Penang is famous throughout Southeast Asia for its food. On this small island, Indonesian and Malaysian recipes, Chinese traditional dishes, and savory Indian curries have been reinvented with the heady spices of Thailand, creating some dishes that are unique to the island. While local delicacies are best tried in hawker centers, the city's up-and-coming restaurant scene promises some opulent and trendy dining experiences.
Food Stall Dining
No discussion of Penang dining would be complete without coverage of the local food stall scene, which is famous. Penang hawkers can make any dish you've had in Malaysia, Singapore, or even southern Thailand -- only better. Penang may be attractive for many things -- history, culture, nature -- but it is loved for its food.
Gurney Drive Foodstalls, toward the water just down from the intersection with Jalan Kelawai, is the biggest and most popular hawker center. It has all kinds of food, including local dishes with every influence: Chinese, Malay, and Indian. Find char kway teow (fried flat noodles with seafood), char bee hoon (a fried thin rice noodle), laksa (noodles and seafood in a tangy and spicy broth), murtabak (mutton, egg, and onion fried inside Indian bread and dipped in dhal), oh chien (oyster omelet with chili dip), and rojak (a spicy fruit and seafood salad). After you've eaten your way through Gurney Drive, you can try the stalls on Jalan Burmah near the Lai Lai Supermarket or the stalls at Long Beach food court in Batu Ferringi.