paneer fried rice (admittedly an odd choice) was a little too salty. Also, we observed them refuse to give a guy a side of rice (apparently, it’s not on the menu, and you can’t get it). He walked out. So between bad service and mediocre food, I can’t recommend this place.
Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
The man working in our hostel recommended Gurney Drive Hawker Centre as a good place to eat. He told us how to take the bus there, but unfortunately we got off way too early. Here’s a map of where it is, if you’re trying to find it. We got asam laksa, nasi lemak, and some satay. I forgot to write the name or number of the stalls we went to. We didn’t care for the asam laksa, but I don’t think you can blame it on the stall. It just wasn’t something we liked – a bit too sour for me, and Jeff hated the cooked fruit in it. The satay was tasty, but the nasi lemak was just okay. I would still recommend coming out to Gurney Drive Hawker Centre because there are a lot of options there.
With a name like “Food Paradise,” how can you go wrong? We didn’t actually pick this for its name, though. A Swedish man who we met at the fruit farm recommended it to us. His directions were pretty terrible but somehow we found it anyway. It hadn’t opened all the way up yet (hint: go at night) but there were a few stalls ready. I grabbed some Thai green curry and a mango juice while Jeff got some dim sum. My curry was great, the mango juice not so much. This is another good place for a lot of variety, and there are some Western food options. It’s on Leith Street.
I love a good bagel. At one point, we got off the bus directly in front of Rainforest Bakery on Chulia Street. We immediately needed to go inside. It looked amazing, and the next morning we got some bagels there. They were excellent! It’s been a long time since I had a good poppy-seed bagel. We also had a plum muffin, which was tasty. They have a lot of great looking bread, most of it vegan. Go there immediately!
This is a New York style deli in Penang. They have great sandwiches (I got the Italian, with gorgonzola and basil on Focaccia) and a nice cheese selection. It was delicious. Pricey for Malaysia, but not too bad. I would come back, all the time, if I lived in Penang. It’s on Jalan Irrawaddy – their website (link above) has a map.
Penang definitely has tasty food. There are certainly other tasty places to eat that we didn’t get to go to.
Where do you like to eat in Penang?