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tb86

penang malaysia

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In penang for 3 days staying in georgetown at g hotel any tps on what to eat and where,,, street food is best for me , dont care much for the hotel version of fine dining,,,,,

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Roti Canai any where you can get it. That is the flattop grilled bread with a chicken curry dipping sauce.

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Try Sisters' Char Kway Teow, Lam Heng Cafe, 185 Macalister Road. Char Kuay teow is one of Penang's classic dishes and Sisters' is arguably the most famous vendor. The two sisters are in their late 60s (I think) and their unique version, redolent of smoky wok hei, is topped with crab meat. It's a little bit pricier than the average and is popular to the point of being a little touristy, but it's so only because it's pretty darn good. The wu tao ko (savoury yam cake) sold from the stall out the front of the cafe is also good.

Also try Penang prawn mee - my favourite is opposite Pulau Tikus police station, in a corner shop lot. Bones are boiled down from scratch for the rich stock and you don't get the MSG buzz afterwards. You have to get there between 6 am and 8 am as they sell out quite quickly - definitely worth skipping a sleep-in for. You can go for a walk in the adjacent street market after breakfast and see what little snack treats tempt you as well.

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Help!

We are headed to Penang in 11 days (I just booked the trip a couple hours ago!) and I have no I idea about Malaysian food. We are staying at the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang so are pretty much out of the main districts, I have read there is a night market just outside the hotel and plan to head there. Any recommendations/foods to keep an eye out for?

What are some common sweet foods sold by hawkers?

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Help!

We are headed to Penang in 11 days (I just booked the trip a couple hours ago!) and I have no I idea about Malaysian food. We are staying at the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang so are pretty much out of the main districts, I have read there is a night market just outside the hotel and plan to head there. Any recommendations/foods to keep an eye out for?

What are some common sweet foods sold by hawkers?

Hi Kristin,

You should check out the following dishes:

Char kway teow - Dry-fried flat noodles with soy, egg, chilli, prawns and cockles. This is perhaps the definitive Penang hawker dish.

Oh chien - Fried oyster omelette. They use very small oysters in these, but the main feature of this dish is the tapioca flour batter added during frying, which congeals to become wonderfully sticky and jelly-like.

Prawn mee - Mixed yellow noodles and rice vermicelli in a rich and spicy prawn stock. Check out the Pulau Tikus stall in my post above. You are based a little far away, but there should be pretty good versions available throughout Penang.

Desserts - There are some excellent bakers in Penang, who do a wonderful line in flaky dry pastries stuffed with molasses, green bean paste, etc. Him Heang (162A Jalan Burmah) and Ghee Hiang (No 95, Lebuh Pantai) are the most famous. Both have their supporters who will swear by their favourite; personally, I prefer Him Heang, but this is one of those arguments that will never be resolved except by force of arms. Try the tambun biscuit and heong pneah. They make a great afternoon snack with a cup of strong coffee. (Him Heang's retail outlet has developed into a food emporium where you can buy many other snacks, sweets, etc which are unique to Penang.

Restaurants - When my family would drive up to Penang in the morning, before even checking into our hotel, we would make a beeline to a restaurant for a socking big lunch. I don't think I ever figured out what it was called, but I am pretty sure it is "Hock Chuan Heong" at Port Weld. I would highly recommend the oyster noodles in gravy, oh chien and the meatball soup coated in tapioca flour, all classic Penang Hokkien dishes. Links below to tantalise your tastebuds:

Hock Chuan Heong Link 1

Hock Chuan Heong Link 2

Enjoy! Penang is an absolutely amazing place and the food is second to none, except arguably Ipoh, but that can be the subject of another thread!

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Wow! Thanks for that quick and informative reply. I'm really looking forward to the food on this trip, that fried oyster omelette sounds especially good.

How difficult is it to get by with no knowledge of the language at the hawker stands? I feel we missed a lot on our trip to Korea a couple months ago because we had no communication skills.

Our hotel includes a free breakfast buffet (and according to the reviews I have heard it quite good) but I have a feeling we will be looking for cheap options later in the day.

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Most Malaysians will have at least a rudimentary grasp of English with most signboards showing at least a little English to indicate what they are selling, so with a little patience, things will be fine. And for many hawker shops, they will sell only the one item so the chances of confusion and a bad outcome are rather slim :smile:

Oh, I've probably done the State an absolute disservice by not talking about the Nyonya cuisine, the centuries-old fusion cuisine unique to Malaysia and which arguably finds its ultimate expression in Penang. I don't know enough to explain the specifics, but if you google Penang Nyonya food, you should be able to find the signature dishes and the best places to sample them.

Since you are interested in sweets, try out the range of Nyonya kuih, which are sweet concoctions made mainly of coconut (milk and grated flesh), glutinous rice and tapioca in all sorts of wonderful permutations and combinations. The colours and presentation are truly a treat to behold!

At the risk of being crucified by the "authentic food" crowd, Malaysian hotel breakfasts are pretty amazing compared to what a hotel in Europe or America may serve, and I can't imagine a Shangri-La establishment (especially the Rasa Sayang) would let you down. Most also take pains to include local delicacies in their spread, so you also get a little food culture first thing in the morning!

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Thank you so much for all the information, I have never planned such a trip in less than 2 weeks before! I actually know nothing about Penang or even Malaysia and we are only going because I found an incredible deal on the airfare.

I have spent the weekend reading about Penang and the food culture sounds incredible!! I am really excited about the hawker food because we there will be 5 of us and we can just get a small dish of everything and share. Luckily, my kids are very adventurous eaters.

I am also happy to hear about coconut desserts, If I have to pick one food to live on for the rest of my life it would probably be coconut. :biggrin: In Japan there is no coconut anything. I went crazy in Korea a couple months ago when I found a coconut ice cream at Baskin Robbins. My kids got hooked on the hoddeoks (brown sugar filled "pancakes") when we were in Korea and they were asking me if Penang has anything similar.

Final question, is there tipping? especially at the hawker stands?

From the reviews I have read the Shangri-La's breakfast buffet is quite amazing, my kids are most excited about the chocolate fountain they supposedly have. We got spoiled at the Novotel in Lombok with fresh crepes every morning...

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Drink lots of young coconut juice!!! And if the opening of the coconut is too small to stick a spoon in, then ask them to cut the coconut so you can scrape out all that yummy coconut meat.

I really want some young coconut juice now.

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Hi Kristin,

No tipping, especially at hawker stands!

Even if you were to go to a casual restaurant / coffee shop-type outlet like Hock Chuan Heong, if you left them a tip, they are likely to chase after you saying you left some money behind. Personally, I leave coins behind but there is no fuss and no one generally expects a tip or a rounding-off of any sort. High-end places may impose a fixed service charge, but you shouldn't leave anything beyond that except in cases of truly exceptional service.

Your kids sound like they would love kuih dadar - a pandan-flavoured crepe wrapped around a filling of caramelised grated coconut and coconut palm sugar.

Penang is one of my favourite places to visit in all the world (assuming I don't have to drive). For the food of course, but there is also an energy and vibe about the place that is charming and maddening at the same time. I hope you have a wonderful time there and with any luck, we'll get to read some great reports from your trip! :raz:

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Kristin,

You may need to ask your family to adjust their eating times quite a bit. Penang can be uncomfortable as in warm & humid. Therefore, the night markets become a time of eating. So with your excellent hotel breakfast, if there is the possibility of resting or sightseeing in the afternoons with relatively light noshing, e.g. coconut water and flesh [plenty], safe fruit, try out the many bananas and other fruit, take a serious nap and get ready for the evening feast.

It might be asking the kids a bit too much, BUT many of the EXCELLENT NYONYA market dishes have a not insignificant amount of fat. The Japanese stomach generally has been brought up with an avoidance of fat, and quickly gets satiated. So, the keener the edge to their hunger, the better will they be able to enjoy themselves. The same food will taste ghastly between 12- 2 p.m., guaranteed when the sun and the strong light is doing a number inside your skull. In April-May, the sun “seems” to be more directly overhead in these latitudes. But come dusk, although you cannot see the colors of what you are eating, an important consideration to the very aesthetically aware Japanese palate, the air turns softer, and the whole atmosphere suddenly changes. Your appetite revives.

Take another shower [2 showers a day, 3 if need be], stroll out, purchase some Jasminum sambac garland from South Indian sellers (if they are to be found) thread them in your hair and in your daughters, and you will see how refreshing that is. Many thousands of years of experience handed down from very hot tropical regions.

BTW, if the vendor-language interface work out, please try coconuts of both red & green types and of different stages of maturity. Tell them you want very very young coconut, where the flesh is very, very soft and very thin. Taste that water. Then taste water from coconuts with NO flesh --blander. As the flesh, (endosperm really, the liquid being liquid endosperm) begins to solidify, the liquid begins to turn sweeter and take on a distinct edge that you can taste, a sharpness. You should take plenty of coconuts because they are a very significant diuretic, and in that hot climate will help keep all of you properly hydrated. In times gone by, the young coconut was used as a blood plasma substitute. Being sterile, it was straight from the coconut into the vein! So it is the ideal GATORADE!

Another fruit to watch out for are the numerous species of MANGO, in adition to the Mangifera indica. You are entering a center of diversity for that genus with over 35 species known a harvested. Artocarpus lakoocha, is another very interesting fruit related to the Jackfruit, that is intriguing, tasty and will not upset stomachs. Here is a site where Julia F. Morton’s masterpiece, Fruits of the Warm Climates is made available online:

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/index.html

The children can make this a project, to study about and identify all the exciting new fruit they are going to see and eat!

Be sure to sample a little of ALL the different cuisines jostling in the Penang Night Market: Nyonya, other Chinese, South Indian Muslim, South Indian including vegetarian, Malay et al. Our friend Teepee, of course, is a huge expert about Penang, and I guess she has already weighed in with her choices!!

Wishing all of you a very safe and happy holiday.

Gautam.

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A little too late, and something that you may already have found, but others may like:

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I can't thank everyone enough for all the information, the trip was planned so suddenly that I really didn't have time to do much research.

We are back now and I miss Penang already! It was such an incredible trip, the island is beautiful and the people so wonderful. Though the hotel was fabulous we were a little out of the way and thus limited in food choices. Except for one lunch at KFC (which was quite good by the way!) we ate all our lunch and dinners at either hawker centers or local restaurants. We had dinner every night at Long Beach Cafe hawker center just a couple minutes walk from our hotel and then enjoyed the night market afterwards.

We arrived at 9am and since we were too early to check in we arranged for a private driver to give us a tour of part of the island. One of the places we stopped at was the Tropical Fruit Farm, the entrance fee included a small group walking tour (just 10 of us) of the farm. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and would pluck fruit right from the tree and cut it up for us to sample, the kids really loved the peel of bark from the cinnamon tree. After the tour we were led to small fruit buffet for an all you can eat feast of tropical fruits from the farm (this was also included in the entrance fee).

the buffet

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my first dish

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One of my favorite foods was what I believe was called a rose apple.

Our private driver was also quite informative about local fruits and pointed out all the different trees as we drove past. I was amazed by the number of avocado trees and was shocked when my driver told me most Malaysians just let the fruit rot on the tree and rarely eat it.

When we drove past one tree loaded with low hanging fruit he stopped for us to pick some.

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They were quite hard but by the last day of our trip they were perfect! We enjoyed them (about 2 apiece) poolside after ordering a dish of samosas and spring rolls. We had to order something as we had already checked out and had no access to the cutlery needed to eat them... :biggrin:

(the sweet chili sauce also tasted great with them)

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Some dishes from the Long Beach Cafe hawker center in Batu Feringgi (not sure of the actual spelling as I have seen it spelled a couple different ways).

This satay was on our table almost every night!

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There were quite a few Indian vendors, the kids really like the tandoori chicken from this one. He had numerous curries and just as many side dishes to choose from, everything was quite good.

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I loved the pineapple and cucumber salad so much that I often ordered just that!

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The kids and the tandoori chicken

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Tom yam fried rice and pineapple fried rice (the tom yam one blew me away, I am going to try this one at home!)

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A sizzling noodle dish, also fabulous

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popiah spring rolls, these were another incredible dish that we had almost every night

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two more favorites Char kway teow and o chien oyster omelette, the kids were fighting over the last oysters!

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The grilled fish stand had some great offerings and eventhough it was by far the most expensive stand it was worth the price. Grilled sea bass

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the black pepper crab was Hide's favorite dish and we had this and the chili crab a couple times

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Some views of the center itself

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There were also a couple small hawker areas just off the beach, I only had my camera one day though.

The chicken and rice was great!

gallery_6134_6626_54695.jpg

Singapore noodles

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This place also had the best watermelon juice!

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Kristin,

Thank you for sharing these lovely pictures. Your son sipping from a glass of fruit drink was priceless. be sure to preserve that one, and frame it to be handed to him on his wedding day in full public view!! That would be something!!

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my first dish

gallery_6134_6626_35104.jpg

One of my favorite foods was what I believe was called a rose apple.

What's the fruit at the bottom right-hand corner? Looks like some kind of custard apple-like fruit.

Did they have any mangosteen? Or star apples?

The rose apple is the one on the far left about the middle of the plate, right? In front of the banana, with shiny bright pink skin?

I think I need to go to Penang, just to eat fruit! I really miss being able to eat lots and lots of fruit. :sad:

And I agree, KFC in Malaysia is really good!


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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my first dish

gallery_6134_6626_35104.jpg

One of my favorite foods was what I believe was called a rose apple.

What's the fruit at the bottom right-hand corner? Looks like some kind of custard apple-like fruit.

Did they have any mangosteen? Or star apples?

The rose apple is the one on the far left about the middle of the plate, right? In front of the banana, with shiny bright pink skin?

I think I need to go to Penang, just to eat fruit! I really miss being able to eat lots and lots of fruit. :sad:

And I agree, KFC in Malaysia is really good!

I wish I had taken notes! I think the rose apple is the one in front of the jack fruit and I'm not sure the one in the bottom right is, anyone?

No mangosteens at the time and I'm not sure what a star apple is.

The guide said this was actually in between the main fruit seasons and if we had come a month or two later we could have had quite a bit more.

The banana was quite good but it was the first time I have ever had a banana with seeds! It was really hard to eat.

I didn't want to go on too much about KFC but it was really good! I loved the chili sauce for dipping and the girls had this really good quesadilla like dish.

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I wish I had taken notes! I think the rose apple is the one in front of the jack fruit and I'm not sure the one in the bottom right is, anyone?

Is the jackfruit the one in front of the lime-like fruit and to the left of the pink dragon fruit?

If it is, the fruit immediately in front of it (white but with a pinkish tinge to the outer part) is star apple. The rose apple is the one that's kind of bell-shaped that's got white flesh and pink/fuschia skin. Star apples are one of my mother's favourite fruits, and we scoured the markets in Siem Reap looking for them (they kind of look like passion fruit, so we sometimes got confused between the two).

May is a good time for tropical fruits, but not a good time for weather unless you like hot and humid! That's my dilemma. I love tropical fruits, but I hate hot and humid weather!

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5 o'clock = Annona cherimola, cherimoya?? or likely the more tropical Sugar Apple, A. squamosa

2 o' clock = white & pink cactus fruit, pitahaya roja y blanca, dragon fruit, Hylocereus undatus

1 o' çlock = ?

11 o' clock= Averrhoa carambola, star fruit

9 o'clock = Syzygium malaccense, Malay rose-apple, chomphu merah

Banana, Papaya? pineapple? certainly jackfruit, a citrus like sweet lime, white wedges of coconut? other things I cannot make out or identify.

In the US, Star Apple has become the common name for Chrysophyllum cainito L., a fruit from the SAPOTA family, from which chewing gum is made. Like the sapota, its flesh too is dark brown.

Syzygium samarangense is another tropical "jambu" also introduced into the Philippines, sometimes called the Java apple, with a rosy skin and white flesh. Is this Rona's star apple? But you say looks like a passion fruit, i.e. gnarly brown, and is white & pinkish inside? Cannot recall any fitting that description.


Edited by v. gautam (log)

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In the US, Star Apple has become the common name for Chrysophyllum cainito L., a fruit from the SAPOTA family, from which chewing gum is made. Like the sapota, its flesh too is dark brown.

Is that the same as sapodilla? They're called chico in the Philippines, I think. Oops. I just looked up Chrysophyllum cainito L. and that's the star fruit I know. But I thought the flesh was white. When we bought them, the skin was still more green than purple, so perhaps that's why the flesh was more white?

Syzygium samarangense is another tropical "jambu" also introduced into the Philippines, sometimes called the Java apple, with a rosy skin and white flesh. Is this Rona's star apple? But you say looks like a passion fruit, i.e. gnarly brown, and is white & pinkish inside? Cannot recall any fitting that description.

The syzygium samarangense is what I know as rose apple.

It's the star apple which looks like passion fruit. When we were looking for star apples, we found the passion fruits looked very similar, at least on the exterior. The interiors of course were very different.

This is what the star apples we found looked like http://tropilab.com/chrysop-cai.html

and the passion fruits looked like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passiflora_edulis , especially the picture at the bottom subtitled `purple passion fruits for sale`.

All those pictures of delicious tropical fruits made be go looking for mangos today. In Tokyo I got 2 Thai mangos for Y498 and 3 Filipino mangos for the same price. Today I found just 1 Thai for Y498 and 1 Filipino for Y450!!!! The same varieties, too!

Oh well, I`ll just have to live vicariously through torakris`pictures.

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sweet memories! was there in 2001 but unfortunately didn't know about foodtography then. i remember enjoying hokkien noodle soup by the roadside. certain areas of town look just like a film set ['In the mood for love' to be precise]. loved it!

i think the citrus is kalamansi lime. Syzygium malaccense is really nice with a crushed chili salt mixture. really.

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Achras sapota, sapote, sapota, sapodilla, chico, chikoo: very well liked in the tropics, Phil. India [buzillion varieties swooned over, people e.g. me even enchanted by various tree forms; so miss our tree], Latin America.

Sorry for double post. Not sure how it happened or how to remove.

But regarding the chili-salt idea above, crush Thai-type green chili with coarse sea salt in mortar until dry paste or crumble; i.e. crush the chilies first, then crush in the huge edition of coarse salt crystals.

Freshly (harvested) peanuts roasted in their shells in hot sand, eaten while still very warm; and this chili salt redolent of fresh pepper: one of life's simpler yet sublime pleasures, missing from more advanced societies.


Edited by v. gautam (log)

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I am lost when it comes to tropical fruit, so I will just go with whatever you guys say... :biggrin:

Rona, today at a local supermarket I found the most beautiful Mexican mangos and they were huge, for only 198 yen a piece! There was a sign above them telling customers there was no problem with produce from Mexico transmitting Influenza A and I have a reason that is why they were so cheap, they normally sell for 498 yen a piece!

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