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Auntie Gaik Lean’s
Said to be the centre of Peranakan heritage – the Chinese-Malay melange frequently known as “Straits Chinese” – there’s no better place than Penang to sample some good old-fashioned Nyonya cuisine. Stemming from the Malay word for “auntie”, Nyonya cooking is the result of blending Chinese ingredients with distinct spices and cooking techniques used by the Malay community. At Auntie Gake Lean’s, expect the usual crowd pleasers from kari kapitan – the ubiquitous chicken curry, made with kaffir-lime leaves and coconut milk – to an array of kerabu salad dishes.
- + 60 17 434 4398
China House is set over three heritage buildings, linked by an open-air courtyard, that has given it the reputation as the longest café in Penang. Inside, there are 14 different spaces that comprise shops, cafés, a restaurant, galleries, a live music area and a bakery. Here, over 30 different types of cake are made on a daily basis, making the café so popular that over 7,000 slices are sold each month. With a roster of events, you could easily spend a full day here. We suggest grabbing a glass of wine, a slice of cake and settling in in the library.
- +60 4 263 7299
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New Cathay Kopitiam
Best known for its killer breakfasts, New Cathay Kopitiam is a hawker centre and local favourite, thanks to its array of stalls that serve a number of crowd pleasers from wan tan noodles to curry mee and more. Bustling from the first bowls of koay chiap – braised duck noodle soup – that are served at 8am to well after lunch, get there early to avoid disappointment.
- +60 16 452 1378
The Saw Emporium
Housed inside a 1950s art-deco, industrial-heritage building on Macallum Road, The Saw Emporium has been transformed into a hipster multi-concept dining spot. Offering a little bit of everything, from craft beers to Japanese fare, bakeries and juice bars, if you’re only going to visit once, head to Norm Café, a coffee shop by day (with delicious waffles) and a cocktail bar called Noct by night. Around happy hour, the baristas turn into bartenders and serve killer concoctions alongside boozy desserts.
One Corner Café
Located directly behind the iconic Penang Plaza, One Corner Café is a hawker centre that begins to fill up as early as 8am. A bustling hotspot right up until tea time, head straight to Super Hokkien Mee, a local favourite that has been serving the noodle dish for decades. Other dishes not to be missed are the flavourful plates of char kway teow (fried noodles) and, at tea time, the delicious cubes of yam cake, known as kueh.
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