Heritage on a Plate

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Penang Food

Penang Food Tour Tips: 3 Must Know Tips For Your Food Tour In George Town

Food Tour, Penang FoodHeritage on a PlateComment

Hello, everyone! Penang food is a big reason people visit the island. A food tour in George Town can help you get the most from your trip and show you some of the rich history and culture of this World Heritage site. Here’s a few common questions we get on our tour and tips to help you prepare!

How do I get around George Town?

We prefer walking in the core heritage site of George Town (hence why we do a walking tour). This gives you a better vantage of the details of the city, from it’s colonial mansions to its everyday traditions and delicious food. The city has pedestrian walkways but many of them are damaged and/or not wheelchair accessible, so you might be walking on the roads for a fair bit. However, the traffic here is less daunting than most other Southeast Asian cities.

You can also take the RapidPenang bus (the schedules are up on the website) as well as the local rideshare option, Grab. We’ll be honest, George Town has a bit of a traffic problem. With a high density of road traffic, it is best to plan your travel during non-peak hours. If you have to travel during peak hours (7.30am - 9.30am/4.30pm - 7.30pm) it’s best to allocate some extra time for your transit.

Walking is how you find gems like this. Picture by J.

Walking is how you find gems like this. Picture by J.

What should I wear to the tour?

We’re going to be walking quite a bit so comfortable shoes are advised. We prefer shoes over flip flops simply because they provide more comfort and protection, so if you’ve got a pair of walking/running shoes have them on for your tour.

Casual clothes are just fine for either the lunch or dinner tour, but do bring sunscreen if you’re doing the lunch tour. Please note that although we’re an island, swimwear is best kept for the beach rather than the city. There are no laws against wearing bikini tops or being shirtless (for men), but people will treat you as if you’re wearing a bathrobe to a cocktail party.

Please be aware that some cultural and religious landmarks will refuse access if you’re not appropriately dressed.

Should I eat before my food tour?

Yes, you should definitely eat before your tour. This sounds counter-intuitive but will actually help you get more out of your tour.

When empty for a long period, it’s easy for the stomach to fill with gas. This might cause discomfort or acid reflux once you do start eating during the tour. You might find that you actually end up eating less and feel more lethargic because you’ve missed meals.

If you’re taking our lunch tour, eat a simple but nutritious breakfast. If you’re taking the dinner tour, eat your regular lunch meal and depending on whether you’re accustomed to it, you can snack during tea time. Because of the physical nature of the walking tour, you’ll have a healthy appetite for all of the delicious food on offer during the tours.

penang food tour char koay kak heritage on a plate.jpg

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That’s all for now, folks! Let us know if you have any questions about taking tours, or anything you’d like to know that would make your food tour in Penang even better. Safe travels and good eating!

Penang Food: Try This Chinese Teochew Restaurant in George Town

Penang Food, Malaysian Food, Heritage and CultureDanny MahesComment

Hello, friends! We’re back with more delicious ideas for what to eat in Penang. Although the street food here is popular, Penang is also home to many traditional and modern restaurants serving tasty meals. So, if you’re wondering what to do on a lazy afternoon, here’s a local restaurant worth checking out:

A Teochew Style Lunch on Lebuh Melayu, George Town

If you’re wandering down Lebuh Melayu in the afternoon, you might see a pair of heavy wooden doors that look ornate and festive. Decorated with red lanterns and cloth, it seems ready to spring out at you. But tiptoe inside and the vibe is just the opposite. Cool air punctuated with fresh greenery and large splashes of sunlight fill this place. You’ve entered Chao Xuan Restaurant, a place that prides itself in its Straits Chinese identity.

Lotus Root Soup - light, nutty and perfectly punctuated with the flavour of spring onions. It made for a really great appetiser.

Lotus Root Soup - light, nutty and perfectly punctuated with the flavour of spring onions. It made for a really great appetiser.

The Straits Chinese are traders, migrants and refugees who’ve made the Straits of Malacca their home. Coming from various ethno-linguistic and geographic backgrounds in China, they’ve adopted local customs and beliefs - creating a unique and fascinating sense of shared identity. It’s important to remember that there is a vast diversity of customs, traditions and food associated with this community, and Chao Xuan is one expressions of that diversity.

This place gets mixed reviews, in large part because of their philosophy of preparing and serving Teochew-style food that is as close as possible to the style and flavours they consider authentic. Penang food can be very bold and intense, and the more subtle flavours at play here is not to everyone’s taste. But we loved it!

Braised duck - the flavour of the duck was front and centre, with the sauce providing a great accent to the taste. Eaten with the stickier rice served here, it was very satisfying (and filling!)

Braised duck - the flavour of the duck was front and centre, with the sauce providing a great accent to the taste. Eaten with the stickier rice served here, it was very satisfying (and filling!)

We ordered a simple but satisfying meal for two, but there’s lots of options to explore at this place. Their menu mostly sticks to their theme of traditional (or as close to traditional) Teochew flavours, with the occasional flourish of spicy sambal or fried snack inspired by Malay or Nyonya cooking. If you’re thinking about what to do in Penang for lunch, and you’d like a break from the flavours of local street food, this is a good place for a change of flavours. We’re very interested to visit again and try more of what they offer. And of course when we do you’ll hear about it

Tofu in soy sauce - light and flavorful, it worked very well as a snack on the side

Tofu in soy sauce - light and flavorful, it worked very well as a snack on the side

When you’re ready for more Penang street food, check out these Three Types of Penang Noodles