The island of Penang is truly for the gourmet, with a taste sensation for every connoisseur. Here, the adventurous eater can sample the distinctly different cuisine of Malays, Chinese and Indians.
It will truly be a gastronomic crime if one did not sample the local fare while in Penang. Hawkers (open air stalls) are in abundance everywhere, and offer a great variety of food that one could stay for two weeks and still not be able to savour every dish available.
NASI LEMAK A Malay fare of rice cooked in coconut milk, with an assortment of curries and sambals (chilli dishes).
SATAY Sticks of barbecued chicken, mutton or beef pieces served with spicy peanut sauce and slices of cucumber and onions.
LAKSA A Penang specialty, that consists of noodles in a spicy sour soup. The dish is garnished with cucumber, lettuce, pineapple and onions.
CHAR KOAY TEOW A perennial favourite with locals and tourists alike. Flat white noodles are fried together with shrimps, bean sprouts and clams.
LOK LOK A Chinese fondue. Skewers of meat and seafood which cooks in boiling water at the table, and eaten with a rich peanut sauce.
CURRY MEE Blanched noodles (mee) served in a curry soup topped with clams, shrimps, bean sprouts and dried bean cake.
POPIAH Spring rolls consisting of sliced turnip, bean sprouts, prawn paste and chilli sauce.
GADO GADO Malaysian salad of boiled vegetables, served with sauce made from roasted peanuts, coconut milk, shrimp paste, chillies and spices.
CURRY KAPITAN A Nonya dish of chicken cooked with onions, chillies, ginger, coconut oil, sugar and lemon juice. Served with steamed rice.
HOKKIEN MEE Noodles served in a prawn soup, with bean sprouts, prawns and pork ribs.
NASI KANDAR Served by Indian Muslims, consists of rice with a variety of curries.
KERABU A Nonya salad dish of chopped prawns, chicken, onions, ginger flowers, spices and vinegar.
CHICKEN RICE Another great favourite, it consists of rice cooked in chicken stock and served with pieces of tender chicken either boiled or roasted.
MURTABAK An Indian Muslim style pizza, filled with minced meat, eggs, and onions, fried over a hot plate and served with a curry gravy.
DIM SUM Chinese tit-bits popular at any time of the day, especially for breakfast. It consists of bite-sized dumplings of meat, seafood and vegetables.
YONG TAU FOO Stuffed bean curd, vegetables, fish balls and other foods served in soup, with a sweet sauce.
A great variety of the freshest seafood is available in Penang, with a choice of fish, lobster, crab, squid or prawns prepared practically in every known way, from creamy continental to spice local and sweet sour Chinese styles.
FRUITS in Penang are available throughout the year, and the varieties are endless. Apart from the perennial pineapple, papaya and banana, some of the other more popular fruits include the durian, which locals regard as the 'King of Fruit'; the red skinned rambutan, whose name is derived from the Malay word 'rambut' which means 'hair'; the sweet mangosteen; the very fragrant mango; the little 'langsat'; and the 'cempedak'.
ICE KACHANG is a mixture of sweet red beans, jelly and corn, heaped over by shaved ice with coloured syrup and a dash of evaporated milk.
BUBUR CHA CHA A sweet soupy dessert of sweet potato, yam, tapioca jelly and coconut milk.
CENDOL Screwpine flavoured gelatine noodles served cold with shaved ice in palm sugar syrup and coconut milk.
TEH TARIK is a unique way of preparing tea (teh) seen mainly at Indian or Mamak tea stalls. The tea (mixed with sugar, condensed milk and sometimes ginger) is propelled from one container to another in a continuous stream by the seller, who requires an incredible amount of coordination to do this successfully. By flinging the hot tea back and forth in this way, it cools the drink and creates a pleasant frothy mixture.
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