An island that once held almost an equal importance to the East Asia trade routes as Singapore, Penang has been left with a mixed cultural legacy.
During the escapades of the (British) East India Trading company, Penang grew in importance as a trade hub as well using the land to grow spices. To support the trade activities, Indians, Chinese, Malays and various other ethnic minorities traced back to Thailand, Myanmar and various other countries.
I’m sure it was awesome then, but ass all of those who have been to Penang will attest, Penang is a seriously cool place now.
With its mixed and rich cultural heritage the food in Penang has evolved and traditions persevered over time to bring the largest assortment and best food. In Penang, you can find excellent Indian food, excellent Chinese food, excellent Malay dishes, excellent Nyonya dishes…pretty much best everything.
So, here’s a roundup of what to visit if you’re there.
General touristy stuff
Excellent Naan, excellent paneer and my friends loved the tandoori chicken. Everything they made was hands down awesome. And they’re open 24 hours a day.
Careful, though, after I ate there almost continuously for a week in Penang I heard they were out of Paneer for a week after I left 😉 So just go with the flow of whatever they have.
There’s usually a queue to eat here, but it’s well worth (also the queue moves quite quickly). The service was amazing – we were a slightly fussy group asking for a lot of modifications to what was on the already comprehensive menu and it all arrived promptly without even the slightest error. The food was way too good.
Best Hawker Stalls
For that, you have to go to Chulia Street. The food here is diverse and awesome. You can even grab a beer. There’s also a vegetarian stall that sells their own recipe of Grilled Aubergine (Eggplant), and it was nothing less than amazingly delicious. It takes about 10 minutes to grill, though, so have patience.