Georgetown Restaurants and Dining

(Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia)

There are as many different ethnic restaurants and styles of dining in Penang as there are ethnicities. Penang is considered the gastronomic capital of Malaysia and Georgetown is the best place to try the distinctive cuisines.

Upscale dining at the city's luxury hotels, with their five-star chefs, is great for special occasions, and most of these restaurants are based in and around the colonial quarter. However, it is certainly not a general rule that the smarter the venue, the better the food. Here in Georgetown, as in the rest of South East Asia, a scruffy exterior may hide a superb eating experience.

What to Eat, and Where

The biggest selection of restaurants and eateries in Georgetown is found in the centre of town, with all pockets and tastes catered for. Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and South American, Malaysian and Western foods are all available, and it has to be said that visitors are known to come to Georgetown just for the food, a spectacular recommendation for the city's chefs.

Malaysian cuisine is as diverse as the multi-cultural nation itself. Many ethnic groups have their own gastronomy, and just as many popular Malaysian dishes are mixtures of various ethnic cuisines. Even the preparation of dishes varies between different regions, although the ingredients used and the recipe itself may be identical.

Georgetown's Chinatown district hosts dining establishments serving specialities from different areas of China, such as Canton, as well as Nonya (Straits Chinese) cuisine, with its full flavours and fresh ingredients. Dim Sum teahouses are everywhere here, and Hokkien and Hainanese dishes are popular. Leith Street features great Indian dining options, as well as typical Japanese restaurants. For food on the go or as a cheaper option, the street stalls serve up delicious Malaysian staples including rice, and the food stalls in the markets pride themselves on quality and affordability, as do the food courts in the malls.

Typical Malaysian dishes available at Georgetown restaurants include 'asam laksa' - a refreshingly sour and spicy fish and tamarind broth using mackerel flakes. Lemongrass, onions and lots of noodles complete the dish, and it is best eaten in Gurney Drive venues. Nonya cuisine is typified by 'acar acar', a type of aromatic, crunchy salad.

More information about Penang restaurants.