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I wish I had read this post before I had gone to Penang but hey this means I need to come back. You will at least be proud to know that I spent all my time at Geargetown and didn't think much of the beach, which I couldn't find at night!


Thank you for sharing this very helpful list for eats/sleeps in Penang. I spent 6 months in both Penang and Ipoh way back in the early 90's and fell in love with Georgetown. Was fortunate to meet with some long time residents and visit their astonishingly beautiful homes. Ate fabulous food, both from street vendors and tasted delicious Nyonya cooking. I'm sure much has changed since then, especially the level of chic in Georgetown. Perhaps, with your expert guidance, it is time for a return visit.


Again a Very good summary, and our regular Penang visits have been planned around your excellent suggestions, thanks for making our stays well worth while.

I echo your views on Campbell House.

Do you have a favourite durian stall along Macalister, for those who can't make it to Balik Pulau or Bukit Genting?


Great writeup! Handy when I am visiting Penang next week. Thank you!


Enjoy Penang Daniel!

DrLes - Glad to hear that! And yes, Campbell House is really special. RE: durian stalls, I don't have a favourite. I usually go to the one on the corner near the street with the Sunway Hotel but I think they all sell pretty much the same selection. Go to one that seems amenable to "working" with you when you describe what you want (milky, creamy, butter for me).

Elizabeth, thanks for reading. I would have loved to have seen George Town in the early 90s! Ipoh too. Lucky you.
Yes, GT is changing for sure, fast. I don't know what it will be in 5-10 years, to tell the truth. I don't know if I will like it then. But right now it's a wonderful place, so unique, still real, still much of it not "for tourists" (with some worrying "for tourists" developments like a Disney-esque night market ... but those development are yet limited). I'd say -- visit soon! You'll be shocked at the changes but I think you'd still love it. And you can still eat *very* well here.

Kalyan -we'd love to see you here. Let's make a deal. Latter half of 2016 we'll try to get to Mumbai if you will do the same in our direction.

Ariette Coleman

My dream Malaysian tour will surely include visiting these places, most especially the Little Kitchen @Nyonya. I would love to have a taste of Achar hu: fried fish marinated in turmeric-vinegar oil with garlic, ginger and chilies. By the way, I would like to share my my favorite places to eat in Hong Kong. They have good food too. =)

Penang Frequent Visitor

You should put in disclaimers for two of your recommendations: Little Kitchen @ Nyonya and 7 Terraces.

I had a bad impression of 7 Terraces, the place and staff there seemed even more snooty than what I had experienced at the E&O (which was very pleasant btw)!

There have been a lot of complaints about Little Kitchen @ Nyonya trying to take advantage of the unwary traveller. Charging the unwary tourist RM50 for a Nasi Ulam demonstration seems absurd. See this review from TripAdvisor about the place: http://www.tripadvisor.com.my/ShowUserReviews-g298303-d3773986-r222865026-The_little_kitchen-Georgetown_Penang_Island_Penang.html#REVIEWS


PFV, every person I know who's stayed at 7 Terraces has loved it. I wouldn't have recommended it otherwise. And the staff have never been anything but gracious to me. I'm sorry for your unfortunate experience but it sounds like an outlier.

As for Little Kitchen -- I've had folks on my street food tour who loved the demonstration and happily paid for it (RM50 divided between 4 diners comes out to about U$4-5 per diner) so I guess the moral of the story there is, Different strokes for different folks.

The TripAdvisor review you link starts with a complaint about the price of the dishes -- starting at RM18 -- which is less than U$6 at the current exchange rate. It's an unfortunate fact that many foreigners think Asian food is overpriced unless it's "cheap". Yes, the dishes are small at Little Kitchen, but they're made in a family kitchen, they're generally delicious, and part of the privilege is eating in a family home. I can't really judge the owners harshly for capitalizing on their success.

And I suspect many who complain about RM50 for a nasi ulam demonstration wouldn't think twice about spending the same for 2 cocktails at a bar in George Town.
Thanks for your comment, and it's here as a warning for those who would blanch at Little Kitchen's prices. (Tek Sen, by the way, is not cheap either.)


Great article, I will definitely have to try Tek Sen


Hi Robyn,

I am going to Penang again this weekend for our regular hospital clowning workshop (We want set up a team there to visit seriously ill children in hospital on weekly basis)

My favourite food in Penang is no longer favourite. The samosa stall in front of Chowrasta market no longer offer good and tasty samosas. The quality has gone down.

But I have found a nice place to go for nasi kandar at Dheen's in Burmah Street,(I think!).


Hi Iskandar, thanks for your comment. I quite like the samosas in Little India ... is it King Street or Queen Street? A long table near the corner that also has a variety of sweets. When they are hot that is. That's a bummer that your fave is no longer good --- I have seen quality dive with a disturbing number of establishments/hawkers in the last couple years.
I'll have to check out Sheen's. I don't eat nasi bandar often because it's so filling, but it's hard to beat a good one.
Enjoy your time in Penang! And thanks for reading.

Nikko Tan

Great write up Robyn ... Totally local and authentic food suggestions some of which I don't even know of :-)


Thank you for the kind words Nikko, and for reading!

Mike Czyzewski

awesome. i really, really need to get back at some point.


Better hurry. It's changing fast! Thanks Mike.


I would agree on the treatment that PFV received in a past comment. As a local, I felt I was given a snooty treatment at 7 Terraces, this has always been an issue in general about racism towards locals in a number of tourist-orientated places in Malaysia.

Robyn, you might have gotten great treatment there, but I am only testifying from my own experience there, where I wasn't treated with much warmth or consideration by the hostess of the restaurant at 7 Terraces.


Observer, I'm sorry to hear of your experience. I haven't "gotten great treatment" there; I live in George Town so I have no reason to stay in a hotel here. To list a hotel I like to have visited, and to have received trustworthy evaluations of the service, experience etc.
In the last 3 months Dave has had two groups of Malaysians up in George Town for his photo walks. Both (3 women in one case, 2 couples in another) stayed at 7 Terraces and had only good things to say about it. And during the same period I had 6 couples in town for my street food walk -- three 'western', two from Singapore and one from Hong Kong. Ditto - only good things to say about their experience.
I'm sorry if your experience wasn't equally as good. But it's a bit like Trip Advisor: the odd negative experience doesn't, for me, cancel out the many more positive experiences.
I leave your comment here for those who would like to see other views of 7 Terraces. Then they can decide for themselves.
I'd like to add, by the way, that I receive absolutely nothing in compensation from hotel owners by including their property in this list. We do not accept free travel, lodging or food when we're working on commissioned pieces for publications, nor do we -- nor have we ever -- for this blog.


Always wanted to visit Penang!! Hoping 2017 is the year I finally do. Thanks for the suggestions, keeping these in mind. *bookmarked*

Oh My Vienna

What happened to your blog? I keep coming back to check but you haven't posted anything in several months. I hope everything is okay?

I've followed you for several years and miss your posts.


Oh My Vienna -- Thanks for continuing to stop by despite our (deplorable) silence! We (I, especially) became overwhelmed with work for our cookbook. Now that the manuscript (publication is next fall) is in we hope to start blogging at lease semi-regularly again. We continue to travel and eat and we have many many stories to tell! And I have lots of recipes to share.
Please check back in a couple of weeks.
Happy Holidays,

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