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Penang

Eat and meet

Batu Feringghi

Bayu Senja is home to most of Batu Feringghi's trendier backpacker hangouts, like Sunset Bistro and Lab Beach Bar. These are probably the only places in town with real beach-bar atmospheres, and offer dishes priced in the affordable 5-40 ringgit range.

Back on the main road you'll find Guan Guan Restoran serving up dishes from a detailed Chinese menu, with the most expensive dish of sizzling fish on a hotplate costing just 20 ringgit. The friendly Indian owner of well-priced Helena Cafe next door mainly serves Indian dishes but also breakfasts and some Western food.

The main road offers plenty of more upmarket alternatives, mostly Chinese seafood, north Indian and Arabian places, as well as the in-house restaurants of the flash hotels. For a memorable splurge, Lone Pine Resort which is managed by the E&O hosts the 1941-established Bungalow Restaurant. It really is an old bungalow, and they really have got pine trees! The traditional menu hasn't changed in decades.

Batu Feringghi offers little in the way of nightlife. Bars in the hotels and resorts probably offer the best spots for a spot of drinking with friends. Outside of that, Lab Beach Bar, Sunset Bistro and the flash-looking Zippy Bar opposite the Park Royal are open till late.

Georgetown

Penang is famed for its rich diversity of world cuisine thanks to its long history of being settled by migrants, and Georgetown is where you'll find the island's best restaurants. You don't need to pay top dollar to eat well here and you'll often come across an amalgam of different cuisines under the one roof -- don't be surprised to find Chinese, Indian and Indonesian cuisine all offered interchangeably.

  • Tek Sen
    3.5 stars

    A must try

    18-20 Lebuh Carnarvon, Georgetown
    T: (012) 493 9424

    When you arrive in Penang and realise that just about every second shophouse is a restaurant, you might find it hard to decide where to eat. So how do you solve this culinary conundrum? Follow the steady trail of Penangites down Lebuh Carnarvon and bag yourself a table at Tek Sen. ... read more

  • The Daily Dose Cafe
    3.5 stars

    A heady fusion of cultural influences

    8c Lebuh Carnarvon, Georgetown
    T: (04) 261 2063

    If you’ve come to Penang to experience its fantastic local cuisine, a cafe serving Mexican and Mediterreanean specials may not necessarily be top of your must-visit list. However, like Georgetown itself, The Daily Dose Cafe is a heady fusion of cultural influences, and with its pan-continental ... read more

  • Mews Cafe and Muntri Mews Hotel
    3.5 stars

    Excellent

    77 Muntri Street 10200 Georgetown
    T: (04) 263 5125

    Many restaurants in Penang have attempted to take the relaxed continental cafe vibe and transfer it to the Asian setting, but none more successfully than Mews Cafe. With excellent coffee, a simple but stylish interior, varied menu and personable service, it gets the balance just right and ... read more

  • Char Kway Teow
    3.5 stars

    Famous and delicious

    185 Macalister Road, Georgetown

    Ask anyone from Penang which dish they would most readily associate with their home island, and the answer is quite likely to be char kway teow. While the likes of Penang laksa or Hokkien mee might be more obvious indigenous contenders, char kway teow holds a very special place in the hearts of ... read more

  • Chuan Bee Cafe
    3.5 stars

    A living legend

    64 Lebuh China, Georgetown

    Chuan Bee Cafe has become something of a living legend in Penang. The story goes that an Australian couple once chanced upon it, loved it and spread the word about it, and in-the-know travellers have made their culinary pilgrimages here ever since. ... read more

  • Tree Monkey
    3.5 stars

    Romantic and atmospheric

    Tropical Spice Garden Lone Crag Villa, Jalan Teluk Bahang
    T: (04) 881 3493/4

    Finding a restaurant that serves great food at reasonable prices is never going to be a problem in Penang. However, if you want to add ambience and sea views into the equation, the island offers few options — and this makes it all the more worthwhile to seek out one of Penang’s most romantic ... read more

  • Mugshot Cafe and Rainforest Bakery, Penang
    3.5 stars

    Bread and baked goods

    With so much excellent local food on offer, you will never go hungry in Penang. However, if your belly is begging for bread and baked goods after all those noodle and rice dishes, it is useful to know where to go, and the Rainforest Bakery in Georgetown will definitely quell your cravings. ... read more

  • Shaved ice desserts in Penang
    3.5 stars

    Yum!

    The word ‘dessert’ takes on a whole new meaning in Southeast Asia and while Penang’s savoury dishes are a positive draw for travellers, the island’s sweet offerings are, perhaps, less so. If you are looking for rich chocolate cakes, fruit-filled pies or puddings served with cream or ... read more

  • Ko Chai Lai
    3.5 stars

    Good news for vegetarians

    77 Lebuh Bishop, Georgetown
    T: (016) 423 9937

    A vegetarian friend recently asked for a meat- and fish-free char kuay teow at one of Penang’s hawker stalls. Minus the prawns, cockles, pork fat, prawn paste and Chinese sausage, the result was an uninspiring mess of noodles and a few beansprouts in a bland brown sauce. Perhaps the experiment ... read more

  • Penang Laksa
    3.5 stars

    Delicious!

    475 Jalan Penang, Georgetown

    As the culinary capital of Malaysia, Penang is quite literally bursting with flavour. Many of its famous dishes have almost become synonymous with the island itself, but none more so than Penang laksa, which found international fame in 2011 when it came seventh on the CNN ‘World’s Fifty Most ... read more



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