Alternative Food Stops in Penang
What would Penang be without its’ arts and salivating local delicacies? Famous for it’s assam laksa and pasembur, Penang definitely is a food haven for anyone with an empty tummy to fill. It was no different for us when we arrived in Penang. We checked in immediately and straight away headed out for lunch before going about town. Since we planned on uncovering the street arts in George Town, we however planned very little on where to eat in Penang. I did ask my friends as well as my colleague, Ivan who was a local here. He rattled off a few ‘hipster’ places in town which I quickly jotted down in my green notebook. However, that list went out the door as soon as we got to town. Here is a list of food places we explored thanks to our friends living in Penang, visiting Penang and which we discovered ourselves.
Ivan had recommended to me this popular place called China House in George Town which consists of three heritage buildings connected with an open courtyard and various spaces such as cafe, bakery, restaurants, galleries as well as a multi-purpose performance theatre. This interesting venue can be entered from the front and rear entrance leading to all the spaces within. We entered from the front door, into the Canteen + Bar area and walked through the Courtyard Cafe & Burger Bar, into the Kopi C. Espresso which is next door to the BTB + Restaurant. Just in front of the coffee place is the Beach St. Bakery with oodles of bread and its’ delicious aroma. Upstairs was where one of the photography exhibition was held together with 14 Chairs, art spaces, artists’s dorm and loft area. It was like a one stop art+food+coffee+and everything else centre. We loved the cool art vibes as well.
I was introduced to Barts’ friend, Diena and she took us to this quirky spot at the corner of Muntri Street and Love Lane called Behind 50. It is a bright yellow cafe located at one of the hidden lorongs in Penang. Baskets lined the ceiling, blending like a chameleon with the wooden truss and fan. There weren’t that many tables yet we managed to find a seat on the long wooden bar table with tall chairs. My feet dangled as we sat while my fingers flipped through the menu. Behind 50 recently adopted the ‘suspended coffee’ programme where donations given by the patrons go towards providing a hot beverage for the underprivileged and the homeless. They have also sold their pastas for half its original price as the money goes towards feeding the poor and the homeless. We ordered pasta and skipped on the peanut butter smoothie for the next trip here. We certainly loved the laid back atmosphere and the food here.
Where else can you find the world class naan bread and claypot briyani except in Restoran Kapitan. With a branding so prominent like that, we had to give it a try! It was a scorching hot day on Kapitan road but I decided to order the chicken claypot briyani anyways and gave it a go. Although the claypot wasn’t ceramic, the concept of eating it in small pot was a different experience. Try to avoid peak hours though as the staff tend to forget about you after awhile and you’ll have to keep on calling them to the table for orders. If you’re truly hungry like us, I would recommend you give it a go but if you’re slightly patient, there are a few more restaurants in the area which you can explore too.
Sri Ananda Restaurant
This restaurant was decided upon after reading it on Dian’s Instagram. She was in Penang a few days earlier than us and had met up with Anis before our arrival. I had been trailing her Penang photos which made me eager and a little impatient. All those food photos would definitely make an empty stomache like mine go crazy! That is why as soon as we got into George Town we headed straight to Little India in search of Sri Ananda Restaurant. The reason for this was the Manchurian boneless fish with all the right spices and ingredients. The photo did not do justice as the dish turned out to be extremely good! The taste reminded me of my mum’s home cooked meal of sweet and sour dish with a little spice. I would recommend having this together with banana leaf rice and a other side dishes.
This cafe is located in the new WhiteAways Arcade, a two storey colonial building on Beach Street which hosts arts & performance spaces with a heritage appeal. Tucked in the mid area of the building, we decided to stop for coffee and cake before we hit the road. Entering the cafe, one might mistaken it for Starbucks but upon reading the menu on the board and glancing into the dessert casing, this place definitely had a different appeal to it. We ordered the Hokkaido mille crepe and chocolate mille crepe to go with the hot cappucino. I could taste the flavours in each layer of the mille crepe and it was just so good. No wonder people go crazy over them in Kuala Lumpur.
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.