Hi everyone, welcome back to yet another series from What You Could Get in the City for $10!
Today, although you’ve probably read another post covering Penang earlier this year, we’re gonna talk about the city again… Although this time we’re gonna do differently since it’s gonna focus in Georgetown area, the area where is highly recommended to explore if you visit Penang for the first time.
Kirsten from Sand in My Curls will be sharing what to explore in the area within the budget. So, what could you get in Georgetown for $10?
Did You Even Go to Penang If You’ve Never Tasted Their Signature Dish?
$10 USD is actually quite a lot in Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). Living is very affordable here. We rent a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom modern condo overlooking the ocean for $650 USD, so the dollar goes really far here.
But no trip to Penang would be complete without sampling the local food. The island is regularly voted as the best street food in Asia. It’s not just delicious, it’s super affordable.
You can eat like royalty here for $10, which is 43MYR.
Red Garden Hawker Center
One of my favorite places to eat is Red Garden Hawker Center (food court). In Malaysia, the food courts are the best places to sample the local cuisine and take in a slice of Malaysian life. It’s not like the usual food court you find in the US. It’s not all junky fast food and unhealthy fried stuff.
All the recipes cooked at the food stalls are passed down through the generations, cooked one plate at a time. You could try the same dish 10 times, and it will taste different every time.
When you go into the Red Garden, there are a few must-try foods, but no matter what you eat, it will be under 43MYR. Pick a table, then go and order your food, and pay when they deliver it.
The most expensive things to eat are seafood and western food, so steer clear of those.
Must-Try Local Dishes in Penang
There are a lot of Malaysian must-try local dishes, and you can try them all at Red garden. The plates range from $1.50-3.50 USD, so you could taste all of them and maybe even have money to spare.
- Char quay teow is a famous dish. Silky rice noodles stir-fried with shrimp and Chinese sausage, get cooked in dark soy sauce, a dash of fish sauce, and a few other passed down secrets to make a simple yet delectable mix.
- Chicken Satay is a Southeast Asian favorite and is a little different than satay in Thailand. Sticks of chicken cubes are marinated in turmeric, ginger, coriander, chili, and lemongrass. Then they are cooked over charcoal and served with peanut sauce. They come with a side of sliced cucumbers, red onions, and soft rice cakes called ketupat.
- Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings are cooked on a rotisserie and served with chili sauce. These wings aren’t anything like American buffalo chicken wings. They are sticky and caramelized, and the chili sauce adds the perfect punch.
- BBQ Stingray (ikan bakar in Malay) is a local delicacy. They cook the delicate fish on a banana leaf, smother it in curry paste and then serve it with a tamarind sauce and calamansi limes. It is more expensive than the rest of the foods on this list, so buy a small piece. They will weigh it for you before they cook it, so you’ll know the cost upfront.
If you have money left over, try the homemade xiao long bao soup dumplings and pan-fried dumplings.
Contributor: Kirsten from Sand in My Curls.
Kirsten is a Chicago girl living in Penang, Malaysia. In 2013, she and her husband were sick of the American rat race and decided to rewire their lives. It was the hardest decision. But it was also the most rewarding one. In her blog, she writes about the realities of expat life, living in Malaysia, and her travels throughout the world.