Food in Penang

Ask anyone in Penang what they enjoy most and their answer will always be “the food.” Penang people love food and love to eat at any time of the day. With endless choices, you’ll never go hungry. It’s cheap, affordable and extremely tasty!

Google search for Penang food and you will find millions of articles and images! It will never do justice to try to describe Penang food in a few words as it’s diverse and complex and intertwined with the cultural influences of the various ethnicities of the people who lives there for generations. Look at the Chinese alone. It is impossible to describe the Chinese food in Penang as it is as diverse as the origins of the Chinese who have settled there since the Seafaring era. Among them are the Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien, Teochew, Hokchiu and Hainanese. Early on, some Chinese settlers adopted aspects of the local Malay culture and intermarried with a Malay wife or husband, creating a unique culture and tradition called “Peranakan“, also known as “Baba Nyonya”. “Baba” refers to the man, “Nyonya” refers to the woman. The “Nyonya” food is unique and can only be found in the three straits settlements  – Penang, Malacca and Singapore.

A single article wouldn’t capture all aspects of this delicious cuisine so in this post, I  feature some photos taken in Penang at three different locations:

  • Tanjung Bungah – local Penang fruit trucks parked beside an open air food court centre
  • Little India – popup stalls along one of the street blocks, selling halal takeaway food from savoury to sweets, during the Ramadan Festival – a holy fasting month of Islam
  • Kimberley Street, George Town – very popular with the locals in the evening with street food. The most popular stall is the “Koay Chiap” stall selling fresh homemade rice noodles served in a rich broth of shredded duck meat, pork meat, hard boiled eggs and offal.
Penang Malaysia
Penang food

Written by Victor Khoo

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