Malaysian Hawker Culinary Experience

Global Travel & Nutrition Studies in Asia

If global travel is on your bucket list - the Penang food scene should be your target. Over the last 20 years, Malaysia has built open-air structures to accommodate their street vendors. This helps to improve the vendors’ sales as well as increasing consumer food safety.

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Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?

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Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.

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Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.

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A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?

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Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!

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Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.

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Your transport awaits to whisk you off to your spectacular seaside Penang accommodations. Spend the afternoon settling in to your hotel with a breathtaking view of the Strait of Malacca. Situated between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Penang is on a major shipping lane, so there is always something interesting to see on the horizon.

Dinner tonight will be at the hotel where you will go over the details of your itinerary with your local guide. Your guide is available to drive you to and from each destination, highlight historic and intriguing sites, provide tips for your dining pleasure and take good care of you.

Begin your Penang culinary journey with breakfast at Toh Soon Cafe, which is a must-visit establishment. Like most great hawker stalls, expect long lines (they move fast) filled with locals, which is a great indication that the food is top quality and authentic! Try the charcoal-toasted bread with butter and kaya (coconut jam) with a soft boiled egg – yum! 

Ride the train up Penang Hill for a panoramic view of Georgetown. Leisurely walk the streets of the hill and enjoy the Colonial charm.

Dinner is a walking tour through one of Georgetown’s hawker markets. Be prepared for a taste explosion. Your guide will describe the dishes you taste as you queue up at each stall. Dinner fare may include: mamak mee goreng (stir-fried noodles with prawn fritters), nasi kandar (steamed rice curry), char koay teow (stir-fried rice cakes), white curry mee (coconut prawn broth), and chendol (iced sweet dessert) to end on a sweet note.

Early this morning, meet your guide for a cycling tour. Begin in Balik Pulau, a town just outside of Penang, where you can cycle the country roads. Tour a fruit orchard, where you will explore the ecologically friendly agriculture that keeps Malaysia eco-friendly. Lunch at a local plantation followed by a tour highlighting the Malaysian way of life.

After your bicycling workout, head over to Monkey Beach, aka Teluk Duyung. The trees surrounding the beach are filled with long-tail gray macaques giving the beach its nickname. Swim in the inviting green water and catch a nap on the soft, warm sand. 

Hang out on Monkey beach while your chef-of-the-day prepares a sumptuous al fresco barbeque. Watch the seals frolic in the waves while munching on a tasty barbeque dinner.

Breakfast today at Chowrasta Market, one of the oldest markets in Penang. Grab a breakfast delicacy or two before the city tour on tap for today.

The tour of Georgetown begins on Armenian Street, known for its street art. Your guide will highlight some of the best-known street artists and their work. 

Walk the wooden streets of the Clan Jetties where the homes are on stilts. These clan houses are an fascinating twist on  modern-day living.

Next up is the Street of Harmony, where all the major religions in Malaysia are represented here where they coexist in harmony! Settled in the 1800s, Harmony Street includes:  St. George’s Church (Anglican), Goddess of Mercy Temple (Chinese), Sri Mahamariamman Temple (Hindu), and Kapitan Keling Mosque (Muslim) – a true community of worshipers all living and worshiping together. Peace on Earth.

Relax this afternoon at one of Penang’s fabulous beaches, Batu Ferringhi. Take a parasailing or windsurfing lesson, or just lounge on the beach and people watch

The quaint town of Tiong Bahru is yours to explore this morning. 

Lunch is at the Tiong Bahru market. Look for the stalls with the long lines, particularly if they are packed with locals. Try chwee kueh (steamed rice cake), pork baos (steamed pork buns) and lotus baos (sweet steamed buns).

Experiencing the Tropical Spice Garden is a treat for the senses. With over 500 plant varieties, the lush garden is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. Your docent will enchant you with aromas from the spices as you walk along the winding jungle trails. Visit the Vanilla Groves and feast your eyes on the wild orchids and over 100 herbs and spices. 

End your trip at a local restaurant where you will participate in a cooking class. Explore the use of spices in traditional Malaysian dishes. The menu changes seasonally to make best use of what is in season.

Your last full day in Penang needs to be at Tanjung Bungah Beach. Take full advantage of the beautiful water, sparkling sand and hot Malaysian sun.

Todays hawker food tour will visit different hawker stalls where a selection the likes of nasi lemak bungkus (bun wrapped around anchovies, peanuts and more), assam laksa (spicy soup), hokkien mee (spicy noodles with pork and cabbage), chee cheong fun (filled crepe roll), and ais kacang (sweet bean ice) may be served.

Sadly, you pack to return home. But you will bring home lots of new flavor profiles, recipes and a memorable journey in Penang, Malaysia.

This unique culinary global travel adventure focuses on the hawker centers, and you have learned more about the permanent open air markets that have virtually eliminated street food vendors, thus increasing middle-class stability and improving food safety.

As you discover new tastes and textures, you will understand why Malaysian food popularity is on the rise. Particularly if you dine with an amazing ocean view!


3-6 Day
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