Bali Hai 90A-90D, Persiaran Gurney (04 228 1272/www.balihaiseafood.com).
Short of whales and sharks, Bali Hai pretty much lives up to its motto of ‘if it swims, we have it’. Expect to see rows of tanks housing a plethora of live seafood. Here, the focus isn’t on virtuoso culinary extravagance, but rather on the freshness of the seafood. It’s no high-brow place, but the kitschiness of the neon lighting and decor has come to be tolerated and expected of seafood restaurants. In the morning, it also operates as a dim sum eatery.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Free parking. $$$$
DeHappy Seafood Restaurant 62 Jalan Macalister (04 227 7809).
DeHappy is aptly labelled a seafood restaurant, given that it serves a range of fish, clams, prawns and lobsters. What makes it special, however, is that it stays open until five in the morning, which means that if you’re suffering from a combination of persistent insomnia and a growling belly, this is a valid alternative to the mamaks. From midnight to before sunrise, the restaurant serves Teochew-style porridge with various choices of toppings – salted eggs, braised pork, Chinese sausages and so on.
Child friendly. Daily, 10am–3am. $
East Hokkaido Seafood Restaurant 20C Jalan Bagan Jermal (04 228 8979).
The Japanese reference in the name aside, East Hokkaido Seafood Restaurant is a very typical Chinese restaurant serving diverse variations of crabs, prawns and the like, but its menu is not limited to just seafood. Besides its signature cheese crabs, steamed freshwater patin fish and salted egg mantis prawns, you should also try the fried pigeons. Plus, there are private rooms with karaoke facilities.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards accepted (over RM 50). Free parking. Daily, 12noon–3pm & 6pm–11pm. $$$
Pang Hainan Seafood 501 K&L, Jalan Tanjung Bungah (04 899 4863/www. penangseafoodrestaurant.com).
It’s a puzzler that the previous restaurants occupying Pang Hainan’s location have failed to thrive, despite the fact that it’s right next to a busy road, and it’s highly accessible. Pang Hainan, however, seems to be here to stay. It’s often crowded and depending on the season and the catch, the crabs, lobsters and prawns served at Pang Hainan Seafood can be very succulent and fleshy. Most patrons order the choon piah (spring rolls), the sweet and sour crab and the cheese lobster; although the seafood is extremely fresh, the cooking has been said to be lacklustre at times.
Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Disabled friendly. Free parking. Tue–Sun, 12noon–2.30pm & 6pm– 10.30pm. $$$
Tai Tong Seafood 4 Jalan Hassan Abas (04 885 1693).
By day, Tai Tong Seafood is a dim sum eatery; by night, it’s an acclaimed seafood restaurant. For the visitors and locals looking for the kind of restaurant that gives credence to Penang’s title as a food paradise, Tai Tong can do just that. It’s far off the beaten track for tourists, so you can expect authentic seafood, although it might also involve a long detour if you’re not from the Teluk Bahang area. If you decide to make the journey there, be sure to make it worthwhile by ordering the signature cheese-baked oysters, Thai-style mixed vegetables and the bamboo shellfish.
Pork-free. Child friendly. Disabled friendly. $$
Southeast Asian Thai Aroy Chang Moo Kata Thai Restaurant 22 Lorong Burma (010 379 9852).
With a Thai chef from Chiang Mai at the helm, Aroy Chang Moo Kata’s menu is a list of authentic Thai food at reasonable prices. Some of the more notable dishes include the cha om omelette, the tamarind prawns in basil and the tom yam nam sai (clear seafood tom yam).
Tue–Sun, 11am–2.30pm, 6pm–11pm. $$$
Golden Thai Seafood Village 69A Jalan Batu Ferringghi (04 881 1362/www.goldenthai.com.my).
Dining at Golden Thai is a surreal experience, with faux waterfalls illuminated by neon lights cascading with a strange sort of kitschy charm. Golden Thai is visually enthralling, nonetheless; it overlooks the Penang Northern channel and boasts some famous people amongst its clientele. There are nightly performances (less provocative versions of Thailand’s cabaret shows and live performances) to enjoy while you feast on the various types of seafood netted straight from the tanks that line the side of the restaurant.
Pork-free. Daily, 11am–12midnight. $$$
Malabar dine+chill 26 & 28 Lebuh Cintra (04 263 8266/ www.malabar.net.my).
Malabar is both a restaurant and an inn. The restaurant serves Thai food with Nyonya influences, as is evident in its bestsellers, the steamed pumpkin with coconut milk custard, the Malabar belanda eggs, the assam pedas ikan and the otak-otak. The restaurant is decorated in a classic black-andwhite chic colour scheme, exuding an especially comfortable aura when the light pours in through the windows.
Daily, 11am–10pm. $$
Sukhothai Beef Noodles House 5.02 & 03, Gurney Paragon, Persiaran Gurney, George Town (04 218 9141).
This little Thai restaurant was previously located on Jalan Burmah, where it gained a strong reputation for its house speciality: Thai beef noodles with chunky beef pieces in an aromatic soup base. Like many other famous Penang eateries, it decided to make the move to Gurney Paragon. All the food is freshly prepared by the owner’s Thai wife, and as a result the dishes are delicious and authentic. All-day sets include house specialities like the aforementioned beef noodles, pork noodles and kao kha moo (pork cooked in vinegar and served with rice). The à la carte menu includes all the Thai favourites such as tom yam, pad thai and glass noodle salad; it also features a large range of desserts such as sticky rice with the world-famous durian fruit for aficionados or the adventurous.
Child friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 11am–10pm. $$