Penang is Malaysia’s undisputed food paradise. In this episode, David takes us around to show us where to eat in George Town Penang.
The island of Penang is known for its rich history. Here, everything from the architecture to the food has been influenced by Malay, Indian, Chinese and European cultures. There is perhaps no better place to sample the delicious array of foods than in George Town, Penang’s capital city.
Here, if you want to eat well, you’ve got to hit the streets in search of local delicacies. Follow David to the best dishes to try in Penang! First stop on this epic food journey is Kweng Kwee Street to try the famous Penang laksa and a couple of refreshing desserts – ice kacang (also known as “ABC” throughout Malaysia) and cendol.
David takes us inside a local restaurant and shows us his laksa and dessert bowls that he’s about to try. Penang Laksa could quite possibly be the most famous dish in all of Malaysia. The basic ingredients of Penang Laksa are fish broth, fish balls, herbs, noodle, and chili pepper.
Both desserts made by starting off with a mound of shaved ice. Ice kacang has red beans, jellies, and syrup (corn is optional). The basic ingredients of Cendol are coconut milk, jelly noodles, and green food coloring.
Local restaurants like these are common throughout Malaysia. They are normally cheaper than air-conditioned restaurants and serve freshly prepared noodle bowls and laksas. If you don’t want to wait for a table, or you’re just looking for a refreshing dessert to combat the heat and be on your way, order directly from the street vendors along the road. And be sure to have cash on hand.
Thinking about where to stay in Penang? Check out Campbell House, the best boutique hotel in George Town
Next up: David heads to Kimberly Street for dinner to try Char Koay Teow (fried prawn noodles). The secret to really good Char Koay Teow is the heat of the wok – the hotter the better. A plate of these tasty prawn noodles will run you about 8 Malaysian Ringgit, or about 2 U.S. Dollars. Pair it with a limau asam boi (refreshing lime and sour plum drink). David also takes the opportunity to try Koay Teow on Kimberly Street. This is another type of noodle bowl served with chicken and a rich, sweet duck sauce.
George Town is also known for its delicious Indian food, so David heads to Little India to Kapitan Restaurant to try delicious buttery cheese naan bread and chicken biryani (spiced chicken rice). The best part about the restaurant is that it’s open 24/7.
David then gets the opportunity to experience the Chinese influences in Malaysia by dining at a traditional Dim Sum restaurant, Tai Tong. Dim Sum are bite-size portions of ready-made food served in small steamed plates. What’s great about dim sum is you can sample a variety of dumplings, buns, and small plates
The next place on the itinerary is the Red Garden Hawker Center, which has a different vibe than the other places you just saw. Definitely more touristy, but a great variety of dishes to try. The atmosphere on a Friday night is definitely lively and family-friendly. David first eats Hokkien Mee, a Malaysian dish of fried egg noodles with prawns (can also come with other types of meat). Afterwards, he tries a mutton biryani, an Indian dish of spiced rice and sheep meet served in a clay pot.
The last place featured on David’s where to eat in George Town, Penang is the New Lane Hawker Center, which is more of a row of food stalls and an area of plastic patio furniture for sitting down. David tries an oyster omelette, beef satay (grilled skewered beef strips) and ends it all with an ice-cold cendol for dessert. New Lane Hawker Center is open from 6 to 11 pm. It’s popular with the locals and is a 25-minute walk from the center of George Town.
David hopes that your travels to Asia one day bring you to bustling Georgetown. In addition to all its historical sights and famous street art, the food choices here are unrivaled!
What are your recommendations about where to eat in George Town, Penang? Leave us a question or comment below!