This will be our first time Aline and I have travelled to Malaysia. To be honest we don't know what to expect when we land, so we have been approaching this with no bias and an open mind. This being primarily a business trip and business is food! And lots of it!
First stop is Penang, which is located about a hour away from the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. What we are really looking for is the national dish, Nasi Lemak. But apparently its "famous" or "best" version isn't found in Penang. Not to fret there are plenty of other famous things to eat here.
Checked in the hotel and had 5 showers (Very humid in Malaysia). We just walked into Gurney Plaza, which is like Melbourne Central.
The eating times are similar to Melbourne, mad rush at 12pm, shops get filled real fast, and you can tell which places are more popular than others. Found a hawker style food court and immediately felt "the" vibe. Which is only found in Melbourne at food festival events such as Queen Victoria night market and the south east asian festival. The potions are quite small so we ordered 3 meals and sat down.
Hearing about it from our customers and its a must try. It tasted fresh, with a fish and tamarind soup base with a slight sour note. With its thick white rice noodles, it went down a treat. I would call it Malaysia's tom yum but with more body to it. It was a great start to brunch.
Next up was Yong Tau Foo. The version we ordered was the soup one. It's freshly made fish balls, seafood mince balls, fried tofu in a flavourful broth, with vegetables and rice vermicelli noodles thrown in for good measure. The textures are so soft and with its opaque white soup broth, its deceitfully flavoursome. Topped with garlic, we enjoyed this a lot.
Lastly we wanted a rice dish and couldn't find nasi lemak in this particular food court. So we settled with claypot rice. This one had braised pork and chicken, made with ginger, belachan, thick caramel sauce and kecap manis (sweet soy sauce). Which gives it that dark and comforting colour when mixed in with the rice. The claypot gives the rice an earthy taste which is nice and also there are crispy bits of rice stuck on the bottom. And i'm a sucker for crispy bits of rice.
The portions are a bit smaller than the average plate in Melbourne. Which means you can eat more in one sitting. So much good food to try we feel like we don't have enough time to sample it all in Penang. We will try our best. Uber is the best way to get around, not the blue and red taxis. This place from first impressions is not as pushy as some other tourist hotspots like Bali or Phuket. Great for us, with our cameras and backpacks we stick out like sticks in the mud. Most locals understand english, making it very easy to get around.
If there are any places we have to go eat. Leave a comment! Next up we line up for the best char kuey teow in all of Penang.