A typical day of eating in George Town, Malaysia, might go like this: Start with the Malay breakfast staple of nasi lemak and a cup of sweet, frothy “pulled” tea. Lunch might be a southern Indian thali or, if you’re keeping it light, a bowl of asam laksa, a noodle dish that blends Malay and Chinese ingredients and flavors. Dinner could mean a visit to a street stall for oh chien, Chinese-style oyster omelet, or char kway teow, the city’s famous fried noodle dish. And for dessert? Stop into a modern cafe for some of the world’s best ice cream — highlighting, of course, Malaysian ingredients.
Nowhere else in Asia is it possible to flit between cuisines so effortlessly. Geography and history have left the Malaysian state of Penang with a unique culinary footprint, one that spans Malay, Chinese and Indian ingredients and techniques. And with its UNESCO-recognized historical core, George Town’s shophouses, Chinese and Hindu temples, mosques, and churches serve as a fitting photogenic backdrop to the menu.
Editor’s Note: Eater is not updating international maps at this time given disruptions to global travel during the COVID-19 crisis.
Prices per person, excluding alcohol:
$ = Less than 21 Malaysian ringgit (Less than $5 USD)
$$ = 25 - 42 Malaysian ringgit ($6 - $10 USD)
$$$ = 46 - 84 Malaysian ringgit ($11 - $20 USD)
$$$$ = More than 84 Malaysian ringgit ($20 USD and up)
Austin Bush is a food and travel writer and photographer who has lived in Bangkok, Thailand, for the last 20 years. He’s contributed to more than 30 titles for Lonely Planet, and his latest book, The Food of Northern Thailand, was a finalist for a James Beard Award.Read More