Penang has just been crowned by Lonely Planet as the number one destination in the world for foodies to hit up in 2014, trumping the likes of Victoria, Australia and the deep South in USA. With this revelation, we simply had to highlight all the best culinary delights that Penang has to offer.
For those of you who have never ventured to the sunny state before, consider this article a crash course in the most lip-smacking palate pleasers on the island.
OODLES OF NOODLES
Out of all the dishes available, the category with the most varieties has got to be noodles. If you fancy your noodles spicy, you will not go wrong with curry mee, asam laksa, Hokkien prawn mee, and jawa mee.
Penang char koay teow
Otherwise, the likes of wanton noodles, char koay teow and char hor fun should sate your appetite.
Penang Hokkien Mee
Curry mee, which can be the fieriest of them all, tastes great at the Pulau Tikus Market, while a zesty bowl of asam laksa can always be found in Balik Pulau.
Penang curry mee
Penang asam laksa
Northam Beach Café is reliable for delicious Hokkien prawn mee, and Lam Heng Café has a double whammy in the form of yummy jawa mee and char koay teow. A savoury plate of wanton noodles is best found at CF Food Court in Georgetown, and Kwong Ban Lee Café in Tanjung Bungah is where you can take in a gravy filled char hor fun dish.
Wan tan mee
If ‘Rice is Nice’ is your life’s motto, you won’t be disappointed when you try the fried rice here, which has a salivating aroma and flavour all its own.
Mixed in with its signature green sambal, the one available in Goodall Café at Gottlieb Road is simply mouth-watering.
For a basic yet fulfilling packet of nasi lemak, journey to Jalan Tanjong Tokong, where a small food stall manned by a Malay lady resides, serving up a sought after combination of rice with red sambal, anchovies, peanuts, hard-boiled egg and cucumbers.
A big fan of curry? Then the nasi kandar at Line Clear, located in a narrow alley behind 177 Penang Road should be just your cup of tea (or is that curry?).
Once you’ve got the main meals resting pretty in your satisfied stomach, don’t forget to top off the Penang culinary experience like a true blue native with desserts.
The confection of beans, ice-cream and shaved ice known as ice kacang has a permanent spot in almost every Penangite's list of top five local desserts
, and you can get your fix at New World Park
on Swatow Road.
Cendul, a mixture of green worm-shaped flour noodles and shaved ice with palm sugar syrup is definitely a lot more appealing than it sounds, and the one stop for this homegrown goodness is undoubtedly the Penang Road Teochew Cendul stall on Lebuh Keng Kwee.
Cendul | Photo by Chee Wah
That said, you may also find a suitably satisfying variation at Medan Selera Mutiara, located in Jalan Tanjung Bungah. As for fried snacks aficionados, you can’t leave the sunny island without sampling yao char kwai, a golden brown, deep fried strip of dough that is conventionally consumed with soy milk or black coffee, and locals are known to flock to Cintra Street for it.
Yao char kwai
Penang’s list of gastronomic pleasures is almost never ending, and we’ve probably only scratched the tip of the iceberg here. Nevertheless, we hope you take away a considerable amount of knowledge from this, and have your appetite whetted enough by now to start planning that trip to Penang. Your family and tummy will thank you for it too.
Need directions to some of the best eatery spots in Penang? Check out our foodie trail below!