When was your first time visiting Penang and what were your first impressions?
I visited Penang for the first time in December 2014, landed at night after the rain and hitched a ride from the airport. On the way to George Town, I smelled the tropical air, there was street food on the side of the road, and it was wonderful to be in a place where life happens outside. In the first couple of weeks, I could tell George Town was special. You could be in Little India, but a couple of streets away you see Chinese heritage or classic Malay influences. This mix of cultures is like three vacations in one.
Did these impressions change over time?
In the beginning, I was seeing Penang on the surface, the beautiful buildings and cultures, but when you dig deeper, you see the flip side that short-term visitors don’t see. We need to realise that there’re negative aspects to tourism. How should I as a responsible tourist, in order to see the culture live on, conduct myself? What can I do to make sure I’m a positive factor keeping this culture intact and thriving?
What was your first film shot in Penang and what topic does it address?
One of the first things I shot was turned into a film called ‘Evicted’. I was made aware of people getting evicted from the shophouses where the old Sky Hotel was located. So I started to work with local volunteers documenting their stories. I’ve been following up with the residents and they’ve mostly moved out; some of them have even left George Town. Another film I started was about a Chinese signboard carver called Master Lee who works close to the market. He blends old Chinese signboard carving traditions with newer aesthetics. The film is called ‘The Hip Hop Signboard Carver’ and is a great example of George Town: blending cultures and making something new.
Have you found it hard getting the locals to open up to an ang moh?
From my experience travelling the world, it’s almost never difficult to get locals to open up. Sometimes the language barrier is a challenge, but I’ve discovered that most people are very excited to share their story. If you’re interested in other people – whether a cook, a Chinese signboard carver or an imam – and you express this through your body language and the questions you ask, people are interested in having a dialogue with you.
All your films are shared for free on the internet – amazing! Not to be too direct, but why?
I’ve been real lucky that in my past professional life, I was able to save a bit of money. After a while I realised that I wasn’t doing what was in my heart. So I decided to make a radical change. As a student, one of my degrees was in political science and I fell back into my old hobby of multimedia, doing interviews and short films.
With Facebook and the internet, it’s all about clicking stuff. I want to set an example that you can make great media through volunteers for free. That’s what the Oxlaey project is about. Everyone works in the project, including myself, without compensation, and we promise to give the media back with a Creative Commons licence. Basically anybody can use our pictures or videos to promote their town or for research. It’s our way of giving back to the community. How unethical would it be if I went around and got all these people to work together with me on these videos then turned around and sold them?
Pang Hainan Seafood
501 K& L, Jalan Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Bungah (+604 899 4863/+6017 452 4863/www. penangseafoodrestaurant.com). Despite Pang Hainan’s strategic location next to a busy road, the restaurants that once stood in its place failed to thrive. Pang Hainan seems to have broken the curse. The wildly popular seafood restaurant is frequented for its spring rolls, sweet and sour crab and cheese lobster dishes.
Child-friendly. Disabled-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Tue-Sun, 12noon2.30pm, 6-10.30pm. $$$
Tsunami Village Café
543-A, Jalan Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Bungah (+6012 487 2718). This local café was rebuilt and renamed following the tsunami disaster of 2004. Don’t be surprised if you see the staff nonchalantly carrying buckets full of seafood; your catch of the day comes directly from the sea. Savour the fried softshell crab, the steamed fish and the stir-fried morning glory with of fiery sambal.
Child-friendly. Tue-Sun, 6-10pm. $$$
NEW Crab & Lobster Seafood Oyster Bar
3A-G-7, Ground floor, Straits Quay Marina Mall, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong (+604 899 2828/Facebook: Crab-&-Lobster) Enjoy succulent seafood like lobster, crab, scallops, mussels and clams in their signature tomato-based sauce. Other sauces are available including black pepper, curry and garlic butter; and good portions of bread and fries to dip.
Credit cards accepted. Pork-free. MonFri, 12noon-12midnight, Sat & Sun, 11am-12midnight. $$$
B-G-02 Vantage, Jalan Desiran Tanjung, Tanjung Tokong (+6012 456 7775/www.facebook.com/ QuayPot).
Quay Pot is a new and improved take on a four-decade family business known for fish head bee hoon. Decide between clear fish broth and a tangy and spicy version, and then choose from four types of noodles. Don’t forget the off-menu appetiser of crispy fried small fish.
Daily, 12noon-3pm, 6-10.30pm. $$$
Sea Pearl Lagoon Café
338 MK18, Jalan Tokong Thai Pak Koong, Tanjung Tokong (+604 899 0375).
This Chinese seafood restaurant has been around since the 1920s and specialises in coal-baked crabs, sea salt-crusted fish and deep-fried spring chicken. You can walk down the beach and enjoy the sea breeze while waiting for your dishes to be ready. Tue-Sun, 11am-10pm. $$$
End of the World
486 Jalan Hassan Abbas, Teluk Bahang (+604 885 1189).
This seafood restaurant is not so much at the ‘End of The World’ as the far end of Penang. Order the oh chien
and steamed fish, but remember to check the market price of all seafood so as not to receive a nasty surprise when you get your bill.
Disabled-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 12noon-3pm & 5-11pm. $$$
Fishing Village Seafood
756 MK2, Jalan Teluk Awak, Teluk Bahang (+604 885 2084).
Like most seafood restaurants in town, Fishing Village is furnished with the bare minimum. Nevertheless, the restaurant survives by the sheer deliciousness of its fresh oysters. Enjoy them plain or smothered with the likes of cheese or black bean sauce.
Daily, 4-11pm. $$
Kocha Taiwanese Delight
229 Jalan Burma, George Town (+604 227 5048).
The extensive menu at Kocha, one of the island’s best-known Taiwanese eateries, can be slightly overwhelming. Luckily, there are plenty of set meals to make it easier. If you love bubble tea, you’ll be delighted by Kocha’s myriad flavours.
Child-friendly. Disabled-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Mon-Tue & Thu-Sun, 12noon-10.30pm. $$
Old Street Taiwanese Delicacies 2 Jalan Krian (8 Row), George Town (+6016 498 2553/Facebook: Old- Street-Taiwanese-Delicacies).
Old Street guarantees traditional Taiwanese delicacies like handmade noodle dishes and a steamed sandwich stuffed with stewed pork belly, pickled vegetables and a fried egg. Also try the three-cup chicken (boiled with a cup of sesame oil, soy sauce and alcohol each) flanked by a bowl of hot steamed rice.
Tue-Sun, 11am-3pm, 5-9.30pm. $$
227 Lebuh Chulia, George Town (+6016 478 5453/Facebook: YeapNoodles).
Yeap Noodles serves oodles of noodles! Don’t expect anything grand at this unassuming eatery; it’s located in a sliver of a space – a hole in a wall, really. However, the owner’s warm hospitality more than makes up for the ambience.
Daily, 9am-10pm. $
Kochabi Taiwan Cuisine
Lot 24-26, Level 5, Gurney Paragon, Persiaran Gurney (+604 227 5048/www.facebook.com/ kochabitaiwancuisine).
This serene Taiwanese restaurant decorated with bonsai trees and rock fountains boasts of an extensive range of teas. You’ll find it easy to dine healthy here. Kochabi’s set meals come with steamed rice, soup of the day, fruits, vegetables and a beverage.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 10am10pm. $$
LG 44, Sunway Carnival Mall, 3068 Jalan Todak, Seberang Jaya (+6013 512 9078); G6, Tesco Bukit Mertajam, 2323 Jalan Rozhan, Bukit Mertajam; 1G11, Tesco E-Gate, Lebuh Tunku Kudin 1 (+6013 465 9078); LG 17B, Gurney Paragon, Persiaran Gurney (600cc.com.my) This Taiwanese franchise is popular for its original beef noodle soup, which comes garnished with fresh greens, pickled vegetables and chillies. Other favourites include the oyster rice noodles and chicken
dan dan noodle soup. Cap off your meal with the signature papaya milk served in a 600cc glass.
Bukit Genting Hill Leisure Park and Restaurant
Jalan Teluk Kumbar, Bayan Lepas (+604 827 9801/+6019 465 7100). Surrounded by lush fruit trees, this restaurant offers scenic views of a hilly landscape and the sea. The kitchen serves Thai food with a smattering of Nyonya dishes. Some scrumptious finds include the red and
green curries, seafood tom yam, otakotak and butter prawns.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. 11.30am-10.30pm. $$
Eastern Wishes Nanyang and Thai Restaurant
1-1-49, i-Avenue, Jalan Tun Dr Awang, Bayan Lepas (+604 641 0191).
This lovely lunch spot in Bayan Lepas offers à la carte dishes and affordable set lunches. The tom yam seafood is praised by many, as is the black pepper squid.
Tue-Sun, 10.30am-2.30pm, 5.309.30pm. $
Aroy Chang Moo Kata Thai Restaurant
22 Lorong Burma, George Town (+6010 379 9852).
Despite the high influx of Thai restaurants in Penang, Aroy Chang Moo Kata remains a firm favourite among locals. The kitchen is helmed by a chef from Chiang Mai, so you’ll find Northern Thai dishes like pla phad phed (deep-fried sea bass drenched in a fiery sauce), khoon ob woon sen (Thai-style glass noodles) and larbmoo (minced pork cooked with fried rice flakes).
Credit cards accepted. Tue-Sun, 11am-3pm, 6-11pm. $$$
Chok Dee Thai Restaurant
231-D, Jalan Burma, George Town (+604 229 1492/Facebook: Chok-DeeThai-Restaurant).
Everything good begins with a little ‘chok dee’ or good fortune in Thai. This family-run eatery, which has been around for over a decade, sources its ingredients from Thailand – so you can be sure of authenticity in every dish. Get the claypot glass noodles with crab, som tam (papaya salad) and spicy tom yam with seafood.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 11am3pm&6-10pm. $$
Lang Sae Lee Thai Food
97A, Tan Jetty, Pengkalan Weld, George Town (+6014 907 1808). Perched on a rickety jetty, Lang Sae Lee provides a breathtaking view of the sunset and some of Penang’s spiciest Thai food. Come with a huge appetite and order the battered
kangkung and enoki mushrooms, fried fish with special sauce, pineapple fried rice and Thai laksa. Owner Madam Lee mans her kitchen solo, so remember to book ahead if you’re dining in a large group.
Daily, 11am-2.30pm, 5-10pm. $
Sebaidee Thai Restaurant
1 Lintang Batu, Batu Lanchang, George Town (+604 656 8891/ Facebook: Sebaidee-Thai-Restaurant). Get the chef’s recommendation and other Thai favourites such as stuffed crab shell, som tam (papaya salad) and clear tom yam seafood soup.
Pork-free. Daily, 4.30-11.30pm. $$
Sukhothai Beef Noodles House 5.02 & 03, Gurney Paragon Mall, Persiaran Gurney (+6012 433 5588/ Facebook: Sukhothai-Beef-NoodlesHouse).
This small and simple restaurant is known for its Thai beef noodles (terrific comfort food). The à la carte menu consists of around 20 selections of pork, chicken, fish and vegetables dishes.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 10am10pm. $
26 Jalan Moulmein, Pulau Tikus (+604 227 7599/ annathai.weebly. com).
Located a few paces away from Pulau Tikus wet market, Annathai Kitchen is a smallish restaurant that serves traditional Thai fare such as green curry and tom yam soup at a very reasonable price. A popular dish is the soft shell crab fried rice served with fresh lettuce and spicy sambal.
Child-friendly. Tue-Sun, 12noon2.30pm, 6-9pm. $
Tree Monkey Restaurant Tropical Spice Garden, Lone Crag Villa, Lot 595, Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang (+604 881 3493/www.treemonkey.com.my). Sharing a space with Tropical Spice Garden, Tree Monkey’s chef enjoys exclusive access to fresh herbs and spices. Don’t judge the restaurant by its Balinese aesthetics as it is, in fact, a Northeastern Thai restaurant. We love the alfresco dining amid tall, shady trees. Order a plethora of Thai tapas such as sambal-marinated fried
chicken roomettes or otak-otak and wash it down with iced spiced coffee, with hints of cardamom, cinnamon, clove and star anise, or the tom yam margarita. Bring mosquito repellent if you plan on an evening visit. Child-friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 9am-10.30pm. $$$
Various locations KhunThai Authentic Thai Restaurant
1052 MK19, Pasir Belanda, Teluk Kumbar, Bayan Lepas (+604 625 1155); 104 Permatang Tengah, off Jalan Raja Uda, Butterworth (+604 332 7523/www.khunthai. com). It’s obligatory to start off your meal here with the fiery seafood tom yam.
A whole page of the menu is devoted to fish dishes, so take your pick from the likes of gaeng som (deepfried fish topped with spicy sauce) and steamed fish prepared Teochew style. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 11am12midnight. $$
Wang Thai Restaurant
294 Jalan Burma, Pulau Tikus (+604 226 5168/Facebook: wang-thairestaurant); 6H-1-3A, All Seasons Place, Lebuhraya Thean Teik, Air Itam (+6018 299 0799).
Tastefully decorated with dark wooden chairs and hanging potted plants, Wang Thai is a comfortable eatery to indulge in classic Thai cuisine. Stick within your comfort zone with tom yam soup and mango sticky rice or discover new specialities such as the pad sam rod (roasted duck prepared in three ways) and hor mok talay (steamed otak-otak with a mix of fiery curry paste, basil and coconut milk).
Credit cards accepted. (Pulau Tikus) Mon-Tue & Thu-Sun, 11am-2.30pm, 6-10pm; (All Seasons Place) Daily, 11.30am-3pm, 6-10pm. $$
Annalakshmi Temple of Fine Arts
1 Lebuhraya Babbington, off Jalan Barrack, George Town (+604 228 8575/www.tfa.org.my).
Though not unconventional, the concept behind Annalakshmi is not as widely practised as it should be. Patrons pay what they wish at this volunteer-run eatery, and the donations go towards funding the temple. The fare is purely vegetarian so heap your plate with as much rice, vegetables, soups, chapattis and egg dishes, but waste not! Many have described dining at Annalakshmi as nothing short of a transcendental experience made possible by goodwill. Note that the temple enforces a semi-formal dress code. Halal. Tue-Sun, 11.30am-2.30pm; Sat, 6-9.30pm. $
Cheng Sim Vegetarian Restaurant
69E Jalan Terengganu, George Town (+604 283 2615/www.facebook.com/chengsimvegetarian).
Cheng Sim prepares healthy and ‘ethical’ cuisine. The restaurant rules out abstinence by dishing out meat-free versions of bak kut teh, Hokkien mee and other Penang favourites. Word is that Cheng Sim’s economy rice spread is one of the best in town.
Pork-free. Disabledfriendly. Mon & WedSun, 7.30am-8pm; Tue 7.30am-4pm. $$
Evergreen Vegetarian House
39A Jalan Cantonment, George Town (+604 210 3900).
Evergreen specialises in Chinese vegetarian cuisine so you can expect a lot of creative mock meat dishes. Very affordable, the economy rice dishes are popular come lunch time but you can also branch out into made-to-order dishes like bak kut teh, laksa, satay or char kuey teow. Drop by Evergreen’s sundry shop to pick up some vegetarian groceries.
Halal. Daily, 6am-8pm. $
The Leaf Healthy House
5 Lebuh Penang, George Town (+6012 498 8491/www.facebook. com/TheLeafHealthyHouse).
The Leaf is all about creating a comfortable dining experience that vegetarians can call home. The chef practises a strict mantra of ‘no MSG, no artificial colouring and no preservatives’, yet never fails to dish out flavourful food. The quirky menu includes the likes of pumpkin spaghetti and vegetarian chicken rice.
Halal. Child-friendly. Mon-Sat, 11.30am-3pm, 5.30-9pm. $
Lily’s Vegetarian Kitchen
98 Noble House, Lorong Madras, George Town (+604 226 3810/www. lilysvegekitchen.com).
Feast on soya-based rendang, butter prawns and fish and chips at this haven for vegetarians. Most of the kitchen’s produce is hand-picked from Cameron Highlands. Located near Little India, Lily’s is relatively sheltered from the town’s bustling traffic and there’s always a parking spot just around the corner.
Halal. Tue-Sun, 8am-9.30pm. $
Lovecipies Vintage Café
42 Jalan Rangoon, George Town (+6014 306 9942).
Flip through the menu of this eclectic vintage café to discover culinary favourites like assam curry and spaghetti Napolitana. Lovecipies gets packed come lunch time, so plan your visit for brunch or the late afternoon. Halal. Tue-Sun, 11.30am-10pm. $
No 1 Cannon Street Galeri & Kafe
1 Lebuh Cannon, George Town (+604 261 4378/www.facebook.com/ no.1cannonstreet).
We can’t quite figure out the décor here, but the locals clearly don’t give a hoot. Half of the clientele appear to be vegetarian backpackers relieved to have found meat-free fare. Order veggie burgers, noodle dishes, spring rolls and steamed buns, but leave room for some vegan ice cream, of which nutmeg is the most popular flavour.
Halal. Mon-Tue & Thu-Sun, 9am12midnight.
Penang Adventist Hospital Cafeteria
465 Jalan Burma, George Town (+604 222 7200).
While dining at a hospital might not sound extremely appetising, the menu at Penang Adventist Hospital caters to the health conscious and lactoovo vegetarians (vegetarians who consume eggs and dairy products). You’ll find local and Western delicacies such as low-fat dumplings and high-fibre waffles.
Halal. Mon-Thu & Sun, 6am-9pm; Fri, 6am-6.30pm. $
Sri Ananda Bahwan
25 Lebuh Penang, George Town (+604 263 3841).
Sri Ananda Bahwan specialises in vegetarian banana leaf rice and offers a good selection of meatless accompaniments. Mock meat dishes like mutton biryani and garlic chicken, and the butter masala tofu are popular.
Halal. Daily, 8am-11pm. $
Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant
60 Lebuh Penang, George Town (+604 263 9764).
Smack in the middle of Little India is Woodlands, a vegetarian eatery where South Indian cooking rules supreme. Order the special thali set for an introduction to myriad traditional dishes such as chappatti, dhal, rice, sambar, vegetables, spicy kulambu,
yoghurt curds and more. To end your meal on a sweet note, take your pick of traditional Indian sweets displayed near the storefront.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Daily, 8.30am-10pm. $
Zhu Yuan Vegetarian Restaurant 90 Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong, George Town (+604 261 7706).
This humble Chinese restaurant serves decent vegetarian dishes including a smooth Penang laksa,
which is only available on Fridays
and Saturdays. Try the soy-based Nyonya curry and mock roast duck glazed with a copious amount of sweet and sticky hoisin sauce. Pork-free. Mon & Wed-Sun, 9am2.30pm, 5.30-9.30pm. $$
Permai Village Café
16 Lebuh Lembah Permai 4, Tanjung Bungah (+6012 438 7367/www. facebook.com/PermaiVillage).
While most of Penang’s vegetarian joints serve either Chinese or Indian cuisine, Permai Village Café fills the gap for much-needed alternatives by dishing out Asian and Western delicacies. The restaurant’s desserts, namely the tiramisu and lime jelly, are lauded by regulars, as is the house
nasi lemak available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Tue-Sun, 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30-9.30pm. $
Real Food Café
3A-G-13D, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong (+604 890 8295/www.realfoodgrocer. com).
Real Food is a vegetarian and vegan café and a grocery store stocked with healthy produce. The menu is a mix of Western dishes such as burgers and pizza, as well as Asian favourites like noodles, rice dishes, soups and dumplings. We can recommend their Portobello mushroom burger with a terrific crunch, and their chickpea cake salad, in which a filling and lightly spiced chickpea patty and sweet potato is topped by lettuce, grilled asparagus, nuts, olives and French beans. For a sweet ending to your meal, order the ice cream made from brown rice milk and sugar cane.
Halal. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 10am-10pm. $$$
Idealite Wellness Restaurant
27C Jalan Gottlieb, George Town; Third floor, Queensbay Mall, 100 Persiaran Bayan Indah, Bayan Lepas (+604 643 1228); Third floor, Gurney Plaza, Persiaran Gurney, George Town (+604 226 7296); Cinema level, Sunway Carnival Mall, Jalan Todak, Seberang Jaya (www. facebook.com/idealitepg).
Idealite Wellness reinvents its menu on a monthly basis to give diners a wide selection of vegetarian dishes like curry tofu, sushi and curry noodles. Their cuisine is considered to be pretty inventive and tasty.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. $
50 Jalan Chow Thye, George Town; 6G-1-16, All Seasons Place, Lebuhraya Thean Teik, Air Itam (+604 226 8414/+6016 414 1817/ mobile.acesse.com/janxden.greenlife/). While most local vegetarian restaurants offer Chinese cuisine, Jandex has tapped into Western fare. Treat yourself to a wide range of pastas, sandwiches and rice dishes served with fresh greens and mock meats.
Halal. Mon, Tue &Thu-Sun, 11.30am-9.30pm (Georgetown), Daily, 11.30am-10pm (All Seasons Place). $$
NEW Sushi Kitchen
12, Gat Lebuh Acheh, George Town (+6016 411 7570); 2A-1, Jalan Sungai Ara, Desa Ara, Sungai Ara (+604 644 6739); 11B, Medan Angsana 1, Bandar Baru Ayer Itam, Ayer Itam (+6016 471 2591/ Facebook: Sushi-kitchen).
Sushi Kitchen is definitely the restaurant to change the rigid impression towards vegan eating. Meatless and organic plant-based sushi is the order of the day here and only the freshest ingredients are used. We recommend the spices herb insideout roll, global warming sushi and enoki porridge.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Childfriendly. $$
Quê Hu’o’ng Tôi
56-W Jalan Jelutong, George Town (+6016 421 1244).
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Vietnamese cuisine are spring rolls, bánh mi (a classic Vietnamese sandwich utilising the French baguette) and pho (soupy noodles garnished with braised beef slices and vegetables). This restaurant does all these classics well and at a great price too.
Mon & Wed-Fri, 10am-3pm, 5-10pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-3pm, 5-10pm. $
No Eyed Deer
98-1-26 Prima Tanjung, Jalan Fettes, Tanjung Tokong (+604 899 0488/ www.noeyeddeer.com).
This quirky restaurant is known for its Laotian laksa: a mildly spicy noodle dish topped with beef or chicken slices and only served at lunchtime. The Caveman Platter, a plateful of chargrilled lamb cutlets, an assortment of sausages, skewered meat and chicken wings, is a carnivore’s dream, while the Vietnamese spring rolls are a tasty starter.
Halal. Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Mon & Wed-Sun, 12noon2pm, 6-10pm. $$$
Strawberry Hill, Penang Hill (+604 828 8337/www.penanghillco.com.my). This quaint English teahouse circled by a well-manicured lawn offers breathtaking views, and if you’re game for a hike the trek back down is a breeze. If you’d rather hitch a ride, ring ahead and inform a staff member who will arrange transportation or point you in the direction of the funicular train. Come during dinnertime to sample boarding school favourites such as succulent roasts and Yorkshire pudding or have a typical high tea with scones. Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 11am-10pm. $$$
Lone Pine Hotel, 97 Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (+604 886 8566/www.lonepinehotel.com).
This outdoor restaurant shaded by towering trees complements the colonial splendour of Lone Pine Hotel. Breakfast is served buffet-style while lunch and dinner are presented in traditional tiffin carriers. The gorgeous beachside view makes the experience worthwhile.
Child-friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 6.30am-11pm. $$$
Ferringhi Garden Restaurant
34 A,B & C Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (+604 881 1193/ www.facebook.com/ferringhigarden). Sister to Ferringhi Coffee Garden, this restaurant is surrounded by lush greenery. Come nightfall, red Chinese lanterns cast a warm glow and create soft shadows. Bring a date to this romantic restaurant serving Western and Asian dishes; even the fussiest eaters will find something to their liking.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 5pm12midnight. $$$
Sigi’s Bar & Grill on the Beach
Level one, Ground floor, Shangri-La Golden Sands Resort, Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi (+604 886 1852/www.shangri-la.com/penang/goldensandsresort).
Located on Golden Sands Resort’s pristine beachfront, Sigi’s is a prime location for catching the sunset with tropical beverage in hand. Order familiar comfort dishes such as pasta, oven-baked pizzas, steaks, burgers and salads. The sprawling bar seats over 200 customers while the upper deck gives you a sweeping view of the sea.
Daily, 11am-12midnight. $$$
Click Town Kopitiam
The CEO, 31-1-5, Lebuh Nipah 5, Bukit Jambul, Bayan Lepas (+604 688 4413/www.facebook.com/ClickTownGroup).
Populated by youth, Click Town thrives on good food, a casual, jovial environment and shisha. The house speciality is the satay chicken chop coupled with coleslaw and
ketupat (cubed and compressed rice dumplings). Challenge a friend to finish the towering burger with five (!) meat patties.
Halal. Tue-Sun, 5pm-1am. $
NEW Who’s Bryan
65 Lorong Teras Jaya 2, Pusat Perniagaan Teras Jaya, Butterworth (+604 332 9097/Facebook: Who’s Bryan).
Night owls young and old flock here after sundown to catch up and chow down. The Western-inspired menu features salads, pastas and comfort food such as fish and chips, while the coffee menu is interesting and extensive; try the Iced Black Spinded (cold coffee served in a root beer mug) or Bee’s Latte.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Mon-Fri, 11am-12midnight; Sat-Sun, 9am-12midnight. $$
George Town #SelfieCoffee
88 Love Lane, George Town (+604 261 0675/Facebook: Selfie Coffee Penang).
While there’s nothing special about this café décor-wise, the concept behind #SelfieCoffee is fresh! Snap a shot of yourself using the cafe’s cellphone, pay for your selfie coffee and patiently while away the minutes by doodling on the cafe’s glass-top tables. When your coffee arrives, try to contain your excitement upon seeing your face staring back at you from your beverage.
Halal. Daily, 10am-10pm. $
NEW 20 Chulia Lane Cafe
20 Lorong Chulia, George Town (+604 263 8373/Facebook: 20-chulialane-cafe)
Though the space is somewhat narrow, this family-run café is cosy and centrally located. It’s also a stone’s throw from the notorious Tipsy Tiger Party Hostel, so any backpacker looking to combat a bad hangover can come here for a hearty home-cooked breakfast. The café specialises in waffles, which are made to order and topped with ice cream or paired with savoury offerings such as bacon and eggs.
Credit cards accepted. Mon-Tue & Thu-Sun, 9am-7pm. $$
32 Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, George Town (+604 262 2232/Facebook: 32Mansion).
Housed within a white colonial mansion, this sleek restaurant’s lavish interior and top-dollar menu might intimidate the thrifty. But if you have a pocketful of cash, have a go at the spaghetti with seared rump, six-spice marinated barbecue chicken and crab bisque. Vegetarians are catered for with a delightful oven-baked frittata and a warm quinoa salad with roasted vegetables. Dine under the stars by requesting outdoor seating.
Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 12noon-2.30pm & 7-10.30pm. $$$$
55 Café & Restaurant
Coffee Atelier, 47-55 Lorong Stewart, George Town (+604 262 2611/www. coffeeatelier.com).
This corner café ideally located in the heart of the heritage zone is ideal for a quick pick-me-up before continuing your sightseeing. With friendly service and yummy cakes, we have little to complain about this one.
Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 8am-11am & 2-9pm. $$
5 Lorong Stewart, George Town (+604 261 3879/www.facebook.com/ thealleypenang).
Look out for a sign that reads ‘Kedai Gaharu Keat Seang’ to locate this unmarked café. The Alley is worth hunting down for a taste of the New York-style cronuts, crispy churros and other homemade innovative desserts served here.
Halal. Child-friendly. Daily, 12noon12midnight. $
Armenian House Café
35 Lebuh Armenian, George Town (+604 262 8309/Facebook: Armenian House).
This charming café is a welcome addition to the Armenian House homestay. The friendly owners sell light bites such as cakes and sandwiches in addition to freshly brewed coffee and freshly squeezed juices.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 10.30am-6pm. $
NEW Awesome Canteen
Sekeping Victoria, 164 Lebuh Victoria, George Town (+604 261 3707/www. facebook.com/awesomecanteenpg). Keep an eye out during your walk at the heritage zone. This awesome café that serves good cakes and specialty coffee is located in the refurbished guesthouse Sekeping Victoria. The aged warehouse-like setting might confuse you but do stop by and try out dishes like crispy takoyaki, chicken eggplant burger, Japanese curry rice and more.
Pork-free. Mon & Wed-Fri, 11am3pm, 6-11pm; Sat, 10am-11pm; Sun, 10am-10pm. $$
50 Lorong Love, George Town (+6012 556 5509/+6012 493 9230). Founded by three fast friends who envisioned a place where food and art could cross paths, Behind 50’s charm lies in its rustic ambience. It’s easy to feel nostalgic for old-school Penang when surrounded by yellowing photographs of the city and listening to the sputtering and crackling of a vintage gramophone.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Mon-Wed & Fri-Sun, 6pm-12midnight. $
82-A Lebuh Penang, George Town (+604 250 8383/www.renitang.com). This airy and cheerful café right in the heart of Little India is great for peoplewatching. Scoot to the back to snag one of the Japanese-style tables and enjoy the novelty of sitting on the cushioned ground. The Tang Laksa is a crowd pleaser as is the Kalamansi Freeze.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Mon & Wed-Sun, 11.30am11pm. $
NEW Black Kettle
105 Lebuh Pantai, George Town (+604 251 9270/www.blackkettle.
If Black Kettle is reminiscent of Melbourne’s trendy cafés, it’s because the founders collaborated with Dimattina, a renowned roaster from the Land Down Under. From espressos to flat whites, Black Kettle’s beverages are among the island’s best. Browse the mouthwatering display of confectionary, cakes and desserts (here’s a teaser: cinnamon rolls, semolina peach cake, chocolate pear cake and rhubarb crumble) baked by Chef Lutz Dimattina. There is also a dining area and table service if you’d rather stay. In addition to food such as burgers and pastas, the café also serves beer and wine.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Pushchairfriendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 8.30am-12midnight.
NEW The Book Sandwich Café
205 Lebuh Pantai, George Town (+604 261 3445/Facebook: The-booksandwich-cafe).
As the name suggests, there are books everywhere as part of the décor and laid on tables. Sandwiches are the star of the menu and must-try fillings include the succulent lobster and the local flavours of beef rendang and
Credit cards accepted. Child-friendly. Tue-Sat, 12noon-10pm; Sun, 12noon-9pm. $$
Bricklin Bar Café
Hin Bus Depot, 31A Jalan Gurdwara, George Town (+604 226 6813/www. facebook.com/BricklinCafeBar). Bricklin Bar is reminiscent of KL’s own VCR Café thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The order of the day is cake and coffee; try the bittersweet Green Tea Walnut Brownie or the Almond Tiramisu, if you can look past the sinful amount of mascarpone. If too much caffeine makes your head hurt and heart thump, settle for the teabased Red Latte.
Halal. Mon-Thu, 10am-10.30pm; Fri-Sun, 10am-11.30pm. $$
BTB & Restaurant
ChinaHouse, 153 & 155 Lebuh Pantai, George Town (+604 263 7299/www.chinahouse.com.my)
Few Penangites can tell you where BTB & Restaurant is, but mention ChinaHouse and everyone knows its location. One of several eateries within the large shophouse, BTB is accessible via Beach Street and serves fusion Western dishes. Be prepared to wait a while as ChinaHouse is almost always full.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 6.30-10.30pm. $$$ Budan’s Brew Coffee Bar
2 Lorong Argus, George Town (+604 261 3930/www.facebook.com/ BudansBrew).
If you’re craving a Western-style breakfast or brunch, Budan’s Brew is the way to go. Try Budan’s Egg Ben or the Big Sausage Breakfast, which is a jumbo chicken sausage flanked by potato salad, chicken bacon and scrambled eggs. Carbs come by way of croissants, paninis and ciabattas.
Pork-free. Mon-Thu & Sun, 9am-5pm; Fri-Sat, 9am-5pm, 7.30-11pm. $
5 Gat Lebuh China, George Town (+604 261 0625/Facebook: Coffee Lane).
Coffee Lane takes their coffee seriously; regulars swear that the wellbalanced beverages here are Penang’s best. Scratch this off your bucket list: for RM50, you can sample the most expensive coffee in the world: kopi luwak (civet coffee).
Pork-free. Tue-Sun, 10am-7pm. $
15-17A, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, George Town (+604 226 9993/www. deluxcious.com.my).
Award-wining Chef Keith Khoo, who has done a stint at Singapore’s RitzCarlton Hotel, brings his signature touch to Deluxcious’s fusion food. Most dishes on the menu incorporate an ingenious blend of local herbs for a healthy dose of flavour. The high-tea sets are especially enjoyable taken in the garden.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 12noon-10pm. $$$
Macalister Mansion, 228 Jalan Macalister, George Town (+604 228 3888/www.macalistermansion.com). This chic, minimalistic restaurant is dreamy to say the least. Its snowwhite interior is decked out with a tree as the centrepiece and pastelcoloured deer. Chef Lance U’Ren, a connoisseur of French cuisine, creates modern, innovate cuisine to match the contemporary ambience. Dining Room may be glamorous, but it keeps its doors open to families with young kids as well. There’s even a kids’ menu for young gourmets.
Child-friendly. Kids’ menu. Credit cards accepted. Tue-Sun, 7-11pm; Last orders at 10.30pm. $$$
Downtown Art Heritage
149 Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, George Town (+604 261 1303/ Facebook: Down-Town-Art-Heritage). Strategically located at the crossroads of Lebuh Canon and Lebuh Armenian, Downtown Art Heritage is the perfect place to recoup after hours of sightseeing. Works of art adorn the walls of this restaurant, which serves fusion fare such as the Chef Pasta (ginger, garlic and minced beef meat spaghetti) and the Apple Sancha Smoothie (blended apple, Haw flakes and caramel). The restaurant’s signature dish is Nasi Ketuk served with chicken rendang; don’t be taken aback by the blue hue of the rice; the natural dye comes from the butterfly pea blossom.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Disabledfriendly. Credit cards accepted. MonWed & Fri-Sun, 10am-6pm. $$
231 Jalan Burma, George Town (+604 227 2310/www.facebook.com/ elfarotapasbar).
Frequented by a cool crowd, this elegant tapas bar makes it easy to lose track of time while wining and dining with friends. Chef Jack Yeap whips up innovative tapas such as tomato ‘Cappucino’, truffle-scented parmesan fries and the house-cured Norwegian salmon.
Credit cards accepted. Mon-Tue & Thu-Sun, 3-11.30pm. $$$
25 Lorong Carnarvon, George Town (+6017 435 0922/www.facebook.com/ etecafe).
Eté Café, or ‘summer café’ in French, is managed by a Taiwanese couple who attended the Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts institute. Besides freshly brewed siphon coffee, the café turns out freshly baked French pastries such as macarons and tarte normande (apple and almond tart).
Disabled-friendly. Mon-Tue & ThuSun, 12noon-6pm. $$
102 & 104 Lebuh Muntri, George Town (+604 261 3118/www.facebook. com/galahouse.com.my).
Gala House’s consistent quality and convenient location account for the cafe’s growing popularity. Order a hearty pasta dish followed by a slice of the signature Jack Daniel’s cake. If you’re looking to host a private party, the second floor is open for bookings.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 11.30am-12midnight. $$
Harvest In Café
10 Jalan Irrawadi, George Town (+604 226 1718/Facebook: Harvest In Cafe).
This humble café scores points for its prompt service and affordable menu. Most mains cost less than RM20 and come in huge portions. We highly recommend the Hungarian chicken, which is a house favourite.
Credit cards accepted. Mon & WedSat, 11am-3pm, 6-10pm; Tue, 11am3pm. $$
368-1-14, Bellisa Row, Jalan Burma (+604 228 3962/www.hueynwah.my). One of Penang’s cutest and cosiest cafés, Huey&Wah serves kopi-o alongside cappuccinos and fancy brunch dishes in addition to simple soft-boiled eggs and toast. Few can call themselves marshmallow artisans, but Huey&Wah’s proprietors are just that. Crown your hot chocolate, coffee, milk or
Milo with marshmallows flavoured with chocolate, matcha, passion fruit or stout. While service is a bit on the slow side owing to the café’s small team, everything is made to order, and the regulars don’t seem to mind. Visit the café’s upstairs to shop for books by local authors, crochet dolls, bohemian bracelets, art and colourful postcards. There’s also a book exchange corner if you’re in need of a new read and board games to while away a rainy day.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. MonFri, 8am-6pm; Sat-Sat, 8am-11pm. $
Irrawaddy Fine Foods
54A Jalan Chow Thye, George Town (+604 226 8182/Facebook: Irrawaddy-Fine-Foods).
George Town’s only delicatessen is your best bet for speciality cheeses and charcuterie. Point a homesick Englishman in the direction of this café to get a full English breakfast anytime of the day. The inexpensive set menu comprises the soup of the day, your choice of a main, dessert and juice for just RM18.80.
Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm. $$
401 Lebuh Chulia, George Town (+6016 438 3205/www.facebook. com/junk401).
If you’re wondering how on earth the proprietors of this wacky café acquired a landfill’s worth of junk to fill their coffeehouse, it’s because they didn’t – the junk preceded the café. Junk Café was initially the depository of Ono, a vintage collector who travelled far and wide in his quest for pre-loved treasures. Equipped with little but an espresso machine and an outdoor grill, the team here still manages to magic up delicious drinks and towering burgers.
Pork-free. Mon-Tue & Thu-Sun, 3pm-1am. $$
KHOON Pastry House
29 Jalan Argyll, George Town (+ 6016 469 9962/www.facebook.com/ khoonpastryhouse).
Despite having been around for more than half a decade, this family-run eatery hasn’t received the recognition it deserves. Sure, the interior isn’t the most stylish, but what’s most important is the TLC that goes into the baking. If you’re here for lunch or dinner, you can’t go wrong with the shepherd’s pie. Tea time calls for cream cones and garishly decorated cupcakes. Don’t forget to peer over the counter and say hi to the in-house puppy. Pork-free. Child-friendly. Mon-Sat, 11am-9pm. $$
153 & 155 Lebuh Pantai, George Town (+604 263 7299/www. chinahouse.com.my).
Laid out on a long table, Kopi C’s pastries and cakes are a dessert lover’s wet dream. This dessert venue is housed in a heritage complex-turned-art space known as ChinaHouse. The nutty tiramisu, chocolate bread pudding and upside down pineapple cake hardly disappoint.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 9am-12midnight. $$$
NEW KOTA – When Francis meets Rempah
Fort Cornwallis, Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, George Town (+604 251 9420/www.facebook.com/ KotaPenang).
A fusion eatery that’s under the radar for now, KOTA is located within the walls of the historical Fort Cornwallis, which means you’ll have to pay the entrance fee to the historical landmark – this charge is deducted from your dining bill. Essentially a minimalist glass box surrounded by deteriorating ruins, KOTA is more than an air-conditioned respite in a tourist destination. Few other eateries in Penang offer casual fine dining at such affordable prices; no main course cost more than RM30. KOTA’s strong point is repackaging local flavours – the tandoori dish is a mound of ghee-flavoured rice flanked by unbelievably juicy tandoori chicken topped with papadum and crispy morsels of lamb shank ravioli. If you think the savoury dishes here are good, wait till you try the desserts. Dig into the trio of crème bruleé flavoured with pandan, gula Melaka and pulut hitam – a successful mélange of Eastern and Western flavours.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 10am-10pm. $$
La France Café and Restaurant
3B Jalan Irrawadi, George Town (+6012 412 7355/www.cafe-la-france. com).
It’s hard to believe that La France was once a humble stall in a food court. Presently situated in the heart of George Town, this cosy café serves French fare and drinks such as crêpes,
croque-monsieur (grilled cheese sandwich) and the renowned French lager Kronenbourg 1664.
Child-friendly. Tue-Sun, 9am-3pm. $$
La Vanille Cupcakes & Macarons
122A Jalan Hutton, George Town
(+604 226 4024/www.facebook.com/ LaVanilleCupcake).
This teatime destination serves cupcakes, macarons and other freshly baked desserts in addition to hot beverages such as tea and coffee. The café’s wood-panelled interior and pastel-hued décor provide an intimate setting for weddings, birthday parties and private celebrations. Order an impressive customised cake for a special occasion.
Child-friendly. Mon-Sat, 10am-7pm; Sun, 10am-7pm. $$
1 Gat Lebuh Macallum, George Town (+604 261 3597/www.facebook.com/ Macallum).
This high-ceilinged warehouseturned-café is the epitome of industrial charm. Fast WiFi makes it a popular work space among freelancers. The innovative coffee cream spaghetti shows that it’s possible to use coffee as a savoury ingredient.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 9am12midnight. $$
47 Lebuh Muntri, George
Town (+604 264 4021/ Facebook: MoonTree 47).
This café, art gallery and homestay rolled into one serves simple yet satisfying breakfasts, juices and coffees. If you’re allergic to pets, look elsewhere as MoonTree’s three resident cats roam about freely.
Child-friendly. Disabled-friendly. MonTue & Thu-Sun, 9am-5pm. $
302 Lebuh Chulia, George Town (+6012 405 6276/Facebook: The Mugshot Cafe). This down-to-earth café manned by friendly twin brothers is attached to Rainforest Bakery. Homesick New Yorkers will be glad to know that Mugshot’s specialty is bagels (get the bacon and egg). For something sweet, get a yoghurt jar or pop into the bakery for the apple crumble. Child-friendly. Daily, 8am-12midnight. $
Naughty Nuri’s Warung
114 Jalan Burma, George Town (+604 226 3171/Facebook: Naughty Nuris Warung GeorgeTown).
Bali’s famous pork ribs are now available in Penang. This restaurant and bar boasts a comprehensive menu of everything porcine including pork ribs, burgers, chops and sausages, but you’ll also find steak, barbecue chicken, Balinese nasi goreng and nachos on the menu. With loud red walls and an extensive cocktail menu to boot, this is a lively venue to wine and dine with friends.
Child-friendly. Daily, 3pm-1am. $$
Passion Heart Café
83 Lebuh Muntri, George Town (+6016 443 1336/www.facebook. com/passionheartcafe). Passion Heart Cafe’s frou frou entrance is quite a fright, but you’ll be dreaming of the selection of homemade cakes day and night. Heavy emphasis is placed on local ingredients; Passion Heart’s cempedak and durian cakes rank among its bestsellers. However, it’s the signature Black Forest that takes the cake.
Pork-free. Mon & Wed-Sun, 12noon10.30pm. $
Patio Bar De Tapas
49F Pengkalan Weld, George Town (+6012 311 0442/www.facebook.com/ patiopenang).
This Spanish wine and tapas bar, which houses an impressive wine cellar upstairs, serves classic Spanish tapas such as hongos (garlic thyme mushrooms) and innovative finger food like the Wings of Toro (piquant chicken wings marinated in Red Bull and jalapeño peppers). Profit from the bar’s ‘Happiest Hour’ from 5pm to 9pm and enjoy your tipple at the outdoor or upstairs seating.
Credit cards accepted. Mon-Thu & Sun, 5pm-1.30am; Fri-Sat, 5pm2.30am.
15 Jalan Nagore, George Town (+6016 448 1517/www.facebook.com/ PIKNIKEVERYDAY).
Expect legions of hipsters and giggly groups of girlfriends at this ‘too cool for school’ venue. Colourful cushions and interesting wall art contribute to Pik Nik’s bohemian chic ambience. The kitchen’s Westernised menu places emphasis on waffles.
Child-friendly. Mon, Wed-Thu & Sun, 3pm-12midnight; Fri-Sat, 3pm1am. $$
44 Lebuh Muntri, George Town (+604 261 1693/inchfoodbar.com). This subtly stylish restaurant and bar on sleepy Muntri Road serves scrumptious brunches on the weekends and inventive cocktails. Daily specials start at RM19 and come with a bottomless beverage. Budding musicians can take advantage of the open mic sessions to test their vocals on a live audience.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Mon & Wed-Sun, 10am-12midnight.
Purrfect Cat Café
53 Jalan Muntri, George Town (+604 261 1197/www.facebook.com/ penangcatcafe).
Cat lovers flipped out when Penang’s first cat café opened its doors in October 2013. Felines roam free in this two-storey café that serves desserts and light fare. The retail store stocked with cat-themed merchandise is likely to burn a hole in the purses of crazy cat ladies.
Halal. Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 10am-9.30pm. $$
Rainforest Bakery & Pastry
300 Lebuh Chulia, George Town (+604 261 4641).
Situated on the busiest stretch of Lebuh Chulia, Rainforest is frequented by homesick visitors who crave bread after endless meals of rice. Rainforest’s gourmet breads range from sourdough loaves to rustic Italian ciabatta. Free delivery is provided every Wednesday for purchases costing RM20 and above.
Pork-free. Mon-Sat, 8am-6pm. $
Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Lebuh Farquhar, George Town (+604 222 2000/www.e-o-hotel.com).
This colonial coffee shop inside the E&O Hotel is divided into two sections: the original Sarkies wing, which serves à la carte dishes, and the new wing with buffet-style dining. Seating on the patio lets you enjoy the sea view whereas indoor seating comes with the perks of air-conditioning.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 11am
3A Persiaran Karpal Singh 2, Lebuh Sungai Pinang 5, George Town (+604 281 9181/www. facebook.com/seafrontdining). Unexpected flavours and unusual combinations are trademark at Seafront Dining; think hoisin sauce rib eye, pan-fried salmon with Mandarin orange cream and egg noodles aglio olio. Try to score a seat upstairs where the patio overlooks the sea and the Penang Bridge.
Pork-free. Credit cards accepted. TueSun, 12noon-3pm, 6-10pm. $$
23 Love Lane, George Town (+604 262 1323/www.23lovelane.com). SteakFrites’s dinner experience revolves around just one dish: steak and fries. Only two decisions are required of you: 150g or 200g of Australian grass-fed tenderloin and how well do you want your meat done? The restaurant serves light meals during the day time.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Daily, (breakfast) 7-10.30am; (afternoon tea) 4.30-6pm; (dinner) 6-10.30pm. $$$$
Suffolk House Restaurant
250 Jalan Air Itam, George Town (+604 228 3930/www.facebook.com/ suffolkhouse).
This period building was once home to Penang Island’s founder, Captain Francis Light. Order the afternoon tea set, a lavish spread of sandwiches, scones, cake and pie, and cap your visit with a stroll across the neatly manicured courtyard.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Disabledfriendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 10am-11pm. $$$$
Sunflower Homemade Cakes 117A Jalan Hutton, George Town (+604 227 3343).
One of the more established cake houses on the island, this bakery specialises in moist kek lapis or layer cakes; choose from original, prune, almond or chocolate chip. The simple butter cake and banana loaf make great tea time accompaniments while the whole cream cakes and cupcakes are popular for birthdays.
Halal. Child-friendly. Mon-Sat, 9am6pm. $
NEW Tavern in the Park
Hin Bus Depot Art Gallery, 125 Jalan Timah, George Town (+604 218 9394/Facebook: Tavern-in-the-Park). Tavern in the Park’s specialty is the crostini platter. Peanut Butter Banana and Salmon crostini are favourites while the generously portioned pan-fried salmon is a winner. The rustic ambience with wooden furniture enclosed by brick and glass walls makes this a popular photography spot.
Credit cards accepted. Daily, 11.30am-10pm. $$
That Little Wine Bar
54 Jalan Chow Thye, George Town (+604 226 8182/www. thatlittlewinebar.com).
The ‘little’ in That Little Wine Bar seems a bit misleading, what with the bar’s extensive wine list and menu; pore over more than 50 labels of wine and order from an impressive range of tapas, salads, soups, main courses and desserts. Lastly, tell the friendly sommelier James Springer that Time Out says hi!
Child-friendly. Disabled-friendly. MonSat, 5pm-12midnight. $$$
The Twelve Cups
The Whiteaways Arcade, 12 Lebuh Pantai, George Town (+604 262 6812/www.facebook.com/ TheTwelveCups).
The Twelve Cups is worth a pit stop after a sweaty stroll around George Town’s heritage spots. While the café used to specialise in coffee and mille crêpe cakes, the proprietors have recently switched their focus to brunch items such as caramelised banana French toast, smoothie bowls, avocado open-face sandwiches and other Instagramable dishes.
Credit cards accepted. Mon-Thu, 10am-5pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-11pm; Sun, 10am-10pm. $$
Three Sixty Revolving Restaurant and Sky Bar
Bayview Hotel George Town, Top Level, 25-A, Lebuh Farquhar, George Town (+604 261 3540/360rooftop. com.my).
This revolving restaurant offers a gorgeous 360-degree panoramic view of Penang. Come just before sunset to see the island light up. The daily buffet from 6.30pm until 10.30pm offers Asian and Western appetisers, mains, desserts, coffee and tea at a good price considering the view that comes with it. Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Mon-Thu & Sun, 4pm-1am; Fri-Sat, 4pm-2am. $$$
67 Love Lane, George Town (+604 261 3570/www.facebook.com/ wheelers67).
This bike-themed café serves good takes on typical café food. You can’t go wrong with any of the pastas, sandwiches, pancakes or cakes here. The dart machines at the back feel somewhat out of place, but potentially provide hours of fun.
Pork-free. Daily, 9am-12midight. $
The Wine Shop
11a, 15 Lintang Burma, George Town (+604 226 1824/www. thewineshoppg.com.my).
A locally renowned wine distributor, The Wine Shop stocks 900 wine labels from international vineyards. But that’s not all: the company also operates a restaurant and a delicatessen serving gourmet meats, sausages and cheeses.
Mon-Sat, 10am-1am. $$$
NEW Yin’s Sourdough Bakery and Café
11 Pesara Claimant, George Town (+6011 2419 5118/www. yinssourdough.com).
Being the only sourdough bakery in Penang, Yin’s breads are healthy and in high demand. Choose from apple cinnamon sourdough, three-seed whole wheat, German rye and country white loaves which are available, and are all good.
Child-friendly. Mon-Fri, 7am-6pm; Sat, 7am-1pm. $
Sixth floor, Gurney Paragon Mall, Persiaran Gurney (+604 218 9668/ www.brownpocket.com).
Brown Pocket’s cool Australian vibe was imbued by its owners who make frequent trips to Melbourne. Dessert lovers flock here for their signature waffles, which have a nice chewy texture. Our favourite dish, however, is the spiced apple pancakes.
Child-friendly. Daily, 10am-11pm. $$
Lower ground floor, Sunway Carnival Mall, 3068 Jalan Todak, Pusat Bandar Seberang Jaya, Seberang Jaya (+6019 351 3948/www.rasamas. com.my).
This locally owned eatery specialises in roast chicken and has branches in Butterworth and Alor Setar. Though good enough on its own, you can choose to douse your chicken in one of several sauces including black pepper or spicy percik.
Halal. Kids’ menu. Daily, 11am10pm. $
Abbey Road Bistro
6GF Lebuh Tenggiri 2, Pusat Bandar Sunway, Seberang Jaya (+604 390 6655/www.facebook.com/ abbeyroadbistro).
This dim, romantic restaurant with chequed tablecloths pays homage to The Beatles via its name and the fan art on the walls. The Western fare here is hearty, so consider sharing with your date or fellow diners; think pink peppercorn sea bass, spiced lamb racks and blue mussel stew. Ask for the house pour to complement your meal.
Credit cards accepted. Tue-Sat, 12noon-11.30pm; Sun, 12.30-11pm. $$$
4 Jalan Sungai Kelian, Tanjung Bungah (+604 890 4012/www. facebook.com/JasonsGustoCafe). Bacon galore! Order the English breakfast set or pork bagel sandwich and crunch down on deep-fried strips of pork with great gusto. The café also pulls off some of the best coffee in town. Visit Gusto’s Facebook page to stay in the loop of its monthly jazz nights.
Mon-Tue & Thu-Fri, 7am-8pm; SatSun, 8am-4pm. $$
Vintage Bulgaria Restaurant
1E Jalan Sungai Kelian, Tanjung Bungah (+604 898 1890/www. vintagebulgaria.com).
As the only Bulgarian Restaurant not just in Penang, but in Malaysia, Vintage Bulgaria has certainly carved a niche for itself. Sample speciality Bulgarian dishes such as pork djolan
(roast pork knuckle) and Balkan-style baklava (filo dough encasing chopped nuts and coated with sticky syrup).
Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Tue-Sun, 5pm-12midnight. $$$
Blue Reef Fish & Chips
3A-G-20, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong (+604 899 8127/Facebook: Blue-Reef). This fish and chip joint overlooking the Straits Quay marina serves good old fashioned fish and chips and other seafood dishes. Get a glass of white wine to complete your meal.
Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Mon-Fri, 10.30am-10.30pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-10.30pm. $$
NEW Croisette Café
546E Medan Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Bungah (+6016 330 4477). This is the place to come for simple, authentic French food like pork pâté, grilled pork chops with Dijon mustard and French onion soup. There is a daily set lunch at a very friendly price and fresh baked goods like croissants for sale.
Child-friendly. Tue-Sun, 8.30am-3pm, 6-10.30pm. $$ Full of Beans
3A-G-11, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong (+604 899 0621/www.fullofbeans. my).
Full of Beans is all about the coffee. Order the French press or Japanese drip coffee and you can rest assured that it will be a good cuppa as the owners are very aware of where their beans come from and how they’re roasted.
Child-friendly. Mon-Thu, 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-12midnight; Sun, 10am-11pm. $
NEW Kith & Kin
A-G-9, Vantage Desiran Tanjung, Jalan Desiran Tanjung, George Town (+604 898 1813/www.facebook.com/ kithandkin).
It’s alway great finding a café where parents can go for a meal knowing that the kids will be entertained. The Playroom at this café is ideal for keeping little minds and hands busy while mum and dad indulge in the novelty of eating in peace. Hearty, healthy and MSG-free soups, salads and mains cater to every taste and there is a good kids’ menu.
Pork-free. Child-friendly. Daily, 12noon-3pm, 6-10pm. $$
Uncle Albert’s Traditional English Fish and Chips
3A-G-9, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong (+604 890 3407/www.unclealberts. com.my).
Uncle Albert’s signature dish is truly addictive; the extra crispy batter and hand-cut chips make excellent finger food. If fish and chips don’t float your boat, there is also roast chicken, burgers, beef lasagne and a variety of seafood dishes. Child-friendly. Credit cards accepted. Daily, 11am-11pm. $$$
NEW The Big Fat Hen
CHIME Heritage, 9 Jalan Bawasah, George Town (+604 227 7375); Garden Inn, 41 Jalan Anson, George Town; G Inn, 133 Jalan Macalister, George Town (www.facebook.com/ bigfathen).
There are three outlets of this cool café located at the Garden Inn, G Inn and the CHIME Heritage row. The latter has pages from classic books pasted on the wall and an overall kitsch ambience. The witty menu has items like ‘Mary had a little...?’, which is a rich lamb (obviously!) shank dish, while the signature Big Fat Hen is a boneless chicken leg topped with mozzarella and barbecue sauce. There are regular live performances so check their Facebook for updates.
Child friendly. Tue-Sun, 11.30am3pm, 6-11pm. $$
James Foo Western Food
Precinct 10, Jalan Tanjung Bungah, George Town; All Seasons Place, Lebuhraya Thean Teik, Air Itam (+6017 443 1152); 21-A Jalan Fettes, Fettes Park, Tanjung Tokong (+604 899 3671/Facebook: James Foo & Family Fettes Park Western Food). This Penang-founded chain of Western restaurants just celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. The family-friendly eatery is popular for its comfort food served in generous portions – think grilled chicken, salmon fillets and lamb chops. When dining at the Fettes Park outlet, be sure to order the Hainanese spring rolls.
Child-friendly. Mon-Fri, 12noon-3pm, 5-11pm; Sat-Sun, 12noon-11pm. $$
Tree Monkey Restaurant
KOTA's trio crémé bruleé
Purrfect Cat Café
Blue Reef Fish & Chips