The Food Haven That is Penang


Mention Penang and the locals in Malaysia would equate it to food. Great food, that is. Great food means flavorful dishes that are crazily affordable. Imagine ordering one serving of char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodles with vegetables, chicken, and/or shrimp) for only RM4 or RM5. In Kuala Lumpur, yes you may get it for the same price at some food courts, but with very few ingredients and minus the native touch that every local vendor in Penang has. There is something magical about it. My husband raved about eating the best oyster omelet for only RM 12. The serving was good for two people with a huge appetite like him and my teenage son. So, they shared it for dinner. Read more of our food finds below.

Penang is a mix of history with a few traces of modernity. One could do a Chinese history and art walk-through in Penang. We saw old low-rise structures that seemed abandoned, but for posterity’s and aesthetic’s sakes, they just leave them standing there. Some were renovated and had small establishments leasing them.

We booked at the highly recommended resort, DoubleTree by Hilton, for the nice beachfront of Batu Ferringhi. As usual, upon checking in, we were given the signature chocolate chip cookies. I must admit that this cookie-giving habit is something I look forward to whenever I book at DoubleTree. One of the sweet perks of being a member of Hilton Honors. 🙂

As my husband is like a merman (who feels the sea is home), we were so eager to check out the beach just across the hotel using the short and secured footbridge from DoubleTree. There was this small by-the-beach family-owned cafe called Miami Beach Cafe. We were greeted by the Indian owners. The family man told us the story of their then-infant child who was engulfed into the sea by the tsunami that ravaged Banda Aceh in 2004. The Indian Ocean tsunami killed thousands of people in that Indonesian province. Penang was hit by the residual but strong waves as well. The baby girl, who made it in the news, was called a miracle baby for being able to be in one piece after the second wave returned her to her parents on her mattress still intact. It was as if nothing happened to her! The dad and the mom held on to dear life by clinging to the posts still standing near their house. What a story!

We thought that the best way to go to Penang from KL is by bus. Although it was a five-hour trip (9 am to 2 pm), the journey was a bit of a treat because we were able to see some sights composed of mountains, buildings, fields, and trees, along the long highway. It was tiring but we were pretty excited to see Penang. And also, not to forget that despite our seat numbers, this was not actually followed. You can sit anywhere!!!

At the Chocolate and Coffee Museum, picture-taking was not allowed inside. We just contented ourselves with our photographic memories. 🙂
I think this is the oldest McDonald’s resto location I’ve been to.
My fave leek dumpling.
My husband’s fave, the famed char kway teow.
Another fave, the vegetable popiah.
The phenomenal Penang pancake with peanut butter, chocolate, and nuts filling. So many other flavors to choose from.
Look at those bright pink buns! Flavors: red bean, chicken, pork, etc.
The chendul that launches a long queue.
The road famous chendul, like our Philippine’s halo-halo only with lesser ingredients.
The DoubleTree by Hilton cookies! Yummy!
Street food, and then some more, at the New Lane Hawkers Centre.
No to shark meat!!!
The Edison
Some of the old buildings that were renovated to accommodate establishments and small businesses.
The famous bakery, makers of Penang biscuits.
Making loaves of bread since 1856.
Penang Times Square.
 The cute Teddyville Museum housed at DoubleTree by Hilton.
Miami Beach Cafe’s frontage.