Got a hankering to visit Penang, and in search of fresh dining ideas? The Kuan siblings have got you covered with their personal recommendations of some foodie spots across the island.
As loyal Penangites, our digital cover stars — Jestinna, Christinna, and Perry Kuan — are no strangers to the foodie scene. They each have their own expansive list of their favourite dining spots, and are more than happy to share them with us.
Jestinna, as the Kuan sibling who loves trying new things, indulges in both the pleasures of local delights and the latest flavours in Western food. Christinna, on the other hand, is a huge fan of chicken rice, and would be satiated as long as she can have a helping of it once a day.
“I can have chicken rice every day,” Christinna confides, with a congenial laugh. “As long as I can go to any hawker stall for chicken rice, my day would be complete. I’d be a happy girl.”
The youngest Kuan sibling, Perry, has a penchant for Japanese food. He is an ‘anything goes’ kind of guy who tends to play by his own rules, and so this attitude comes with a keen palate for great eats. Perry always expresses a readiness to try new food places.
From their favourite cafés to the lunch joints they like to frequent, we get a glimpse of the Kuans’ personal guide to dining in Penang. Read on for a list of guilty-pleasure dishes that the Kuan siblings would definitely recommend to anyone who’s planning to visit the ‘foodie paradise’ island soon.
Christinna Kuan’s Penang Food Guide
For poached chicken: May Fong Restaurant
[Image credit: Ken Hunts Food]
Take it from the chicken rice connoisseur herself. When asked where she likes to go for lunch, Chrstinna’s top recommendation for the best chicken rice is at May Fong Restaurant. As it is located on the mainland side in Butterworth, as opposed to the island, May Fong Restaurant is a good place to stop by on your way to the island or on your way back home. May Fong has built its reputation as one of Butterworth’s few good restaurants that offer bai qie ji, or poached chicken dish, and is a long-time favourite of the locals.
May Fong Restaurant is located at 4562, Jalan Kampung Benggali, Kampung Benggali, 12000 Butterworth, Pulau Pinang.
For roasted chicken and duck: Sin Nam Huat
[Image credit: @angelakang0502 on Instagram]
Christinna simply couldn’t resist adding yet another chicken rice recommendation, this time located on the island itself: Sin Nam Huat. Famously known as the ‘Roasted Chicken and Duck Rice Restaurant’, Sin Nam Huat has been hailed as the best Penang joint for those two particular dishes by both locals and visitors alike. While you would naturally come here for the roasted chicken and duck, many customers also enjoy the taste of the ‘chai boey’ (stew soup) so much that they often come by just to have it on its own.
Sin Nam Huat is located at No. 388, Wayton Court, Jalan Burma, George Town, 10350 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
For comfort food: KAFKA Coffee
Located along Kelawei Road, KAFKA Coffee is where locals would recommend for both sweet and savoury delights away from the touristy crowd. While Christinna particularly loves the aglio olio dish, KAFKA Coffee holds an impressive display of cakes as well as light bites, and not forgetting a range of teas and coffees for you to unwind after a nice, long meal. If you’d like to have your lunch here as well, KAFKA offers breakfast, lunch and dinner meals that are comfort food galore, such as French toast, sweet potato salads, and pasta.
KAFKA Coffee is located at 15, Jalan Kelawai, George Town, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
For dessert: Norm
When the meal is done, Christinna recommends stopping by Norm Café for dessert. Her favourite is the tiramisu, though Norm offers a range of sweet treats, as well as an extensive list of teas and coffees for the caffeine addicts. Nestled in Lebuh Carnarvon and hidden away from the hustle and bustle, Norm is a charming café that’s bright and cheery during the day, and wears a different identity at night. As soon as the sun sets, Norm the café morphs into Noct, and its baristas turn to bartenders as the desserts are given a boozy twist.
Norm is located at 260c, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Jestinna Kuan’s Penang Food Guide
For local cuisine: 77 restaurant
[Image credit: Penang365.com]
For Jestinna’s choice of local cuisine, she opts for 77 restaurant, a place on Gurney Drive in George Town that has made its name as home of the best fish head curry in Penang. Offering a Nyonya-style curry with thick gravy that packs a good punch, 77 restaurant remains a go-to place for locals and visitors alike for good, comfort-food type of fish head curry. Besides that, the restaurant also offers one-of-a-kind dishes such as plum sauce chicken and fried chicken in belacan (shrimp paste).
77 restaurant is located at 77 D, Gurney Drive, 10250 George Town, Penang.
For a coffee break: Macallum Connoisseurs Coffee Company
While Jestinna is more than satisfied with just water, she does enjoy a cup of latte for herself every now and then. Her favourite spot for a good cup of coffee is Macallum Connoisseurs, located on Lebuh Macallum and is also known as the largest café in Penang for coffeeholics. If you’re someone who is serious about coffee, then this is definitely the place for you. Macallum Connoisseurs that serves good old authentic coffee as well as foods, including your traditional breakfast, seafood, steaks and pasta.
Macallum Connoisseurs Coffee Company is located at 1, Gat Lebuh Macallum, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Perry Kuan’s Penang Food Guide
For breakfast: Toh Soon Café
[Image credit: @yw.bagelicious on Instagram]
Perry’s all-time favourite thing to have first thing in the morning is a classic kopitiam breakfast: toast with eggs, against the nostalgic vibe of a hustling, bustling coffee shop on the vibrant streets of the island. Known for its rich Hainan-style coffee and charcoal toasted bread, the famous Toh Soon Café is perpetually packed and crowded. So, it’s a good idea to get there bright and early to avoid having to queue for a long time.
Toh Soon Café is located at Lebuh Campbell, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
For Japanese cuisine: Hachiban Izakaya Kelawei Road
As a lover of Japanese food, Perry cites Hachiban Izakaya Kelawei Road as his go-to place for good yakitori in Penang. Offering more than just drinks and pub snacks, Hachiban Izakaya embodies that of the traditional Japanese izakaya — a casual spot to chill out with friends after work, similar to that of a Spanish tapas bar. You can find almost anything on the menu that you could want from a Japanese restaurant, from sashimi and sushi to ramen, soba and all the noodles you can name. But Perry’s favourite dish there is the yakitori, or grilled meat skewers, carefully prepared and smothered with a sauce that’s equally sweet and savoury to the taste.
Hachiban Izakaya Kelawei Road is located at 32, Jalan Kelawai, Georgetown, 10250 George Town, Penang.
For a hearty meal: Roku
Although it is fondly known as ‘The Taco Bar’, Perry’s go-to meal at Roku is its rice bowls, specifically the Tamago Ebiko Don. Generous in its offering and with a range of flavours to choose from, you may get a little overwhelmed when choosing your meal. But as they say, the more the merrier! And Roku has plenty to offer: rice bowls, tacos, small bites such as popcorn chicken and tamagoyaki, as well as sinful desserts including pavlova, churros and tiramisu. Are we making your mouth water yet? Be sure to add Roku to your list of places to visit in Penang.
Roku is located at 100, Lebuh Kimberley, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
[Hero image/Featured image: @jestinna]
Find out more about Jestinna, Christinna and Perry Kuan in the latest issue of LSA Digital Cover Vol. 003 HERE.