1. Travel
Send to a Friend via Email

Where to Eat in Georgetown, Penang

Finding the Best Food Courts, Restaurants, and Street Carts in Georgetown

By

Red Garden food court in Georgetown, Penang

Red Garden - one of the massive food courts in Georgetown, Penang

Image © Greg Rodgers, licensed to About.com

The food in Georgetown, Penang is legendary - there is simply no place else in the world where such a mix of cultures have contributed their culinary influences to one cause. Chinatown, Little India, hawker stalls and food courts - the multitude of choices for eating in Georgetown is delightfully overwhelming.

Read about Penang food, then use this guide for where to find the best restaurants in Georgetown!

Food Courts

Although hawker stalls can be found scattered across the city, sometimes it is more convenient to have all the options under one roof. Perfect for grazing from cart to cart, Georgetown's sprawling food courts contain dozens of hawker foods with centralized seating.

  • New World Park: This failed amusement park was given a new life as Georgetown's best food court. Scores of Penang specialties such as mee rebus and hokkien mee can be found under one massive roof for street prices. Each food counter is clearly labeled with what local dish can be purchased. The New World Park is located in the northwest of the city at the junction of Burma Road and Swatow Lane.
  • Red Garden: The Red Garden is a little grungier and more hectic than the New World Park, but the convenient location on Jalan Penang is worth the extra effort. A confusing array of carts and counters serve up excellent fare for prices cheaper than those found in restaurants. The Red Garden is an excellent place to find lok-lok, assam laksa, rojak, and other classics as well as Thai, sushi, and even Filipino food. The Red Garden opens for dinner at 4:30 p.m.
  • Sri Weld Food Court: This concrete-floored food court is cheap and simple, but the food is excellent. Find Sri Weld on the eastern tip of Georgetown between Lebuh Pantai and Pengkalan Weld.
  • Cebil Market Food Court: This classic food court is located on Lebuh Cecil southeast of the city center. Cecil Market is a good place to try laksa, char kway teow, and roast duck. The food court is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Street Food in Penang

Some of the best and cheapest food in Georgetown is found at the numerous stalls dotted along the streets. Approaching busy hawker carts on the street can be a little intimidating to the uninitiated. Don't worry, the proprietors are friendly and the food is safe - otherwise they would not last long in a place like Georgetown!

Although street food is omnipresent around the city, here are the most popular places to score a cheap meal:

  • Gurney Drive: The coastal esplanade along Persiaran Gurney just north of Georgetown is perhaps the most famous scene for street food in Southeast Asia. Scores of carts line the coastal walk. Many locals opt for other places, complaining that Gurney's fame has boosted prices. Gurney drive is too far to walk from the city center - transport is required. Read more about getting around Georgetown. The food on Gurney Drive starts around 6 p.m.
  • Chinatown: The streets of Chinatown come alive at night with carts selling noodles, dumplings, and treats on skewers. Head to Lebuh Kimberly and adjoining streets; the food is so authentic that English is rarely found on the signs! Lebuh Chulia's tourist strip is an easy place to find stuffed dumplings, lok-lok, and local favorites from English-speaking hawkers.

Read more about Malaysian noodle dishes found in Chinatown. Or find out about Malaysian street food.

Restaurants in Georgetown, Penang

Georgetown is host to scores of restaurants ranging from open-air places with concrete floors to swanky hotel restaurants offering fine dining.

  • Upper Penang Road: The north end of Jalan Penang is home to a strip of pricey restaurants and bars where you will find tapas, patio dining, and sushi.
  • Nagore Place: Nagore Place is in the northeast of Georgetown at the junction of Lebuh Chulia and Lebuh King. A beautiful strip of colonial-era buildings houses restaurants serving Indian, Malay, Thai, and Western food. The area is popular on weekends and stays open late.

Malaysian Indian Food and Mamak Stalls

Healthy Malaysian Indian food served on banana leaves can be found in restaurants around Little India. Head to Lebuh Pasar and Lebuh Penang - when you hear blaring Bollywood music from speakers on the street you are in the right place!

The best, 24-hour Mamak eatery outside of Little India is Khaleel Restaurant on Jalan Penang near the corner of touristy Lebuh Chulia. Khaleel's is the best place in Georgetown for trying chapati, murtabak, and other Tamil specialties.

Directory for Penang Food

After reading about Penang food specialties, finding local classics when you want them can be challenging. Here are some quick suggestions from locals for good places to find favorites:

Hokkien Mee

  • Red Garden Cafe Food Court: north Jalan Penang; open 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Street carts along Lebuh Kimberly; night only

Assam Laksa

  • Joo Hooi Cafe: 475 Jalan Penang; open noon to 5 p.m.
  • Gurney Drive Esplanade: Persiaran Gurney; food served after 6 p.m.
  • Cecil Market Food Court: Lebuh Cecil; open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mee Rebus

  • Red Garden Cafe Food Court
  • Street cart at the corner of Lebuh Campbell and Jalan Penang

Nasi Kandar

  • Nasi Kandar Line Clear, junction of Jalan Penang and Jalan Chulia; open 24 hours
  • Khaleel Restaurant: north end of Jalan Penang; open 24 hours
  • Hameediyah Restaurant: Lebuh Campbell; open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Lok-Lok

  • All food courts
  • Street cart on tourist strip of Lebuh Chulia; open night only

Rojak and Cendol

  • Red Garden Cafe Food Court
  • Gurney Drive Esplanade: Persiaran Gurney; food served after 6 p.m.

Chinese Duck

  • Sky Restaurant: located inside the Sky Hotel on Lebuh Chulia; lunch only
  • Fatty Loh Chicken Rice: Nagore Place; open late

Fried Oysters

  • Kedai Kopi Seng Thor: 160 Lebuh Carnavon; open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Red Garden Cafe Food Court

Seafood

  • Weld Quay Seafood: 18 Weld Quay; open for dinner
  • Red Garden Cafe Food Court
  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. Southeast Asia Travel
  4. Malaysia
  5. Malaysian Culture & People
  6. Where to Eat in Georgetown, Penang

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.