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A Food Lover's Guide to Penang

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The Malaysian island of Penang is a former British trading post and a melting pot of ethnicities and religions, having attracted migrants from Asia, the Middle East, and Europe over the last six centuries. This rich mix of cultures is most evident in its cuisine, which combines elements from China, India, and the Malay peninsula. Read on for our guide on how to make the best of your visit. —Robin Eckhardt
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Lorong Baru, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Come evening, Lorong Baru (New Lane) heaves with locals and tourists grazing from 20 or so hawker stalls. Try the noodle and curry-based mee lemak made with coconut milk, and rojak (fruit and vegetable “salad” with black shrimp paste...
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225, Jalan Macalister, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Immigrants from the Indian state Tamil Nadu brought banana-leaf rice, served all day at this casual spot. Expect a vegetarian meal of rice, curry (called “gravy” in Malaysia), and sides such as daal, cabbage sautéed in turmeric,...
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18, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
The long lines are justified at this family-run spot, which serves Teochew and Nyonya fare, both of which have Chinese roots: pomfret steamed with sour plums, tomatoes, and ginger; potato leaves fried with shrimp paste and chilies; and gulai tumis...
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179, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Penang’s ubiquitous char kway teow—rice noodles stir-fried with prawns, egg, bean sprouts, and Chinese chives, and chili—is at its best at this busy hawker stall in George Town. Save room for the dry wonton mee (noodles) tossed...
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Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
The Kopi-C espresso café serves coffee, baked goods, and meals in Penang's mixed-use ChinaHouse complex. —Robin Eckhardt

This appeared in the May/June 2017 issue.
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106, Lebuh Campbell, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
The most endearing feature of this cozy, 12-room retreat, located in the heart of Chinatown, is the warm service offered by its Malaysian-Italian owners.
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Stewart Ln, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tucked behind the Goddess of Mercy temple in 19th-century houses, Seven Terraces offers both top-notch service and a sense of place. The 14 suites and two apartments are decorated with Peranakan antiques.
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Lebuh Armenian, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Now in its eighth year, this summertime celebration of the arts features exhibits, installations, theater, dance, and music by Malaysian and international artists. July 28-Sept. 3. (georgetownfestival.com) —Robin Eckhardt
This appeared in the...
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Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
This small museum offers a primer on the history of the island’s Peranakan population—descendants of marriages between local women and Hokkien traders from China’s Fujian province. —Robin Eckhardt

This appeared in the...