Kuching and Penang, Malaysia recommendations?

After reading the delicious and excellent reviews by @klyeoh on Kuala Lumpur and Penang, I decide to include Malaysia in my Asian vacation this year. I will be traveling 10 days and starting next week.

Anybody has food recommendations for Kuching? Is there typical Borneo dishes not to miss?

Also, is it interesting to eat seafood in Penang? I have come also some reviews as too expensive and fish too cooked. If yes, any seafood restaurant recommendations?

Thanks a lot

Despite being an island, seafood restaurants in Penang tend to be “expensive” by local standards - Penang is really good for its hawker/street foods, and its seafood restaurants which line Gurney Drive and also the Batu Ferringhi stretch tend to be touristy and over-priced.

That said, if you do want to try seafood, go to Ocean Green on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah - it’s conveniently located close to the city centre, and has beach-front views.

Local Penangites flock to Hai Boey Seafood Restaurant, but it’s located at Teluk Kumbar - the opposite end of Penang Island, away from Georgetown. The place is packed, and you do require advance booking. That said, if you do go there, there is a wide variety of shellfish on offer - prices are more reasonable, cooking is robust and spicy at times to suit the local palate. And you’ll be the only foreigner there in a place teeming with hundreds of diners.

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Thanks for your recommendations. Hai Boey is exactly the type of place we are searching, authentic local food. We avoid as much as possible the tourist traps. Since we will stay in George Town a few days mainly eating, we will try to include this in our itinerary if we can secure a booking. We survived with the spicy Thai food in our last food voyage, I think we will be fine.

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Did you end up having food success in Kuching?

We went for a few days in 2013 but not long enough to have much of a food adventure. I remember Chong Choon being the famous place for Sarawak laksa at the time, but as it was our first so I couldn’t comment on its greatness. We set our alarms to get up and have it a second time, early before leaving. We had a major alarm failure and almost missed our flight, resulting in disappointing airport food rather than the laksa.

We had an enjoyable meal at The Dyak which was a more upmarket restaurant serving traditional or tradition inspired dishes. There was a particular pork dish involving fermented durian that I remember having. That was probably our first exposure to durian, as if it wasn’t intriguing enough before being fermented!

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold