Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

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Penang Food Guide: Where to find the best food in Penang!

Throngs of people have raved about Penang as the food capital of Malaysia. The stories of every place having good char kway teow or nasi kandar in Penang is a common perception, which I’m inclined to agree – I personally had like 8 char kway teow from different coffee shops and they’re all better than what I had in Brunei – I also had a lot of Lor Mee,  Prawn Mee (Hockien Mee), Curry Mee and Nasi Kandar – and I narrowed it down to a selected few for those who have a shorter time in Penang. The good news is – all of them are within walking distance from Tune hotel (a strategic yet affordable hotel to stay in if you book in advance and during promotion period!). A tourist friendly Penang Food Guide! If you want to know where are the best places to eat in Penang – this is where you will find it!


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The map below is good for waking up in the morning at 7:30am – start walking from Tune hotel at 8am. You will be able to visit Khoo Kong Si and Peranakan Mansion for sight seeing. After that I recommend taking a taxi to Penang Road for good Assam Laksa and Cendol. (to save time walking back). Get ready to savour some of the best food in Penang!



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I will also plot a walking guide with the use of google maps to help you find your way around. Yes – an easy food guide written from the perspective of your Bruneian Foodie. Be ready to eat your way around the clock! It’s a good idea to share your food so your stomachs can handle so much food in one go! Are you ready?! You can head out as soon as it’s 8am from your hotel. One tip is to not travel to Penang on a weekend – you will spend too much time queuing for the food. In my opinion – it’s BEST to arrive on Tuesday night for supper – then wake up early on Wednesday to begin this food trail.


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Our first stop is the famous Kedai Kopi Siew Fong Lye, along Mcallister lane, where you will get to eat the Penang style Cheong Fun by Mdm Lim Mei Fung, the sauce she uses reminds me of the Lee Loi Fatt rojak sauce!


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At the same stall, you can also order the stir fried spicy Kuey Kak, melt in your mouth soft radish cakes by the three Eoh Sisters – which comes recommended by the famous AXIAN.


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To get there – turn left as you step out of Tune hotels – keep walking until you see Mcallister Lane (after you walk past Mekio home furnishing, you will see lorong Kinta – Mcallister lane is after that). Check the map for a more detailed view.


Address:

Kedai Kopi Seow Fong Lye
94C, Lorong Macalister,
11400 Penang, Malaysia

Opens from early morning till noon but some days the cheong fun might run out before 12pm.


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After finishing your light breakfast, it’s time for something heavier. Move along Burma road, pass Penang road (don’t turn into Penang road) and walk straight along Jalan DR Lim Chwee Leong till you see Lebuh Carnavon, turn in until you see the junction to Jalan Cheong Fatt Tze and you will see Guang Xing Restaurant (this is going to be quite a walk – about 10-13 minutes depending on your speed). Check the map below for more details!

Address: The corner of Jalan Cheong Fatt Tze and Lebuh Carnavon junction. Be there before 10:30 am if possible.


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This Uncle’s Hockien Mee (prawn noodles) are very good! Even media from China has taken notice of him! Some claim his prawn noodles are the most authentic – dating back to the 1960s!


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The Hockien Mee’s soup has a good prawn taste, with the added goodness of springy pork belly and shredded chicken. DELICIOUS!


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This shop is also famous for their good kopi tiam kopi made by this uncle over here. A lot of people like to just come here for a cup of KOPI O and Har Mi


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What a way to wake up! Good coffee and Har Mee~~ I am now more energized to continue to my next destination – the good news? It’s just RIGHT ACROSS THE ROAD! Walk across the road and look for PING HOOI Kopitiam – and you will see TIGER CHAR KWAY TEOW ~


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Out of the 8 char kway teow places – I would recommend Tiger Char Kway Teow as one of the must try!


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The price is cheap and the duck eggs really penetrate into the noodles and prawns! Super yummy can! Nom nom nom nom nom~~


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They also sell duck leg mee sua in Ping Hooi if you fancy something herbal and soupy ~~ I find the duck leg a bit tough though. Order this only if you never tried herbal soup duck and curious how it tastes like or you just simply love herbal soup. Otherwise – keep your tummy space for more food to come! 

Address:

Ping Hooi Coffee Shop
Carnarvon Street
10300 Penang

Opens daily: 8am to 2:30 pm

Below is map from McAllister Lane to Lebuh Carnavon for Guang Xing and Ping Hooi

 


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The next destination is the famous Lor Mee at Lebuh Ah Quee. Just walk up along Lebuh Carnavon as seen in the map until you see Lebuh Ah Quee – turn in and you will find Lean Thye kopitiam. For those who feel you need some time to digest your food – you can pop over to Khoo Kong Si for some sight seeing.


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Khoo Kong Si beautiful architecture – One of the must visit tourist attractions in Penang


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It’s a good place to check out the beautiful sculptures and architectural designs of the KHOO Clan then pop over to Lean Thye for Lor Mee ~~ Be sure to check out some wall art along the way

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Seriously who can resist such a sinful thick syrupy goodness! SLURPALICIOUS!


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My tummy is seriously growling as I’m typing this post – remembering the delicious Lor Mee ~~ oh god why!?! The things I have to suffer for the benefit of my readers!

Address:

Lean Thye Coffee Shop
Ah Quee Street
Penang

Opens from 7am till around 10am (closed on Sundays or special public holidays)

Below is map from Ping Hooi to Khoo Kong Si and then to Lean Thye for Lor Mee



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After the delicious Lor Mee – walk towards the end of Lebuh Ah Quee and turn towards the direction of the Fire Station along Jalan Pantai (refer to map). You will see the restaurant which serves good Ngau Chap (beef noodles) and Oyster Omelet: Lam Ah Kopitiam

Address:

Lam Ah Kopitiam
Junction of Lebuh Pantai & Lebuh Chulia
Penang

Opens from 10.30am to 4.30pm
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays

Map below: Directions from Lean Thye to Lam Ah Kopitiam and then to Peranakan Mansion

 


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Oh look at those delicious beef from different parts of the cow! Beef brisket, beef tendon and beef tripe! *drools*


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A good clear beef soup with all the spare parts – my fav being the beef tendons ~~ gelatinous yumness! The soup is pretty different from the famous Sabah Kah Heong – it’s slightly sweeter and less saltier. Another plus is that they used the silky soft hor fun ~~ which is one of my favourite noodles for soups~~ slurps slurps!


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I ordered a crispy version of the oyster omelet – notice the amount of oil to deep fry the batter and eggs to guarantee a crispy goodness!


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The chef will then stir fry the oysters separately with spicy sauce and raging flames ~~


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The crispy batter is pretty good but be wary that the oysters are the smaller version – those used to eating oyster omelet might think they’re too small! Personally – I like the crispy texture of the batter but I felt the oyster omelet has not satisfied me – I am sure there are better ones in Penang within walking distance that I could try! Perhaps my next trip!

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Visit to the Peranakan Mansion – the famous series My Little Nonya has filmed here before. The boss has bought over this mansion and restored it while adding his own personal collection of antiques! This also makes it to my list of must visit Penang Tourist Attractions


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Let’s watch the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE or WORLD CUP!

This concludes the morning session of the Penang Walking Post – at this stage – I suggest taking a cab to Penang Road’s Joo Hoi Café for some good Assam Laksa and the famous Penang Road Cendol – They also serve Kway Teow but I would give it a pass – it’s a very good kway teow – but it’s not my top two!


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You had to queue and if you wish to eat the Cendol inside Joo Hoi – you will need to pay 50 cents. Otherwise – just stand around and eat like everyone else! I personally find this very fun to do!


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People like to overload their cendol but I like mine just red bean and cendol with coconut milk – simple yet very delicious! Oh YES! ONE MORE PLEASE!


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The famous Penang road Assam Laksa – is the favourite of many who travelled all over the world to eat this – especially the women. There’s just something about that magical spicy and sour soupy goodness that seduces them. I personally prefer richer creamier Kuching and Singapore Laksa ~~~ I can already hear many female readers screaming “HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE ASSAM LAKSA?" as they read this ~~

Considering the distance to travel back – I would suggest taking a cab (around 10-15rm depending on cab driver) as it should be hot by this hour – around 1:30 to 2 pm. After finishing your Assam Laksa and Cendol cravings – you can stop by Ming Xiang Tai Pastry on the way back to hotel for some good Chinese pastries and special drinks.


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They have pretty good egg tarts and crispy kaya puff pastries plus other savoury pastries.


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They also got fancy drinks like these to cool you down after all that long walk!


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Personally – I love cooling down my way – with black tou fu far and gula melaka syrup ~~ ooooh heaven! After this you can walk back to your hotel for a nap or you could go to Perangin Mall which is just opposite Joo Hooi. Bon Appetit! Look at the map below for directions from Joo Hooi to this delicious pastry shop!



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We finished our trip around tea time at Starbucks which is next to Tunes hotel. To begin part II – we will start around night time around 8pm – after a good rest at the hotel. Just near the hotel along the same street – next to the Pastry shop Ming Xiang Tai restaurant is the famous Old Green House restaurant, specializing in Hokkien Mee (Prawn Noodles) and Loh Mee.

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What’s interesting about this restaurant is that you can Jia Liao (add toppings) to your noodles.


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As you can see – there are lots of toppings for you to choose to enhance your dining experience.


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Hmm – so much to choose – wonder what should I pick?


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Their Hokkien mee has a nice bright red colour and be wary of their chili paste – it’s very spicy so don’t add too much at once or it will spoil your soup! Only add bit by bit and taste test. It has a pretty good prawn flavour.


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I must say their Lor Mee is pretty good – especially with pork toppings. I opted for roasted pork and loved the combination!


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You simply cannot say no to this Lor Mee! Delicious!

Old Green House Restaurant (老青屋)
223 Burma Road
Opens from 8pm to 4am (Closed on Sundays)

 

On the next agenda – it’s going to be a heavy dinner/supper. I was told that Penang serves the BEST Nasi Kandar ever! So this would be a good time to enjoy your last meal of the day. I have a friend who tells me that every Nasi Kandar stall is good in Penang – but there’s bound to be a favourite or THE BEST stall. After research – I narrowed it down to Nasi Kandar Beratur, Nasi Kandar Kassem and Nasi Kandar Line Clear. Out of the three – the winner is Nasi Kandar Line Clear which is very popular, it even has a wall of famous people who had eaten here – including the great Anthony Bourdain himself!

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Line Clear Nasi Kandar is quite a walk from Old Green House – perhaps 11-13 minutes walk – which is good to build up a good appetite! There’s quite a lot of choices and believe me – the food is worth all the walk!


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Line clear opens 24 hours but I must say to avoid the place during peak hours or you’ll have to queue for quite a long time. It’s situated at a hallway at Jalan Penang Road and Lebuh Chulia. Coming here on weeknights ensures you don’t have to queue so long.


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You simply queue and then make your orders – you’ll be spoiled for choice as they have various seafood, beef, lamb and chicken – cooked in various spices and sauces. You can also choose what type of rice you would like. I opted for the briyani but white rice is a better choice as you can taste the different sauces better!


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A price list of their available menu – they are pretty generous with their portions unlike certain Nasi Kandar restaurants in Brunei, which are very stingy with their portions.


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I ordered their honey chicken, curry squid and ladies fingers with briyani rice – and make sure you tell them to ‘sauce banjir’ which means a flood of sauces – basically they will add a bit of a few sauces from different dishes to your rice – which gives a different taste at different bite – since there’s a lot of sauces added to your dish. What can I say about the Nasi Kandar? SIMPLY THE BEST NASI KANDAR I’ve EVER tasted – the best part? You just won’t get tired of it! I could finish two plates of the rice on my own if I wasn’t so full from the food hunt! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED place for a heavy dinner or supper! SI BEH HOR CHIAK! Puts the Brunei Nasi Kandars to shame!

The map below shows walking directions from Tunes Hotel to Old Green House and then to Nasi Kandar Line Clear. You can walk back to hotel for a good night rest for good food the next morning!


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After a good night’s rest – it’s time to wake up for some more Hokkien Mee! For breakfast – we’re going to have my favourite one in the whole Penang trip. It’s Ah Soon Kor’s Mantis Prawn Hokkien Mee. What’s special about his one is that he added Mantis Prawns! He deep fries the mantis prawns and uses the oil to flavour the soup.


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Oh what a good way to start your day! Watching the young boss fixing my delicious bowl of Har Mee ~~


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Would you look at those deep fried mantis prawns and roasted pork! OMG! How can you not fall in love with this! *SLURPS SLURPS SLURPS* SATU LAGI PLEASE! They open at 7am but do come here early morning as it’s only sold until it runs out – on a busy day – you might even need to queue or wait!


Ah Soon Kor Har Mee
Sin Kim San Coffee Shop
Jalan Rangoon (off Macalister Road)
Opens from 7am to 1pm daily or until sold out!


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After the delicious Mantis Prawn Noodles – it’s time for some Curry Mee – the most famous one is the Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee.

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It’s just a short walk from our previous location – less than 5 minutes walk. Just walk along McAllister Road till you see Lebuh Naning – turn in and you will find the famous Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee.


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One of the special thing about Curry Mee is their use of pig’s blood ~ look at the blocks of delicious goodness!


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There should be a small metal jar of chili paste for you to add to your Curry Mee. Hmm ~~ itakimasu! Nom nom ~~


Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee

Between Lebuh Naning and Lorong Seratus Tahun

Opens from 7:30 am till 2pm

Map below shows directions from Ah Soon Kor Hokkien mee to Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee



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Are you feeling full already?! There’s still more to come! My initial trip was to go to Hot Bowl White Curry Mee along Lorong Abu Siti  but I stumbled upon a busy Dim Sum place – I had to stop and try it!


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Prosperous Dim Sum restaurant is packed with people even on a weekday!


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They have quite a lot of choices for you to choose!


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All sorts of steamed buns


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What caught my attention was this braised pork belly bun! OMG HEAVEN!


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Loads of fried dim sums and pastries


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Bacon wrapped shrimp dim sum ~~ another one that caught my eye! How can you say no to bacon!? Simply delicious laaaa~~~ #baconlover LOL


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Oh my Pai Kut (braised spare ribs) *DROOOLSSS*


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Nestum Prawn rolls are very delicious too!


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Did I mention their Liu Shar Bao (salted yolk custard buns) are simply ooozing custard goodness! OMG! YES YES YES!!!

Prosperous Dim Sum Restaurant (seriously cheap and nice Penang dim sum)

Along Lorong Abu Siti

Not too sure about the opening hours but should be early morning till noon

Now let’s go have the famous Penang WHITE CURRY MEE from Hot Bowl Restaurant. What’s interesting about Hot Bowl is that the curry is white colour!


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See? I no kidding you right? This is because you add the curry paste yourself accordingly!


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I did not add too much as I don’t really want to over power my tastebuds. Add the chili paste – then stir ..


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Oooh La la ~~ Curry Mee is now ready to be served – I actually like their pigs blood – should had asked for extra pigs blood!


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Hot Bowl is also famous for their Chicken Rice – which is pretty good but I’m not overly impressed. Can skip if you’re too full from all the dim sum!


Hot Bowl White Curry Mee

16-A, Lorong Abu Siti, 10400, Penang. 

Opens from 8am to 3pm; Closed on Mondays.

Map below shows directions from Lorong Seratus Tahun Curry Mee to Properous Dim Sum then to Hot Bowl White Curry Mee


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Last but not least of our makan trip is the famous Heng Huat Café’s at Lorong Selamat’s Char Kway Teow. In my opinion – this place has the best Penang char kway teow I had ever tasted. Out of the 8 stalls – this place tops my list and I must say it’s simply heavenly!

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The famous two sisters who have attitude and will not give face to customers one! Be prepared to queue! I was very lucky as I arrived at non-peak hour to eat the famous Char Kway Teow.


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She was not rude or unfriendly towards me and was in a cheerful mood on that day!


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Her Char Kway Teow is fried using charcoal fire – which achieves a higher heat than conventional gas flames ensuring a good wok hei (caramelization) of the rice noodles!


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I must admit – initially I thought only one plate was sufficient as I had eaten soooo much already – but my dear readers – the kway teow simply melts in your mouth – the prawns perfectly cooked and the lap cheong matches really well with the kway teow! I had never tasted such a perfect kway teow before! I ordered another big plate – and finished it happily! I can declare that this is the BEST char kway teow in Penang – CHAMPION of KWAY TEOW in Penang! Heaven on a plate I must say!


Kafe Heng Huat
108 Lorong Selamat
Opens from 11.30am to 6pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Map below shows road from Hot Bowl Curry Mee to Heng Huat Kafe


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After all that meal – it’s time to sit down for a good cup of coffee and chillax a bit. A bit of research online shows Stigun Coffee Shop along Jalan Nagor – where you can admire a lot of beautiful heritage style restaurants and cafes.


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There’s a lot more cafes and restaurants to explore here – mostly modern or western fusion restaurants!


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The interior décor has a very nostalgic heritage feel to it.


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Various tea and coffee making tools and mini bicycles


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More bicycles ~~


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Old school coffee grinders  ~~~ indeed ~~~ *inserts 60s song*


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I ordered 'Crash Coffee’ which is similar to Greek coffee in which you let the coffee grounds settle down before you take your sip – and at the bottom of the coffee will be a lot of leftover powdery coffee which you shouldn’t drink. Very good coffee ~~ notice the coffee oils collecting on the rim of this mug.


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Simply beautiful simple latte ~~ *sips* oooo smoooth~~


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Serve with good Tiramisu ~~~


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and good old cinnamon buns ~~~ sedap! Crispy pastry like texture on the outside I must say!


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A key to their good coffee? They hand pick the good coffee beans before roasting them! Quality assurance! It’s a good ending to my Penang food hunt!


Stigun Café

Jalan Nagor

Opens from 8am till 9pm

Closes on Mondays

Map below shows directions from Kafe Heng Huat to Stigun Cafe


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That concludes my Penang Yummy Trail! Of course – there are a lot of other places to go – if you hire a car or take a taxi! This guide is good for those who like to explore Penang on foot. You should take a cab or hire a car if you are staying for a few more days. Check out places like Air Hitam, Batu Ferringhi and Gurney Drive – but that’s for my other Penang post. I hope my Penang food guide was useful for anyone who wishes to travel and dine in Penang on a budget!


Map below shows the overall directions of Day 2 Penang Food Hunt


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