Penang International Food Festival 2018 (April 14-29)

The 2-week-long Penang International Food Festival is currently in full swing after its official kick-off last Sunday, with the launching of “Eat Rite - Ritual Foods of George Town” which showcased the festive foods of George Town’s various communities. Penang, despite its large Chinese majority (mainly Hokkien/Fujianese), has a rich multi-cultural population of Malays, Indians, and other ethnic groups since its founding over two centuries ago. There was also a street party featuring hundreds of food stalls representing every facet of Penang’s street food culture.

Guests awaiting the official launch of “Eat Rite” at Whiteaways.

Just sharing some of the festive foods showcased at the official launch.

  1. Penang’s Tamil-Indian community showcased their festive ‘Pongal’ rice dish, usually served during the annual harvest festival:


  1. The Chettiyar community highlighted the ‘Karuppatti paniyaram’, a soft, spongey deep-fried confectionary.

  1. The Telugu-Indian community shared their recipe for the ‘Ariselu’ - soft, sweet, chewy and studded with toasted sesame seeds. Back in the Telugu people’s homeland, Andhra Pradesh, ‘ariselu’ is usually served at engagement parties and weddings to guests. The sweet is also usually served in pairs, to signify the union of the engaged/wedded couple.

  1. Penang’s Punjabi community showcased the ‘Gajrela’, made from sweetened, shredded carrots, slow-cooked in milk & spices. The Punjabi Sikhs serve this dessert dish during their festivals like Vaisakhi and Bandhi Chhor Divas.

  1. Penang’s Indian-Muslim community (the largest minority on the island, and famous for their iconic “Penang food” like nasi kandar, mamak mee goreng and many others) showcased “Nombu kanji”, a savoury rice gruel commonly eaten during the Muslim Ramadhan month.

  1. Penang’s Teochew/Chiuchow/Chaozhou community is the second largest Chinese dialect group behind the majority Hokkien/Fujianese populace on the island. For this event, they showcased the “ang thoe kuih”, a close cousin of Singapore’s “p’ng kway” (which doesn’t exist among Penang’s Teochehw community’s culinary repertoire). The “ang thoe kuih” has shredded jicama (instead of glutinous rice), dried shrimps, groundnuts & black fungus.

Just sharing some pics of the street food fair: