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Visit Penang, Malaysia, for Culinary Delight

The lobby of the G Hotel in Penang boasts sleek, upbeat decor.
The lobby of the G Hotel in Penang boasts sleek, upbeat decor.
Photo by Michael Reiss

Go North from Kuala Lumpur and Explore Penang.

Penang is a UNESCO World heritage sight. Malaysia's colonial period is depicted in the restored homes and government buildings of George Town, while the beach resorts attract an international clientele, who play and often stay, making this island their second home.

Try the savory and exotic food of Penang, Malaysia.

The diverse cuisines found everywhere from food courts in shopping malls, to coffee shops, to hawker stalls to restaurants, reflects the wide variety of racial and ethnic groups that comprise the country.

Most hawker stalls and menus will feature items from the Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and Western culinary traditions, all under one roof. This cornucopia of cuisine is readily available at all price points--- from dawn until midnight--- in almost every neighborhood.

Some of the specialties include:

•Satay is a skewered stick of chicken, lamb, beef or veggies barbecued over a charcoal fire. Served with spicy,sweet peanut sauce, Satay usually comes with cucumber and onion. Although you find it served in other countries, the Malay version is particularly succulent.

•Nasi Kandar. This is an Indian-Muslim creation. This is a meal of steamed rice and various accompanying curry dishes rich in spices.

•Char Kuey Teow. This is Penang's signature dish, which consists of a plate of flat white rice noodles, stir-fried and tossed with prawns, egg, Chinese sausage, cockles, bean sprouts and chives.

Hokkien Mee. Brought here by immigrants from the Fujian province in China, this dish in Kuala Lumpur has yellow noodles that are fried. In Penang they are cooked in a savory orange-red prawn stock and sprinkled with greens, prawns, and pork.

•Asam Laksa. While there are slightly different styles of cooking Asam Laksa depending on the location, they are thick rice noodles in a hot and sour fish gravy topped with a local mix of herbs making for a distinctive Malay dish that is one of the favorite dishes of the country.

•Rojak. This is a mix of fresh fruits and vegetables like pineapples, cucumber and apples with cuttlefish slices that is served with a dark,thick, local prawn paste sauce that imparts a unique flavor which the locals crave.

•Ais Kacang. The favorite dessert of Malaysia, this is a bowl of ice shavings covered in evaporated milk, red beans, sweet corn, glass jelly and syrup. This is the perfect ending to any Malaysian feast!

Where to Stay When in Penang, Malaysia

G Hotel - Penang
Chic and stylish, Penang's latest gem is the G Hotel, which is a new urban icon along Penang's bustling Gurney Drive. With its stunning interiors and contemporary design, the G Hotel received the prestigious Best Hotel Construction and Design in Asia Pacific Award for 2010. The G Hotel's logo, "G," is inspired by its location, near Gurney Drive, a hub of activity and vibrant nightlife both within the hotel and in the surrounding neighborhood.

The G Hotel is an urban oasis for discerning travelers, offering service and sophisticated facilities. The "Executive Level" is particularly memorable for its Champagne breakfast and Executive Cocktail Hour.

The G Cafe's "International Buffet" is a must to experience the breadth of Malay and Western specialties prepared with panache. Every evening offers a different theme. The buffet features superb salads, pastas, and diverse Western and Asian items making for an unforgettable gourmet experience.

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