Georgetown, Penang; Malaysia
Penang used to be called “The Pearl of the Orient” and it is easy to understand why. The island of Penang is beautiful. What an amazing history. The food is to die for and happened to be some of the best street food I have ever eaten in South East Asia.
There are some staple local favourites that should be experienced in Georgetown.
- Char koay teow (stir fried rice noodles and seafood),
- tandoori chicken and naan (in the Indian quarter of the Old Town),
- duck and rice (crispy skinned duck with rice and a spicy duck soup),
- oyster omelette ( a delicious crisp rice pancake with oysters and egg),
- satay skewers with satay sauce,
- Chinese dumplings.
There are a multitude of vendors specialising in these specific dishes, mostly the vendors only do one dish, some do it better than others. Ask at your hotel who is known for doing the best dishes in the area. Local knowledge is key to finding the good eats in the street food world.
Cath and I were staying in the old quarter, centrally located and close to a variety of hawker stalls and restaurants. Just a 300m walk up the road there were multiple food trucks with a myriad of choices for dinner.
We stayed at Noordin Mews Hotel. This is a beautiful hotel with a clean pool in the middle of the courtyard and ample breakfast included in the room rate. All the staff were expert english speakers. It was a treat to stay there. We used Uber and taxis to travel around Penang but to be perfectly honest we walked most everywhere, the city is compact and easily navigated.
For exceptional Indian cuisine we were told about Restoran Kapitan, a 24 hour restaurant in the Indian quarter of old Georgetown. Pictured above is a mutton rogan josh with an onion kulcha.
The food is of excellent quality, it has a high turnover and is always freshly cooked.The menu is extensive and caters to a variety of tastes, halal, vegetarian to name a couple. I would definitely recommend Restoran Kapitan as a go to in Georgetown, Penang.
My recipes for this post are for marinated satay skewers and satay sauce. Enjoy!
Mixed Satay Skewers and Satay Sauce
Thinly sliced pork sirloin, rump or belly OR
Sliced chicken thigh or breast OR
Sliced beef skirt steak OR
a mixture of the 3 (keep separate to marinate though)
Bamboo skewers soaked in cold water for 2 hours
NB: Always slice the meat across the grain. Depending on the size, slide one or two slices onto the soaked skewers.
1 Tblspn oil
2 Tblspn finely chopped lemon grass
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 finely diced shallots or 1/2 an onion finely diced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp sambal oelek
pinch of salt
2 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
Prepare the marinade, pour over the separate meats and leave to marinate for 2-6 hours
1 cup crushed roasted peanuts
2-4 fresh birdseye red chillis, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemongrass
salt to taste
1 Tblspn Kecap Manis
1 tspn fresh galangal (or ginger)
2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tblspn tamarind paste
Chop the peanuts in a food processor or mortar and pestle and set aside. Put all the spice paste ingredients in a food processor or mortar and pestle and mix to a smooth paste.
60ml peanut oil
Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat, add the peanuts and then spice paste, stirring constantly.
Add 1 Cup of water to the peanut and spice mixture and simmer for 5 minutes on a low heat. Serve with the satay skewers along with some coarsely chopped red onion and cucumber.