With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

George Town: Food Heaven

Posted by Heliocentrism on July 30, 2017

Monday, May 22nd–29th, 2017

Clearly, if you ate more you wouldn’t have his problem.

It wasn’t too long into my visit to Malaysia before it became my new favorite country. I kept asking Mark how he would feel if we lived in KL for a year. I didn’t have too much time to think about what kind of job I could possibly do, before it was time to leave Kuala Lumpur for the northern island of Penang.

I stepped off the boat at the dock in Penang and started to forget all about Kuala Lumpur. I walked down the street and took photos with the street art on the side of buildings. After my first banana leave nasi kandar, Kuala Lumpur was a distant memory. George Town on Penang is where it was at. “It” being all the delicious dishes of Malaysia.

Choosing Dim Sum at Heritage Food Paradise.

We loved the hawker stalls where you can get all sorts of Chinese foods with a Malaysian  flare. We would walk in and take a table. Then we would order food from the different stalls as well as drinks. They would bring us our food and we would pay for our dishes at the table.

We also love the nasi kandar. Mark especially, would order all sorts of combinations of curries. He couldn’t remember the name “nasi kandar” so, he would say, “I want to go to a ‘this and that’ restaurant.” Because, when he ordered his food he would point to things and say, “I’ll take this and that and some of this…”

I preferred the nasi kandar to the hawker stalls, but we ate more at the hawker stalls. The hawker stalls are owned by the people working there. They were very professional and congenial. If they treat their costumers well, they get repeat business and therefor they make more money.

The staff at the nasi kandar, though, were just employees. They get paid whether or not the diners returned. They never put much effort into making patrons feel welcomed. They weren’t out right rude, just passively so, like teenagers. The wait staff would roll their eyes if you took too long to order. They would ignore diners if they didn’t feel like helping them. They were curt to people who they thought didn’t order enough food. Once, at a nasi kandar place 3 grown men argued among themselves as to who had to serve my table.

There are a thousand and one nasi kandar restaurants in George Town, so there was no need to return to any place that had bad service. Mark and I also wanted to eat in as many restaurants as we could. But there a few places we kept going back to. One was the Heritage Food Paradise hawker stalls and the other was Top One Cafe, the only non-rude nasi kandar place.


How to get there:

You can enter by plane, train, bus, boat, and even on foot (from Thailand only).

Most people can get their visas when they arrive for no charge or paperwork. The length of stay differs by the visitor’s nationality. Please check the IDM website.


  • Emergency Numbers:
    • Police and Ambulance 999
    •  Fire 994



  • Travel Guides
  • Uber
    • If you don’t have an account already, get one before you go to Malaysia.





How to get there:

  • You can get there by train, plane, bus, boat, and I even saw someone take a taxi on the ferry.
    • KTMB (bullet train) from KL to Butterworth:
      • 40RM oneway
      • 4 hours
    • The ferry from Butterworth:
      • costs 1.20RM there, but it’s free to return.
      • Runs from 5:30AM – 1:30AM every 15 minutes



  • In George Town there is a free CAT shuttle bus.
  • There is a tour bus called The Penang Hop-On Hop-Off Bus.
    • You can use it to explore the non-George Town area.
    • There are 2 routes:
      • The City Route – Buses come about every 20 minutes from 9:00 – 20:00.
      • The Beach Route – Buses come about every 1 to 2 hours.
        • You really need to look at the schedule when you get off the bus and take note of when the bus returns.
        • You could get stranded on the wrong side of the island, if you are not paying attention to the bus times.
  • The coconut tart is amazing.
  • Enjoy all the delicious food.

Hawker’s Centers

How to get there:

  • Heritage Food Paradise 5.414707, 100.339311
  • Medan Selera Seri Weld 5.417759, 100.342788



  • Everything is more than reasonably priced


  • Some are opened all day.
  • Some are opened only for breakfast, only for lunch, only for dinner, or only for 2 of the 3 daily meals.



  • Service at all the Hawker’s centers were great.

Nasi Kandar Resturants 
(Top One Cafe)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 5.415817, 100.340469


  • 67, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia


  • +60 19-464 7439




  • 7:00 – 21:30



  • Top One Cafe – The food is fantastic with excellent service every time!
  • With some other Nasi Kandar places, the food is great, but sometimes the wait staff can be passively rude, rolling their eyes when you take to long to order foods you’ve never heard of before.
    • Sometimes, they straight up ignore you.
  • Other places include:
    • Restaurant Kassim Mustafa 5.415830, 100.339308
    • Restoran Kapitan 5.416247, 100.338613

Other Non-Food Attractions:

  • Ferringhi Beach
    • It’s a nice beach.
    • Oddly no one but Mark and I were swimming the day we went, making us feel like everyone knew something we didn’t.
    • There isn’t much else to do on the beach side of the island.
  • Fort Cornwallis
    • Overpriced with not much to offer.
    • We just looked at it without going in.
  • Jetties
    • It’s free.
    • It can be a little awkward at times since these are people’s homes.
  • Kek Lok Si Temple
  • Miami Beach
    • If you are using the Hop-on Hop-off bus, this is not worth it, since the buses are 1 to 2 hours apart.
    • It’s rocky and there isn’t even one person selling fruit drinks for miles!
  • Penang Hill
    • If you go, take the train.
    • This would be great if you have kids.
    • It’s okay at best for adults.
    • The food up the hill is not at all over priced.
  • Purrfect Cat Cafe
    • The money they make helps to take care of all the cats.
    • Mark didn’t like it, because we spent most of our time there watching the staff playing with all the cats.
      • Mark wanted to play with some cats, but the staff member wouldn’t let up.
  • Street Art
    • They are everywhere.
    • Try to find them all!
  • The Sun Yat Sen Museum
    • It’s really more of a museum about the museum itself.
  • Trick Art Museums
    • There are figuratively millions of trick art museums on Penang.
    • Choose the one, or two, you want before heading to any.
    • They are Penang themed, movie themed, upside down art, ghost themed, 3D themed, and so on.


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