Discover the Flavors of Penang: A Guide to Malay Cuisine in George Town (Part 1)

George TownDining

Penang is known for its diverse and delicious street food scene. Among the many mouth-watering options available, Malay cuisine stands out as a must-try for any food lover visiting the island. From the fragrant spices and herbs used in traditional dishes to the rich cultural history behind them, Penang's Malay cuisine is a true reflection of the island's melting pot of cultures. In this article, we will take a culinary journey through some of the best Malay dishes Penang offers, highlighting their unique flavours and where to find them. Whether a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, you will want to experience the delicious and authentic taste of Penang's Malay cuisine.

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Citarasa Dadi Dada

Citarasa Dadi Dada

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Citarasa Dadi Dada

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Nasi Ikan Bawal Goreng Nani Nah

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Mee Udang Mama Ya

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Telur Dadar: Malay-style egg omelette with chilli and onions.

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Asam Boi: Iced drinks of Chinese dried plums sprinkled with tamarind powder on top

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Citarasa Dadi Dada

Citarasa Dadi Dada

Citarasa Dadi Dada

Citarasa Dadi Dada

One of the best places to enjoy a hearty, traditional Malay meal that will make you sweat is Citarasa Dadi Dada. Hidden in one of the shophouses on Lebuh Clarke, Citarasa Dadi Dada serves up a wide variety of traditional Malay food.  Although most dishes are priced above RM10, they provide excellent value for the price thanks to their large serving sizes. It's easy to drop by for a quick meal of authentic Malay cuisine.

Mee Udang Mama Ya, a popular dish, is served in a generous serving that includes prawns (obviously!). The sauce is rich and thick, even more so than typical sauces, and its tastes come through strongly. The overall flavour combination is pleasant, and it has a light spiciness. It was precisely the kind of Mee Udang you are hoping for, with plump, juicy prawns and just the right amount of spice.

Not to forget the fantastic Nasi Ikan Bawal Goreng Nani Nah. The large Pomfret was perfectly cooked, with a crisp exterior and tender.  The homemade Sambal was the main attraction because it was so spicy. The dish can cause you to break out in a sweat if you pair it with the accompanying Curry, which has a veritable avalanche of flavours.

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Contact:
+(60)11-1444 5224

Address:
No 8, Lebuh Clarke, 10050 George Town, Penang

Operating Hours:
CLOSED (Monday)
11:30 PM - 10:00 PM (Tuesday)
11:30 PM - 10:00 PM (Wednesday)
11:30 PM - 10:00 PM (Thursday)
11:30 PM - 10:00 PM (Friday)
11:30 PM - 10:00 PM (Saturday)
11:30 PM - 10:00 PM (Sunday)


Cafe Lagenda

Cafe Lagenda

Cafe Lagenda

Cafe Lagenda

Cafe Lagenda

Cafe Lagenda

Cafe Lagenda

Ayam percik madu tiga

Cafe Lagenda

Sago do re mi

Banana bakar

Authentic traditional Malay treats are hard to come by in cafes, even more so in Penang. Visit Cafe Legenda if you're stuck in George Town and are craving Malay-Indonesian cuisine. Cafe Lagend is located in one of Carnarvon Street's historic buildings. The menu is varied, from traditional Malay meals to Western fusion dishes infused with an Oriental flavour. The wait could be extended because the chef is committed to using only the freshest ingredients to ensure you experience the full flavour of his signature herbs and spices. The decor is basic but welcoming. The spacious interior and lofty ceiling contribute to a tranquil and relaxing ambience.

The go-to order at this cafe is the ayam percik madu tiga. You will fall in love with the smokey flavour of the peanut sauce-marinated grilled chicken. Turmeric rice, pickled vegetables, a salad made of bean sprouts, and crackers make up the rest of the meal.

Also highly recommended is the belalang chicken rendang The tender chicken and ulam (fresh greens like winged beans) in this dish are beautifully complemented by the rich, fragrant curry brought about by the copious use of coconut milk. To complement the warm blue rice, the congkak board of goodies features a selection of green vegetables, a spicy ingredient, a sour ingredient, and a crunchy ingredient.

Try the ayam penyet Nusantara if you're craving some crispy fried chicken. Fried chicken marinated in herbs and spices is served with blue-colored rice, clear soup flavoured with jintan (anise), fried shallots, crackers, and a beautiful congkak board of ulam.

Inspired by P. Ramlee's beloved classic Laksamana Do Re Mi, the sago do re mi consists of three scoops of sago pearls in a variety of colours, coconut cream, and fragrant palm sugar syrup. Banana bakar, grilled bananas served with freshly grated coconut, brown sugar, and a dollop of vanilla ice cream, is hands-down our favourite sweet treat. The harmony of tastes and textures is brilliant in its simplicity. Savour these as the final course of your delicious meal.

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Contact:
+(60)4-251 9300

Address:
2, Lebuh Carnarvon, 10100 George Town, Penang

Operating Hours:
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Monday)
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Tuesday)
CLOSED (Wednesday)
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Thursday)
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Friday)
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM (Saturday)
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Sunday)


Kesum Art Restaurant

Kesum Art Restaurant

Kesum Art Restaurant

Kesum Art Restaurant

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Kesum Art Restaurant

Kesum Art Restaurant

Kesum Art Restaurant

Kesum Art Restaurant

Kesum Art Restaurant

Kesum Art Restaurant

Kesum Art Restaurant

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In the heart of George Town UNESCO World Heritage Zone and nestled at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling or formerly known as Pitt Street is Kesum Art Restaurant. Kesum brings you a selection of signature Malay cuisine from the southern peninsula such as Asam Pedas, Laksa Johor, Soto, Lontong, Sambal Goreng, Botok- botok, Satay, and many more. They have readapted this charming old prewar heritage shophouse into a relaxing ambience for you to savour their freshly home cook cuisine while mesmerising the work of our resident artists' oil paintings of heritage Penang in every seating arrangement.

Kesum Art Restaurant takes great pride in serving Laksa of Johor origin. Laksa Johor uses Spaghetti noodles, which sets it apart from Laksa made in other states. After travelling to Europe, the late Sultan Johor, Sultan Abu Bakar, gave instructions to his chefs to use spaghetti noodles in Laksa Johor.

The locals' Botok-botok is also a must-try. Botok-botok is said to have originated in Johor, but chefs claim that only a tiny percentage of Johoreans still know how to make it properly. Wrapped in edible leaves, soaked in coconut curry paste, and steamed until cooked, this dish features fresh ocean fish. Pair it with white rice and sauces to get the most out of it. While both Otak-otak and Botok-botok have similar pronunciations, the main difference is that in Botok-botok, the fish is served whole, while in Otak-otak, the fish is minced.

Do indulge at Kesum, whether for a beautiful family lunch outing, entertaining friends, or for a business meeting with private lunch.

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Contact:
+(60)4-262 5757

Address:
104, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, 10200 George Town, Penang

Operating Hours:
CLOSED (Monday)
12:00 PM - 08:30 PM (Tuesday)
12:00 PM - 08:30 PM (Wednesday)
12:00 PM - 08:30 PM (Thursday)
12:00 PM - 08:30 PM (Friday)
08:30 AM - 05:00 PM (Saturday)
08:30 AM - 05:00 PM (Sunday)


Irama Dining

Irama Dining

Irama Dining

Irama Dining

Irama Dining

Irama Dining

Tauhu Salad: A starter. It's light, fresh, simple and yet will surely tickle your taste buds

Irama Dining

Irama Dining

Irama Dining

Pulut Kepala & Ayam Pandan

In recent years, a growing number of upmarket restaurants have been offering Malay cuisine with a refined presentation and a modern spin on traditional dishes. One of those places is called Irama Dining. This restaurant is located in a charming heritage building in George Town. It serves a wide variety of traditional Malay cuisine, all of which are known and loved by the patrons. In addition, the restaurant has a contemporary atmosphere and a breathtaking rooftop view.

The dining hall at Irama features exposed wooden beams on the ceiling, lending it a cosy, country feel. The restaurant is especially lovely because of the floral tablecloths that adorn each table. The restaurant has an outdoor seating area ideal for enjoying meals in the fresh air. There is a big mural right outside the front door to greet customers as they go in. A Malay woman dressed in the traditional baju kebaya is seen in this painting. It took MāMa, a local artist, three days to complete the mural.

Ayam Pandan, marinated chicken wrapped in banana leaf, and Pulut Kelapa, glutinous rice steamed with a coating of coconut butter, are good options for the platter of appetisers. Kerang Rendang, meanwhile, is cockles cooked in coconut milk and spices.

You may serve rice with the main course and choose from a variety of curry options. Three distinct Asian salads—fiddlehead fern salad with cockles (Kerabu Pucuk Paku Kerang), four-angled beans salad with squid (Kerabu Kacang Botol Sotong), and mango salad (Kerabu Mangga)—make up the kerabu tray (green mango salad). They were all delicious, highlighting the bright flavours of seasonal local herbs and shoots.

The delicious Lamb Shank Kurma, slowly cooked in a creamy curry flavoured primarily with cumin and fennel. The shank and potatoes were a delicious combination of the two ingredients. The Smoked Duck Massaman Curry is delicious, as well. Massaman curry originates in Thailand and is known for its luxurious texture and subtle flavour. Stuffed squid is the literal translation of Sotong Sumbat. The squids were served with a black fenugreek seed sauce and were packed with glutinous rice before being cooked in a mild coconut-based curry. The chef deserves praise for coming up with yet another original dish.

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Contact:
+(60)12-622 9251

Address:
2nd Flor, 2, Lebuh Light, 10200 George Town, Penang

Operating Hours:
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Monday)
CLOSED (Tuesday)
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Wednesday)
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Thursday)
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Friday)
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM (Saturday)
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM (Sunday)


The Tamarra

The Tamarra

The Tamarra

The Tamarra

The Tamarra

The Tamarra

The Tamarra

The Tamarra

The Tamarra

The Tamarra

The Tamarra

The Tamarra is a highly acclaimed restaurant along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah that offers a unique dining experience by blending traditional Malay flavors with contemporary buffet-by-the-beach presentations. The menu at The Tamarra features a wide variety of dishes, each one carefully crafted to showcase the best of Penang's Malay cuisine.

The appetiser features a wide variety of traditional dishes, including Kerabu Kacang Botol Sotong, Kerabu Mangga, Kerabu Daging, and more. But if you want to skip the appetiser and get right to the main course, The Tamarra's Nasi Briyani Kambing is packed with big chunks of lamb meat and is sure to satisfy your craving. Begin a buffet with some tender lamb meat and a plate of Nasi Briyani.

Udang Galah Gulai Nenas, Ketam Masak Karipoole, Ikan Asam Pedas, Itik Salai Masak Lemak Cili Api, Ayam Goreng Berempoh, Fried Taiwanese Cabbage with Mushrooms, and more can be found in the Main section of the buffet. You can combine and complement these dishes with some Nasi Beringin. Udang Galah and Ketam make for a sumptuous meal served together.

Remember that all the action of the night's buffet session is happening at the beach side of The Tamarra, where the live cooking station is. The Bakar-Bakar stand sells Kambing Golek. If you're a fan of durian, you should know there's a stall selling Ais Kacang and Cendol where you can ask for durian to be added. Penang's famous Laksa and other hot soups are available if you're feeling queasy.

Social Media:
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Contact:
+(60)4-262 0982

Address:
36A, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10500 George Town, Penang

Operating Hours:
CLOSED (Monday)
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM (Tuesday)
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM (Wednesday)
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM (Thursday)
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM (Friday)
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM (Saturday)
12:00 PM - 11:00 PM (Sunday)


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Discover the Flavors of Penang: A Guide to Malay Cuisine in George Town (Part 2)