Nasi Melayu Places in Penang

There’s an incredibly exotic touch to Malay food. The flavours are infused with influences mainly from Indian, Chinese and Indonesian cooking. A true reflection of the mixed culture history Malaysia is well known for. To understand better while enjoying the cuisine, venture out of George Town to try the dishes for yourself at these five stall-like places. Best time to try them is at noon when the food is fresh off the stove.

Umi’s Nasi Campur, Jalan Sungai Emas, Batu Ferringhi
It’s a popular spot for Malay fare. This stall is on the roadside with a few tables for dining in. By noon, the many dishes they offer are laid out for display, fresh from the stove. What you can expect include beef rendang, asam tumis fish, chicken curry, salted eggs and a choice of ulam or herbs that you dip into really spicy sambal belacan.
What to try: Asam tumis fish (normally stingray) and for those wanting a noodle dish, they serve a good bowl of mee rebus as well.
How to get there: Catch the Rapid 101 bus and stop at Petronas on Batu Ferringhi.
Opening hours: 11.30am to around 4pm.

Kari Corner, Kampung Permatang Keling, Nibong Tebal
Right on the edge of Penang’s southern border is this restaurant offering freshly caught and charcoal-grilled fish alongside dishes of Malay favourites such as rendang, masak asam tumis, masak lemak rebung (bamboo shoots) and of course, ulam with at least two types of sambal belacan and large prawns in curry.
What to try: The grilled kembung fish dipped in tangy assam sauce.
How to get there: Driving there is best and you can easily access it via Penang’s second bridge heading south. Simply exit at Juru, turn left at the lights after the tol and keep heading straight for awhile till you see this restaurant on the right-hand side of the road.
Opening hours: Noon to around 4pm.

Alaf Baru, Jalan Teluk Bahang, Teluk Bahang
When heading towards Penang’s National Park (the smallest one in the world) in Teluk Bahang, lookout for this restaurant on the right-hand side of the road. Besides the usual Malay dishes, they have a good array of ulam and wonderfully spicy sambal belacan.
What to try: Piping hot beefy soup, steamed stingray in tangy assam sauce and kerabu (mixed Malay herb salad).
How to get there: Catch the Rapid 102 bus heading towards the national park and keep a watch out for the restaurant after the bus has gone past the Teluk Bahang round-a-bout.
Opening hours: 11.30am to around 4pm.

Restoran Ikan Bakar Amzar, Jalan Permatang Pauh, Seberang Perai
This place serves cooked Malay dishes with rice from morning. By around 9.30am or so, their grilled fish is ready. You’ll be dizzy from the choices of dishes available – around 40 and it increases as noon approaches. Best part is, this is one of the more inexpensive eateries as well.
What to try: Grilled fish dipped with assam sauce and cooked leafy greens in various styles.
How to get there: Rapid bus 701 and 702 from Butterworth ferry terminal.
Opening hours: 9am to around 3pm.

Restoran Peladang, Jalan Balik Pulau, Balik Pulau
This place, so far, has one of the largest variety of ulam with a range of sambal belacan and fried fish for a Malay lunch spot. Their various Malay curries such as masak lemak cili padi and asam tumis are authentic and spicy, truly terrific with steaming white rice.
What to try: Ulam dipped in sambal belacan and fried kembung (local mackerel).
How to get there: Driving, get on the main road of Balik Pulau, head towards Teluk Kumbar and you’ll notice a big Petronas petrol station. The restaurant is across the road from it. Or catch Rapid 401 or 401E from the jetty in George Town.
Opening hours: Noon to around 4pm.

Image credits: Su Aziz