Penang, Malaysia – After our previous trip in Penang, there is still so much more to explore in George Town, be it local cafes or restaurants and eateries. Here are some of our top picks for local food from the famous Siam Road Charcoal Char Koay Teow to the gorgeous restaurant, Kebaya Dining Room.
Siam Road Charcoal Char Koay Teow
This is easily one of the most famous Char Kuey Teow stall in Penang. The main selling point of Siam Road Char Kuey Teow is that the owner uses charcoal to fry the Char Kuey Teow, hence the distinct ‘wok hei’ in the flavour. Be prepared to wait during peak hours, but it is all worthwhile with a plate of very tasty and fragrant Char Kuey Teow.
Where: 82, Jalan Siam, George Town, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Tek Sen Restaurant (德盛飯店)
Located within George Town, Tek Sen Restaurant is easily where I had one of my best meals in Penang. It is a popular Zi Char restaurant with some good dishes I had like the Double Roasted Pork and Deep-fried Chicken with Umeboshi (Sour Plum) Sauce. The space of the non-air conditioned restaurant is not huge, and the tip is to head down right before it opens officially to beat the queue.
Where: 18, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Sister’s Yao Char Koay Kak (姚氏姐妹炒粿角)
Located along the street in front of Seow Fong Lye Cafe along Macalister Lane, Sister Yao’s Char Koay Kak is a popular stall amongst locals and has been around for decades. The stall is managed by three sisters, dishing out fragrant fried radish cake with a distinct black sauce. Do opt to add duck eggs for your plate of Char Koay Kak for better flavour. The texture is a cross between Singapore’s version of fried carrot cake and char kway teow, which is quite unique. A good spot for local breakfast, a large portion of Char Koay Kak is priced at RM5.
Where: 94, Lorong Macalister, George Town, 10400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Ivy’s Nonya Cuisine
Located within a residential house, Ivy’s Nonya Cuisine serves home cooked style Peranakan dishes in a cosy living room setting. Tables are quite limited, and it is best to reserve before coming. Other than ala carte dishes, there are set menus which are value for money. I tried the RM99 set for three persons, a six course set which is a good variety of Assam fish fillet, Joo Hoo Char, Curry Chicken and Fish Maw Soup. The dishes are consistently good, with the standouts being the Joo Hoo Char where you wrap the turnip on the lettuce, as well as the fresh Assam fillet.
Where: 58, Jalan Chow Thye, George Town, 10050 George Town, Pulau
Perut Rumah Nonya Cuisine
One of the popular Nonya restaurants in Penang is Perut Rumah Nonya Cuisine. First things first, it is located in a charming shophouse setting which feels like I stepped into a Peranakan museum. Indeed, there are Peranakan ornaments like utensils and vases on display which add to the character of the space. Food wise, the menu is extensive though prices are slightly on the high side. I had a mix of the Joo Hoo Char, Nonya Fried Chicken, Otak Otak , Pie Tee, Masak Lemak (Sweet Potato Leaf Curry) and Loh Bak (Seasoned Meat Rolls). Overall, the food is passable though nothing really stands out for me. In terms of value, Ivy’s Nonya is much better but the space of Perut Rumah is the selling point. Alas, service is not that polished.
Where: 17, Jalan Bawasah, George Town, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Sin Nam Huat (新南發燒臘雞鴨飯)
If you are looking for a simple place for roast meats, Sin Nam Huat is worth heading to. It is located in a coffeeshop by itself, where I had a trio of Roasted Pork Belly, Roast Chicken and Char Siew. It costs about RM15 for two persons, and I like the Char Siew in particular which has a sweet and tender flavour. The rice served is the same as chicken rice, which is not too greasy and quite fragrant too.
Where: 171, Jalan Macalister, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay
This old school space has a factory inside which makes traditional Nonya Kueh. It is centrally located in George Town, where the space is rustic which is charming in its own way. I went during late afternoon and most of the kuehs were sold out, so thankfully I still managed to grab one of the last few boxes of kuehs and rice dumplings, also known as ‘Bak Chang’. True to the space, the flavours of the kueh is old school style and worth the trip here.
Where: Chulia St, Jalan Masjid, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Kebaya Dining Room
Located with the conservation and heritage hotel building of Seven Terraces, Kebaya Dining Room is a gorgeous restaurant in George Town which has an interior and setting like a scene out of Crazy Rich Asians. Kebaya prides on using a modern approach to Classic Straits and Indo-Chinese cuisine, where it only opens during dinner with two seatings at 6pm or 8pm. Note that no ala carte menu is offered here, but a standard 4-course menu at RM128+ per person, inclusive of an Appetiser, Main Course, Greens and Dessert. While not all the dishes are hits for me, the gorgeous setting makes up for it.
Where: Stewart Ln, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Ranted by The Ranter