Born To Eat: A 24-Hour “New Normal” Food Guide in Penang

You and your stomach are in safe hands.

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Born To Eat: A 24-Hour “New Normal” Food Guide in Penang
Following the months-long lockdown, a food hunt is undeniably our top agenda.

With its fair share of time-worn eateries and trendy cafes, Penang has to be the top destination, as hygiene and health measures are intact too.

If you have 24 hours in the little food heaven known as Penang, here’s how to spend it. 

Early Birds Get a Variety of Worms

A hearty and tasty breaktast.
One of the main reasons to get out of bed is the promise of good coffee, like the one served in Toh Soon Cafe.

Sitted along Campbell Street, the small alley feels like a step back in time while the sights and smells of Hainanese coffee and charcoal stove-toasted bread awakes your appetite.

Smeared with homemade kaya, dipped in coffee or paired with half-boiled eggs, there are no wrongdoings with the toast.

Squid, prawn, fish, anchovies and salted fish are among the choices.
Ali Nasi Lemak
at Sri Weld Food Court also draws a long queue, social distancing or not. The highlight here is their homemade spicy sambal which is ladled over coconut rice and packed in banana leaves.

Anchovies and fish are common picks, but the prawn, squid and salted fish versions are equally delicious.

French toast with a generous amount of berries.
Opening its doors as early as 7.30am, Urban Daybreak shines brightest at breakfast and brunch, where you can tuck into Fried Chicken Waffle, Avocado Smash Toast and Cinnamon French Toast with a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

On top of that, it’s near impossible to take a bad photo of the food and atmosphere.

For the 'gram, right?

Ayam Ros, Mutton Kurma, greens and briyani rice.
Everyone seems to have their opinion on who serves the best nasi kandar in Penang and Restoran Tajuddin Hussain is often in that discussion.

The curries, rich and aromatic, and signature dishes such as Ayam Ros, Mutton Kurma and Squid Curry offer a clean hit of spices, and your easiest decision would be briyani or white rice.

The RMCO guidelines may have you waiting for a table, but the flavours will more than make up for it.

Cured meats with condiments.
Not many can claim to have a delicatessen replete with cheese and meat choices but that’s just what Hudson’s Deli has achieved.

Boot with their homemade roasted pumpkin soup, followed by a Reuben Sandwich or Beef Goulash with Rye bread. Even better, gather your friends over their cured meat and cheese platter with wines to match. 

Small on Portions but Big on Flavours

Beyond a simple teatime snack.
Curry puffs may not be the obvious choice for a Penang food itinerary but Mutiara Karipap offers so many varieties, it deserves an exception.

Think fillings like chicken, mutton, crab, egg, prawns and cockles, so now you know why one curry puff is never enough. 

Watch the puffs fried to crispy perfection and served with homemade pickled onions.

Gorgeous colours speak flavours too.
When you dine at Moh Teng Pheow Nyonya Koay & Canteen, you will not only experience the quality of the traditionally made Nyonya Kuihs, but timeworn traces of old-school antiques and utensils too.

Be it kuih talam, kuih muka or kuih lapis, the spectrum of colours and flavours will leave you with a memorable high tea session. 

Beat the Heat with Some Icy Goodness

It's quite fun self-serving the frozen yoghurts.
Having gone through a spice ride, put your way through a self-administered challenge to taste as many frozen yoghurt combinations at Myfroyoland.

From peach & mango tart to green apple, cookies & cream and salted caramel, each flavour is as delicious as the next one.

For a textural interplay, assorted nuts, fresh fruits, candies and syrups are available as toppings.

What more can you ask for?
If you prefer a classic ice kacang, head to Kek Seng Coffee Shop.

The main lure is the addition of jelly and homemade durian ice cream over the syrup-drenched shaved ice.

For all your durian craving.
Speaking of durian, Ah Teik Zai Durian at New World Park, just a five-minute drive away, has got you covered with choices like Musang King, Black Thorn and Red Prawn.  

Perfect for all you durian lovers out there.

Add Gorgeous Sceneries into the Equation

Impress your date with a mouth-watering afternoon tea.
Eastern & Oriental Hotel’s in-house restaurant Palm Court has opened its doors once again with meticulous hygiene standards, and eyes are set on their weekend English Afternoon Tea.

Embrace the hum of colonial life and calming sea views, while savouring the three-tiered tea service that comprises of scones, cakes, finger sandwiches and other dainty delights.

Seize the moment.
Batu Ferringhi with its long stretch beaches and clear waters is hands down a mandatory on the schedule. Time your visit to Tree Monkey Restaurant before sunset and take full advantage of the authentic Thai menu.

Go for the Thai tapas platter, pineapple fried rice, massaman curry, Thai red rubies dessert and their signature mojitos, and watch the sun gradually dip towards the horizon. 

When the Sun Goes Down, The Food Scene Doubles Up

Probably the best char koey teow in Penang? You decide.
Kimberly Street Char Koay Teow’s popularity is in no small part derived from the reputation of Mr Lien's frying skills over a charcoal fire, supplement by program features on BBC and The Food Ranger.

As the regulars do, opt for the special version which includes batter-fried mantis prawns and savour the “wok hei” goodness.

Cheese fondue is not to be missed.
If Swiss and German cuisine sounds like the dinner you seek, Edelweiss Cafe serves up some serious steals. The authenticity of the post-colonial building is first to impress until the Swiss Cheese Fondue, Sausages with rosti and Apple Flan hit the table.

Portions are huge but being greedy is understandable.

The quality speaks for itself.
With a cosy setting and a focus on premium cut meats, Hutton 133 has planted itself firmly on the hearts of carnivores.

Doubling up as a butchery, you’ll find the finest cuts from around the world such as Japanese Wagyu, Australian Goulburn Tenderloin and Kurobuta Pork Ribs, which is cooked to perfection and paired with the best wines on offer. 

A Little Bedtime 'Snack' 

We Malaysians can never overlook Maggi Goreng.
The food capital of Malaysia has more going on after bedtime than you could imagine. KSB Cahaya, or more fondly known as Abu Mamak, is a popular late-night hangout spot with branches on Larut Road and Macalister Road.

Their Maggi Goreng with fried chicken, Nasi Lemak Goreng, Roti Hong Kong and Milo Dinosaur might not look good on your calorie diary, but simply worth it.

Grace up the bed of noodles.
On a cold night, a hot bowl of noodles is the best companion.

Not only is Green House Prawn Mee Corner’s Hokkien Mee rated as one of the best on the island, but you can also fill the bowl with meatballs, fish balls and chicken feet.

Kuah Banjir is a must!
Sulaiman Nasi Kandar at 4am is certainly more appealing than standing hopelessly in front of your fridge.

Despite the early morning hours, many regulars come with an empty stomach (and face mask, of course), snaking their way to an array of curries and spice-laden meat dishes.

Point to the crispy fried chicken, squid sambal, fish head curry and raw chilli (for additional kick) and remember to end with the key phrase – “Kuah Banjir”. 

Eating is one of life’s simplest pleasures, and the “new normal” makes it a conscientious one, too.

Come over with a huge appetite, a face mask and always remember tp practice social distancing before digging in, yeah, guys?

Happy food hunting.

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