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Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Penang, Malaysia

Where To Eat In Penang

During our stay in Penang, we have visited a number of places to eat. I find it so hard to choose the restaurants to eat at despite the number of alternative blogs, Tripadvisor and Penang websites that I thought maybe you guys do to and the last thing you want to do on your holiday of 5 days is to sit around researching where to eat. So here is a list of the places we ate and you can decide for yourself, which places you think you will enjoy the most. 

Tree Monkey

Nestled in the quiet of the Tropical Spice Garden sits this treasured gem. A Thai restaurant with a huge wooden verandah with tables overlooking the jungle and trees parted just so for glimpses of the ocean. The ambience and beauty of this place is worth the price alone, but then they bring out unbelievable Thai food as well.

Dinner set us back about $50 for 3 adults and 2 kids – Pineapple fried rice, green curry, sweet & sour chicken, mixed vegetables, steamed rice and 6 drinks.

I highly recommend a visit for something special, we celebrated my Mum's last night in Penang. We also have eaten here for lunch, dinner and tapas. Anytime of the day it is beautiful, in the noon sun and to witness the sunsetting over the ocean. Combine with a walk through the garden. Bring your mossie repellent!

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Ferringhi Garden Restaurant

Next door to this adorable restaurant is a quaint little coffee shop of the same name. It is nestled into absolute greenery and sophistication. The toilets are spotless, the coffee is grand and the hot chocolate the best I have ever had. They do an amazing pastry platter, tasty wraps for lunch and we have also been for breakfast where they do delicious eggs benedict. There’s no bacon, but you will get by.

Not cheap Penang prices as expected from the spotless and delightful surroundings, but still reasonable. You will feel whisked away with the beautiful surroundings and delightful staff. My daughter always manages a free bowl of chips from the chef when here.

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Golden Bay Sands - Garden Cafe

We had the buffet lunch here on a Sunday afternoon. The place was filled with holidaying Asians, which may be due to the long weekend or it's just a popular spot for neighbouring countries. 

The array of food was long and luxurious. They had a salad bar, an Asian section, a roast section, pasta section, crepes, cakes, kids chips and nuggets, ice-cream, fruit, laksa station, mee goreng, etc. Some food was sitting there warm in its silver trays, other foods were prepared on the spot. Delicious!

It was $30 for 2 adults and 3 drinks. Kids under 6 are free. Included in this price is free entry to Adventure Zone, their kid’s club indoor slide playground. Simply show the receipt before 4pm. 

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Long Beach

Hawker’s Food Court. This place is fantastic. You choose a table and a guy will come over and take your drink order. Take note of your table number and then visit any of the 15+ stalls to order food. Give them the table number and go sit down. The drinks and food will be brought to the table where you pay each individual vendor. Get food from one, from 5, or from all of them.

The prices are so affordable with most meals under $3-$4. Our favourites would be the spring rolls on the right hand side: crispy and delicious, giant! The Indian on the right hand side is also delicious; I love the naan bread with 30 cent dhal. At the back is a great sausage and mash place for the kids and near to that is a yummy hot plate chicken, crispy noodles and vegetables. On the left hand side is a delicious satay store, fabulous roti desserts, tantalising Chinese. And at the front my husband frequents the pancake stand and I hear the kebabs are also deliciouso.

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Gusto Cafe

A Western restaurant serving real bacon. Yes bacon! Bacon hamburgers, bacon and eggs, bacon, bacon, bacon. It's a tiny place fitting only about 7 tables and if you go Saturday morning you will not find a seat. 4 months opened, the Owner Jason is in awe at it's popularity and it's growth. Jason loves to chat. With only one other table filled during our late lunch at 2:30pm (before 3pm closing) Jason cooked our meals and then sat down to chat with us. A previous teacher he is now enjoying running his own cafe. Tucked behind Sri Ananda and slightly up the hill next to the petrol station. Burgers ranged from $2.50 - $6.00. Total meal of 3 smoothies and 2 burger & fries = $17. The smoothies were delicious and the burgers were real juicy. Highly recommend! Only open for breakfast and lunch.

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Delicious

You know what I am going to say about Delicious, aren't you? It's delicious. Beautiful British food with a touch of Malaysian flair. The place is located at Straights Quay on the water and is rather debonair, luxuriously simple. I got a lamb shank pie, which was terrfic, Josh got a juicy burger (no bacon) followed by the most amazing desserts. If you don't go for lunch, just stop by for coffee and cake, because they have a range that will make you salivate. Bill was $37 for 2 smoothies, lamb shank pie, hamburger and fries, pavlova & pineapple cheesecake.

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Georgetown New World Park

Similar to Long Beach is a food court in Georgetown. It use to be an old amusement park that didn’t do so well and is now a food court with intoxicating smells that starts the drool. Our favourite – the Teppanyaki is the best I’ve ever had and it's only 9MYR (AUD$3). She knows our order by heart.

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Sri Ananda Bahwan

This little Indian restaurant has made quite a name for itself. As you drive from Batu Ferringhi towards Tesco it is on the right hand side, before you hit Tesco in Tanjung Bungah. If you have hit Tesco you have gone too far. Deceptive form the front, it actually is quite large and goes quite far back. The Indian food is very reasonably priced, no more than $3-$4 and it is some of the best you will find. Creamy butter chicken, saucy lamb korma, naan and rice to die for. They also do delivery, but it takes awhile as they are so busy, better just to rock up and get takeaway.

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BBQ Nights

This little place sits on the beach, before Tarbush and the Pirate Ship, Batu Ferringhi. There is a car park for parking. Be aware parking in the higher level will incur a parking fee of $1.50. But if you park in the lower level right outside the restaurant it is free. The parking guy will try to get you to park in the higher section.

We have been to this restaurant so many times. They do a great job of large groups or small ones. The food is average, nothing to rave about or complain about, but the location is magical. It sits right on the beach so the kids can play in the sand and the adults can get some nice, quiet tea time. The sunset is gorgeous, there is horse rides (20MYR) right out the front and parasailing or jet skiing. While we were there, a cross lab had had puppies so we visited every week to play with them and watch them grow, the gorgeous little pups.

The pizza is good, the lasagne is not. The salad is good, the burgers are not. The Indian is good, the mixed grill is not. It’s a hit and miss I am afraid, but the kids will love it!

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The Ship

In Batu Ferringhi beside Tarbush is a large pirate ship. This place is quite entertaining for the kids and a lovely set up. They serve a great steak for about $12. Not Penang prices, but still better then a $40 Australian steak.

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Golden Thai Seafood Restaurant

This place is huge. It also sits on the beach in Batu Ferringhi. The entry is lined with aquariums housing anything from giant gropers, small snappers, spider crabs, lobsters, etc.

While we don’t eat seafood we enjoyed the beach seating, where the kid’s played and we ate. We ordered a honey chicken, fried rice and pandan chicken. The honey chicken was not great, but the pandan chicken was soft and moist.

The thing about this restaurant is at the beginning they brought out some type of beans to munch on and 4 wet hand towels to refresh your face. Both of these were added onto the bill at the end, cheeky little buggers.

Perhaps they do seafood better then the chicken, cause other then the atmosphere and views the food was nothing to rave about.

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TBowl

A Japanese themed concept restaurant based on anything bathroom, located in Queensbay Mall. Toilet seats, sinks for tables, shower heads on walls. The food comes out in ceramic toilets and Mia’s brown soft serve ice-cream with some syrup liquid dribbled over it looked every bit the disgusting toilet results.

The meals were not too bad, but nothing to rave about it either. The experience though had my little girl in hysterics, especially when she found a soft toy poo, which she proceeded to explore the restaurant with during our time there. Average prices, not expensive, not cheap.

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Enca

A little way past the Hard Rock Hotel is an uninviting place called Enca. While its frontage is a busy street and its tablecloths have holes, its food is incredible. Delicious pasta, soup, yummy Indian and a good salad – all at very low prices. Have been several times and can recommend.

Lebanon

Across the road from BBQ Nights in Batu Ferringhi is Lebanon. A middle-eastern / Arabic specialist restaurant, although they do plenty of other food as well. The hummus, kebabs, olives, fetta were all delicious. The price for 2 adults and 2 kids was about $50 so it's not cheap, but we enjoyed the food. If you haven't tried this type of cuisine then Lebanon will do it right for you.

Road food stalls

Along the road opposite KFC in Batu Ferringhi is some food stalls. Give the fried banana and sweet potato a try for a snack, as well as some yummy packaged fruit.

Gurney

At the Gurney shopping mall there is a number of restaurants to tickle your tastebuds. A few we tried:

Chilli’s – Very American. Huge servings with free flow soft drinks. A bit pricey compared to the hawkers markets.

Pancake House – Great breakfast, delicious pancakes, quite pricey. 

Chicago Ribs – Another American restaurant with kids eating free. The ribs were fabulous, the wedge salad a whole lettuce head! Similar pricing to Chilli’s.

Mr Teppanyaki - Not as great as the one at Georgetown, but a neat little place in the food court at the bottom of Gurney Plaza. They also do a yummy Katsu Chicken bento set, which i've really missed since Australia as all the sushi over here is with raw fish - eek! 

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Roti Canai - Oppostite the floating mosque (not in Gurney), up the hill and to the right is a local eatery where the hygiene is low, but the spirits are high. In front of the drink stand is a little Roti Canai shop selling roti for 20 cents. It's crisp and the dipping sauce is delicious. Below you can see that Mia was not so sure. 

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What are your picks?

If you enjoy reading about food and want to see all the accompanying pictures, we have a whole page in our Photo Journal. Go have a browse and dream of what you will be eating on your visit to Penang

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Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Bethaney - Flashpacker Family on
Yummo!!!! I especially loved the Indian food in Penang. Have you tried a Restoran Jaya yet? I think you'll like the roti canai.
Posted by Michele {Malaysian Meanders} on
You have some of my favorites and some I have yet to try. Tree Monkey is indeed delicious, and the cooking school is so much fun. Sri Ananda Bahwan is a regular place for my friends. I go to New World Park all the time for lunch, but I prefer Northam Beach (nice view) and Red Garden for dinner. Have you tried Tek Sen on Carnarvon Street? It has yummy Penang-style Chinese food and popular with the local crowd.
Posted by Rachel on
Mmmm. I could go for some Thai food :)
Posted by Wong Pow Long on
Wow,,... 5 day trip do able to cover a lot of food, but you did not try the hawker food that Penang is famous for. too bad. I write food blog in Penang too, May be you can check out my blog for some reference and provide some input.

Wong, BestPenangFood.com
Posted by Erin on
@Bethaney - I am on a mission to find Restoran Jaya!
@Michele - Thanks for the tips, we love Chinese food!
@Rachel - I must admit I am a Thai food fan, for sure.
@Wong - I have tried several hawker foods in Penang, but haven't been a fan, unfortunately. Thus I prefer to speak on the stuff we have loved. We are staying in Penang for 2 months, not 5 days. My blog is more for those people who only have 5 days to holiday :) I don't eat seafood, so can you recommend some hawker food that is good to eat?
Posted by Erin on
P..S Rachel - Did you read the food we had in Thailand: http://travelwithbender.com/travel-blog/bangkok/thailand-s-delectable-delicacies/
Or you can just drool over the photos :) - http://travelwithbender.com//index.php?cID=421
Posted by Michele @ Malaysian Meanders on
Both Northam Beach and Red Garden are dinner hawker centers with both local and Western foods. Northam Beach is on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah There's a traffic light at the Northam Hotel after where Kelawai and Gurney merge leading to Georgetown. Immediately after the light, turn left into the car park for Northam Beach.
Posted by behan - sailingtotem.com on
Wow, we love to eat, this is a huge leg up on our planning to get the most from our time in Penang! Here in Malaysia I'm usually a big hawker stall fan, you'll help me branch out. Thanks Erin!
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