The Malaysian city of Penang is one of the world’s best eating destinations for anyone that loves street food. The ‘hawker’ food that you find on the bustling city streets is a fantastic fusion of Indian, Malay and Chinese classics.
There’s also a more straightforward combination of Malay and Chinese dishes to enjoy, known as Nyonya cuisine. While Malaysia might not be one of those destinations that everyone dreams about, food lovers from all over should check it out. Not only is the street food out of this world but Penang is cheap to visit - and these are the places you need to see.
Where to stay
First of all, it’s so cheap to stay in Penang that anyone will find somewhere suitable to fit their budget. You get a lot for your money, so whether you want to stay in luxury or find out the budget hotels of the city, there is something for everyone. Try one of the restored Peranakan mansions that now make up many of the city’s hotels - the architecture is fantastic. It’s a great example of the buildings of the southeast. Many of them featuring opulent courtyards, beautiful, colorful tiles and incredible plants. Most hotels in Penang are fully equipped for the modern lifestyle, with WiFi and all mod cons available.
Where to eat
You won’t have to travel far to get your teeth into some incredible food experiences. Malaysia is, of course, famous for the laksa and nasi lemak, but make sure you go somewhere authentic. Some restaurants will give you slightly westernized versions that don’t quite hit the spot. The place to be for foodies, though, is Kimberley Rd. It’s here that the street chefs get busy, and all you have to do to get there is follow your nose. The smells are incredible, and there are plenty of places to sit and try their work. As you can imagine, there are plenty of rice dishes, but there is also a lot of kebab-like satay meats. Make sure you wash everything down with Penang’s famous iced white coffee, too.
For something even more informal, keep an eye out for the Lok Lok carts. They travel all over the place but tend to congregate around the Chew Jetty. Find them, and you can pick up one of their meat skewers, dip it in boiling oil, and experience a delicious snack. Do not leave Penang without finding their most famous dish - the Penang Asam Laksa. Most restaurants will serve this delicious, spicy soup. Leaving without trying it is borderline criminal for a foodie.
Where to run it off
With so much food to try, you’ll need to have plenty of activities at hand to burn off some calories. The good news is there are plenty of options and activities for you to try in Penang. Not only that but prices are dirt cheap compared to similar activities at home. The beaches are enticing enough, and there are a lot of watersports to enjoy. The Hill Train is well worth experiencing, and you should sign up to one of the many treks that will take you out of the city and into stunning landscapes.
Have you experienced Penang? Let me know about in the comments and give me your best tips!