Although Penang is, quite rightly, famous for its nyonya and hawker food, we do actually have a lot of other cuisines available for your delectation. After a few days of indulging in casual roadside fare and sweating over RM3 bowls of noodles in hot kopitiams (coffee shops), it makes a pleasant change to dine somewhere a bit fancier. However, that’s the beauty of eating out in Penang – there’s something to suit every budget. You can choose to do it cheaply and cheerfully, or if you fancy dressing up a bit, or a lot, for that matter, then we also have a great range of restaurants for you to try out.
BARS & RESTAURANTS
These run the gamut, from casual to night clubs, fine dining and more. Apart from the ubiquitous fast-food chains that are available in almost any other part of the world, we have some very good outlets which would not be out of place in Singapore, London or New York. Wine connoisseurs, worry not: many stock a wide selection of wines from both the old and new worlds. Some pubs have large screens which make it a great evening come Cup Final night.
Being so close to the Thai border, we have access to quite a few Thai restaurants, many run by Thais themselves – can’t get more authentic than that. As the Industrial Free Trade Zone is home to many of the big Japanese electronic industries, we also have a fair number of Japanese and Korean restaurants to choose from. Our Italian outlets are not to be sniffed at either: some have even imported their own wood-fired ovens just to ensure the pizzas have just the right taste and aroma!
Many offer set lunches and dinners, which are excellent value and take all the hassle out of deciding what to eat as well as giving you the excuse to have dessert as well – after all, it’s included in the price! Waste not, want not and all that.
Our world-class hotels add another dimension to dining in Penang, and we are proud to boast some international chefs who lend their name to some very distinguished outlets. Many offer excellent chilled meats and steaks which are air-flown from New Zealand and Australia, chargrilled to perfection. And if you are ever in need of somewhere to go and sit for a quiet chat over a drink (or two) of a day, then hotel coffee houses are ideal, as they are usually open all day long, are clean and air-conditioned, and not crowded and noisy.
Buffets abound in town, with practically every hotel offering them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only limitations are the size of your wallet and stomach, because, believe me, you ain’t seen a buffet yet until you’ve seen some of ours. They can be themed (Western, Seafood, Barbeques etc) or “just” plain international, which means an eclectic selection of local and other delights. The one thing for sure is the choice will be simply awesome. Some also offer free-flow drinks, usually wine, beer and cordials.
(Word of warning: it takes practise to “do” buffets properly. First of all, you should ensure a relatively empty stomach before you start otherwise you wouldn’t do it justice. However, if you then opt for buffets which include unlimited drinks, make sure you line your stomach first before imbibing: a soup or some dairy products would be ideal. Finally, unless you’re in training to be a sumo wrestler or weight lifter, then it’s almost certain you won’t be able to eat everything on offer. At least, not if you want to walk out of the restaurant without help or exploding.
So it’s best to just have very small helpings (you’ll be surprised how a bit of everything adds up to a huge plateful!) and even then only the things that you like but don’t usually have the opportunity to indulge in: I rather head for the large shrimps, smoked salmon and sashimi myself. And of course, don’t forget to leave room for dessert, as there is usually a magnificent spread laid on, encompassing fruits and cakes, local kuehs and puddings.)
SENIOR CITIZEN DISCOUNTS
Many hotels offer as much as up to 50% discounts for senior citizens, usually those who are 55 and over, although some start at 50 (it doesn’t hurt to ask), so don’t forget to take along an ID or something to prove that you are the age you claim. Having said that, this is one time not to feel insulted if they don’t ask for it!
From Armenian to Indian, Cantonese to Japanese, Malay to Mongolian; from pub grub to pizzas, seafood to Swiss food; steamboat to steamed buns, you are almost guaranteed not to run out of places to eat in when you visit Penang. But take your time! What’s the hurry? You can always go the next time you are here!
New World Park
And many more
We will be featuring one Penang outlet a week very soon. If you would like to be included, please contact Helen on
and she will be get in touch with you.
Article By HELEN ONG