I honestly thought I did not eat enough during my trip in Penang but looking at it now, eating was what I was doing most of the trip. We were constantly full all throughout the trip.
What certifies Penang as a street food haven is its own wide array of foods to choose from. It is a melting pot of different cultures merged into one. There is this one thing that you need to be prepared for, which is using your hands when eating. Doing so, makes the experience more worthwhile and authentic.
If you’re on the hunt for authentic food, best advice is to go to places where the locals eat. If you’re adventurous, you can go to a place where they do not have any English menu and just try your luck in there. That’s the beauty of food, each country has their own story to tell with its’ own specialties and getting a genuine taste of their local food is what makes every foodie’s adventure more exciting.
Going back to my adventures, here are more foods I have devoured on my trip in Penang.
On my third day, I was intrigued about how Malaysian-Indian food tasted and having read tons of good reviews for this restaurant, “Hameediyah”, I knew that I had to try this. This place is known for having the best Nasi Kandar in town so that lured me into picking this place.
Hameediyah has a unique system on how to order and where to eat because it has a separate place for both its restaurant and a place to order food. These 2 places are separated by a small Mom & Pop’s store situated in between the restaurant & the place to order. If that’s not clear enough, just follow where the people queue and wait.
So how everything basically works is that you will need to queue up to order food (which can take around 15 to 30 mins depending on the queue), pay and bring the food to your table inside the nearby restaurant. If there’s 2 of you, what you can do is have someone queue up while the other looks for a table as this place is always full.
That’s their entire menu, it can be quite overwhelming so just ask them what they can recommend.
So many choices and for an indecisive eater like me, it was definitely a hard choice.
You tell him what you would like to order and he will prepare it for you swiftly.
I honestly didn’t know what to take so I just took the Crispy Spiced Fried Chicken and Mutton Biryani with some okra. The staff also suggested I get some Papadam which is a thin, crisp, disc-shaped chip that you use to dip in the sauces. Be prepared to use your hand while eating here and to not forget to wash your hands before eating.
While we were there, the restaurant was already filled with locals which is a testament to what I had mention earlier when looking for authentic food.
Go where the locals go and that will guarantee that you are getting the authentic food!
Below are the foods we ate in Hameediyah:
Usually this is all served in one plate but I had to tell them to have them separated.
This is Kambing Mysore which is Mutton Mysore costing 12 RM (2.9 USD/ 95 Baht).
Biryani Kosong with my favorite veggie, okra.
This is Ayam Goreng Berempah (Crispy Spiced Fried Chicken) costing at 7 RM(1.68 USD/55 Baht).
After lunch, we went to Penang Hill to have a bird’s eye view of the island of Penang. To get there the fast way, you need to take a train ride to go up the hill which will cost you 30 RM (7.20 USD / 236 Baht) for a roundtrip ticket. You can also choose the express one which will cost you 80 RM (19.20 USD / 631 Baht) and you will get first priority when boarding the train (skipping lines).
This is the train that will take you to Penang Hill.
Honestly, the only thing that we liked in Penang Hill was the Sky Deck even though my knees were shaking from seeing how high we really were at. It was pretty scary for someone who is scared of heights but once you get used to it, it’s all good.
If you really want to go there despite your fear of heights, then I suggest to mentally prepare yourself before going up Penang Hill.
This photo doesn’t do justice as to how the place really looks.
There are tons of attractions inside that you can explore. Some are free, while some come with a price. You can opt to do the latter if you want to do something better than the Sky Deck. Here more info on the attractions in Penang Hill, http://www.penanghill.gov.my/index.php/en/attractions.html.
A lot of walking will happen so better wear your running shoes if you prefer to walk around the area like we did and to bring mosquito repellant if you dont want to be covered with bites after coming here.
What I really like about this place was that it is a good getaway from Georgetown and be with the nature for a brief moment.
For dinner time, we went to Batu Ferringgi and were about to get some drinks in Hard Rock Café but upon seeing how full the place was, we opted to go find some Lebanese food instead. Sonia was particularly craving for Shawarma and this one nice guy directed us to this small Syrian restaurant near the road selling Lamb Shawarma. The restaurant’s name is “Garden D’Syria”. The shawarma was almost as long as my forearm’s length and was sufficient for 2 people.
I swear, the shawarma was big enough for us two.
After the shawarma, I was still hungry and craved for some Beef Satay. I wouldn’t want to miss trying this dish in Malaysia and it was a must to try it before I leave. We found some Beef Satay on a nearby hawker centre.
The satay was good but the sauce they gave with it did not live up to the Beef Satay. I guess I was looking for more spice as the sauce lacked any of that.
Yaaas for beef satay!
Our hotel is located very near Chinatown and what is the best Chinese dish to eat for breakfast? Dimsum.
Penang has tons of Chinese restaurants so we researched for good ones that are nearby and we came upon a restaurant named, “Tai Tong Restaurant”.
I knew that we made the right choice because as soon as we got there, the place was packed at 10 AM in the morning. Both locals and tourists come to eat here. If you come in big groups, it might be a bit harder to get a seat unless you get lucky or else you’ll have to wait a long time. It was also my first time eating in an authentic Dim Sum restaurant which made this dining experience more special.
You will see grandmas walking around with this trolley in the restaurant.
This was everything we ate and mind you, this was after our buffet breakfast.
The restaurant is run by grandmas so you can expect good and delish dim sum. If you don’t know how it works in a Dimsum restaurant like me, then let me show you the steps.
As soon as you get a table, they will ask what kind of tea you want to drink and they will hand you a piece of paper (do keep this as this will be your bill after). We were given 2 cups each in a small basin with hot water. I was told that traditionally, people will use their chopsticks to pick the cups from the hot basin and serve themselves tea.
Now for the fun part, the ordering. There are grandmas walking around and pushing a steel trolley containing different kinds of dim sum so you will need to be on the lookout for them.
One trolley contains different kinds of steamed dim sums and another had fried dim sums. You can either go to them or wait for them to pass by your table if you’re patient. We weren’t patient so we went to the trolley instead.
This trolley has the steamed dim sums.
There was another small stall near the kitchen where they serve different types of Baos, rice noodles rolls and Chinese Glutinous rice. You just need to queue up, order and give the paper to them to write down what you ordered.
Another personal favorite of mine, chicken feet.
One of their specialty was this egg tart.
Dumpling with salted egg.
This was a fave of mine too! It was crunchy yet meaty on the sauce topped with this sweet and savory sauce.
The dimsum ranges from 1.60 – 3.20 RM (0.38 – 0.77 USD / 13 – 25 Baht) and the price varies depending on the food you take. Once you’ve completed your meal, you can just bring your paper to the cashier and pay your bill. Easy peasy!
I think this place is worth my money as the taste of the food and the atmosphere of the restaurant was authentic. This is something that is not replaceable and will definitely leave a mark in me.
That concludes my 4 day trip in this lovely and diverse island of Penang. 4 days is definitely not enough and I would want to go back in the future and stay in Batu Ferringgi this time. This place has a different vibes comparing to Georgetown, where I stayed at.
To sum it all up, I give this beautiful island a 2 thumbs up as a great choice for foodie adventurers.
Terima kasih again Malaysia for another trip that’s worth remembering.