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Nov 29, 2009 01:50 AM

Eating in Penang


I'm going to be in Penang over Christmas, staying in Batu Ferringhu. We'll be there for over a week so I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions for eating out on the island.

many thanks in advance


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  1. one of my fave spots in Penang -

    by the way, it's Batu Ferringhi.

    1. There are already many threads discussing Penang food - see related Greater Board discussions listed below.
      What are you looking for particularly? Casual/hawker foods, restaurants?

      4 Replies
      1. re: penang_rojak

        A combination of the above - I'm interested in knowing what's good to eat, must try and where I should be going.

        I'll no doubt spend a couple of days in Georgetown - so would like 3 places to try there.


        1. re: fergal76

          Penang's really well-known for hawker food, so try and hit one of the hawker centers where you can try local favorites like Penang fried koay teow, loh bak, oyster omelette, sar hor fun, etc. One of the most popular food centers for true-blue Penangites like me is New Lane (it's off MacAlister Road in Georgetown:

          There's been a couple of interesting restaurants which opened recently, both serving local-style Continental cuisine (Hainanese-inspired steaks, fried chicken, etc) in historic buildings. One is at the lavish Suffolk House, a 18th-century beautiful mansion which used to belong to the estate of Capt Francis Light (the founder of Penang). The other is at the Sun Yat-Sen (the founder of modern China) building in MacAlister Road. These two places will give you a different perspective of eating out in Penang.

          Another unique dining experience in Penang would be at a Nyonya restaurant. These restaurants serve typical Penang-Nyonya cuisine, which is a hybrid of Chinese, Malay and Thai cuisines. Nyonya cuisine evolved over more than 200 years, and is extraordinarily good (if you like strong, robust flavors). Some dishes which you MUST NOT miss include Curry Kapitan (a dry, aromatic chicken curry, heavy with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal & other spices), Inche Kabin (a deep-fried, marinated chicken dish), and Penang-Nyonya otak-otak ( a savoury, mousse-like coconut-fish custard steamed in banana leaves) which is similar to Thai "hor-mok" or Cambodian "ah-mok". A good Nyonya restaurant to try is Perut Rumah on 17 Kelawei Road:

          You can also try other favourites like Hot Wok, Mama's, etc.

            1. re: penang_rojak

              One of the breakfasts I ever had was ca. 1994 in Penang--oyster congee from an old lady who had a cart in a small hawkers center right outside a shopping center, IIRC. I doubt she's still there, but I wonder if it's easy to find fresh oyster congee...

              I became addicted to ais cendol as a mid-afternoon cooling snack. In NYC the cendol itself (sweet green pea noodles w/ pandan coloring/flavoring) never has the same chewy consistency as in Malaysia.


        2. We'll be in Penang around the same time, if you want to meet up. Headed for KL today. have booked 2 nights there, have no real plans, but are just eating good food and traveling in Malaysia until Jan1. Very excited about going to Penang for the first time.

          8 Replies
          1. re: debbieann

            Use this website if you're looking for any particular Penang street food:


            Even local Penangites used this.

            1. re: klyeoh

              that is fantastic, thank you so much for that link!

              1. re: debbieann

                One thing that's popular in KL that I didn't really notice in Penang are steamboat restaurants, where you order different skewers and cook them in broth that's in pots built into the tables. I also remember something delicious from the same hawker area in KL Chinatown called "honey sea vegetable drink."

                1. re: Peter Cherches

                  You know, strangely - this method of cooking skewers of food in a pot was very common in Penang - but at road-side stalls: we call this "lok lok". But it was in KL that they made it more "respectable" by serving that in restaurants, many actually owned by Penang restaurateurs who moved to KL.
                  You can find lok-lok stalls in Swatow Lane or Pulau Tikus night hawker centers. Or see:

                2. re: debbieann

                  wow, Penang gets booked up over the xmas holiday. finally found a place. Will the hawker stands in general be open between 24-27/12 in general?

                  1. re: debbieann

                    Oh yes, hawker centers are open 365 days a year, even during the Chinese New Year period, which is the MAIN holiday in Penang. Many continental restaurants (i.e. Western ones serving turkey or other Christmas fare) are probably booked out, but you shouldn't have problems booking local/seafood restaurants, for example, the old faithful Ocean Green, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, Georgetown, Penang. Tel: 04-226-2681‎


                    Try the Inche Kabin (deep-fried spiced chicken), deep-fried spring rolls (do pre-order this dish), baked cheese-crabs, Chinese-style satays and any of the seafood dishes.

                    1. re: debbieann

                      You mean the hotels are booked up? That's because it's also the tail-end of school holidays in Singapore, and many Singaporeans take short holidays up to Penang (or else Bangkok, Phuket, Hong Kong/Macau).

                      Christmas is not a major event in mainly-Chinese Penang, so all the malls, restaurants, hawker stalls and food courts are open as per normal.

                      1. re: klyeoh

                        yeah, it is the hotels that are booked up. happy to hear the hawker ctrs are open.