>> Food Capital

Penang food stall

This popular food stall on Chulia Street is turning out hundreds of plates of Wan Tan Mee every day; tasty noodles served with wonton dumplings and a dark soy sauce dressing, garnished with barbecued pork slices.

Traveling, to me, is as much about the food as anything else. Although I liked George Town for more than its eating scene, our days here often revolved around where we’d have our next meal. Malaysia’s food capital, as it is called, has a great selection of unique street food dishes to explore, as well as some very fine restaurants. Penang is primarily Chinese, which is reflected in its cuisine, but there’s also Indian and Peranakan influences. Some typical dishes we’ve been trying: Penang Laksa (probably the most famous), Char Koay Teow, Wan Tan Mee, Roti Canai and the ubiquitous Mee Goreng.

Penang resto

Some restaurants are just eating halls lined with different cooking stalls, each one specialising in a particular dish. Here we’re trying Char Koay Teow (garlicky noodles with prawns) and Penang Laksa.

Penang Laksa

Penang Laksa: rice vermicelli in an incredibly aromatic fish-broth, with hints of prawn paste, lemongrass, ginger, mint, and so much more.

Restaurant Kebaya

Besides street food, George Town boasts a few excellent restaurants. The best one is probably Kebaya, part of the Seven Terraces Hotel, housed in a nicely restored row of seven heritage buildings.

Kebaya starter

Fine dining at Kebaya. As a starter, we had the Otak Otak (red snapper pastries) and Ban Xeo (crispy wafers stuffed with shredded chicken, crispy tofu and stir-fried vegetables in a tamarind sauce). Simply the best dinner of our trip so far.

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