Penang, Malaysia – Mention Penang and food images strike my mind first. The island off the mainland of Malaysia is a food haven, to say the least. Other than the much celebrated hawker fares along the streets and the much hyped Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, there is more to be explored such as the streets of the UNESCO Heritage Georgetown and the booming café scene over the past few years. We managed to explore the city during our stay at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, and here are our recommendations of where to eat in Penang!
Awesome Canteen at Sekeping Victoria
If you love that raw industrial look, Awesome Canteen at Sekeping Victoria is a must visit. The café has retained the original raw space, with almost every corner taking its own beauty. I love how the owners have used recycled materials for its furnishings, creating that charming and rustic look and vibe which makes it an instagrammer’s haven. Food options are aplenty, but I was already very satisfied by simply soaking in the atmosphere.
Where: 164-A & 164-B, Lebuh Victoria, 10300 George Town, Malaysia
Tel: +60 4-261 3707
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 11am to 11pm, Saturday 10am to 11pm, Sunday 10am to 10pm (Closed on Tuesday)
You can’t miss out on ChinaHouse, located steps from Awesome Canteen, made up of three heritage buildings combined with 14 spaces including café, bakery, shops, art gallery and restaurants. There are two main entrances to this huge space, one from Beach Street and the other from Victoria Street. We dropped by specially for the cakes by Beach Street Bakery, which boasts up to thirty different flavours. It was quite overwhelming to decide which flavour to get, so it is best to come in a group to try as many flavours. We had the Pistachio Lemon Curd and Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart, both of which are decent in terms of quality. Overrated? It is, but I will also say you need to come at least once to find out for yourself.
Where: 153 & 155 Beach Street / 183B Victoria Street, 10300 George Town, Penang
Tel: +604 – 263 7299
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 9am to midnight
Kong Thai Lai
Other than hipster cafes, a part of me is in love with old school coffeeshops. Located in Georgetown, Kong Thai Lai is one coffeeshop which stood the test of time, reminiscent of the ones in Singapore back in the 70s. The toast here starts from RM0.80, while coffee starts from RM1.10. This is one spot to reminisce those lost memories of the past.
Where: 6, Jalan Hutton, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Tel: +60 11-2344 7832
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 7.30am to 3pm (Closed on Sunday)
Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
The best Cendol in Penang? Most people will say the one from Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul. You can’t miss the snaking long queue which is unmistakable at the entrance of Lebuh Keng Kwee street. The roadside stall has more than fifty years of history, and dishes out cendol and ice kacang which most will enjoy by the road as there are no seats. This is definitely one authentic cendol experience if you only have space for one.
Where: 27 & 29, Lebuh Keng Kwee, Penang 10300
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10.30am to 7pm; Saturday & Sunday 10am to 7.30pm
Yeng Keng Café Bar
Located in the historic heritage boutique Yeng Keng Hotel in George Town, Penang, Yeng Keng Café Bar serves up authentic Hainanese delights. The interior is reminiscent of the old school 1930s fashion, in a posh and cosy ambience. Some of its signature specialities include the Hainanese Chicken Rice, Hainanese Chicken Chop, Curry Chicken and even Bomb Alaska. Don’t miss out on this if you love Hainanese cuisine and everything old school.
Where: 362 & 366, Chulia Street, George Town,10200 Penang, Malaysia
Tel : +604 263 3177 (Restaurant)
Opening Hours: Daily 7.30am to midnight (kitchen closes at 9.30pm)
Ming Xiang Tai Pastry Shop
Famous from its trishaw egg tart, Ming Xiang Tai Pastry Shop has more than thirty years of history and started its business from trishaw back in the early days. Today, it is one of those stops which many have made while in Penang, ideal for souvenirs or simply for your own enjoyment. We couldn’t resist the salted egg yolk pastry and egg tart after trying some it on the spot and ended up with a few boxes to bring back to Singapore.
Where: 133, Jalan Burma, George Town, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Tel: +60 4-227 9880
Opening Hours: Daily 8am to 11pm
Gurney Drive Hawker Centre
Of course, no trip to Penang is complete without a pilgrimage to the famous Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, also known as Pusat Penjaja Anjung Gurney, located across the sea and right beside Gurney Plaza shopping mall. I reckon that there are probably more than fifty stalls here? You can find almost any type of Penang hawker food you are craving for – Fried Char Kueh Teoh, Prawn Noodles, Wanton Noodles, Oyster Omelette, Fried Noodles, Penang Laksa, and the list goes on. It is an open space concept, so be prepared to brave the heat or rain. Prices are reasonable, with dishes averaging between RM 3 to RM 7 for most stalls. Come with an empty stomach.
Where: 5, Persiaran Gurney, George Town, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Bricklin Cafe Bar
This small space in the artsy-fartsy Jalan Gurdwara has a raw industrial look, which is a good spot for some afternoon coffee and cakes. It is located right next to Tavern in the park, which is not a bad option if you desire a quieter spot than the nosier space at the former.
Where: 31A, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Tel: +60 4-226 6813
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 7pm; Saturday to Sunday 10am – 10pm
Tavern in the park
A glass house café? My first thought when I saw Tavern in the park is how it reminds me of the café space in Melbourne – spacious, full of character and surrounded by lush greenery. There is a full brunch menu with options such as burgers and crostini.
Where: 125, Jalan Timah, George Town, 10150 George Town, Malaysia
Tel: +60 4-218 9394
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday 11.30am to 10pm (closed on Monday)
We stumbled upon this roadside stall right beside the Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul along Lebuh Keng Kwee and decided to give it a try. The uncle uses his left hand to fry the Char Kueh Teoh, hence the stall name. I was sceptical initially and thought it is all gimmicky, but the nondescript plate turned out to be quite good. The flavours was on point, and it was probably made better from standing and eating by the roadside. You don’t have to pay if you are not satisfied with the food, apparently. We paid, obviously.
Ranted by The Ranter