Learn to cook in Georgetown, Malaysia’s capital of food lovers

Where do you usually eat when you travel? Do you go on an exotic holiday and end up eating a Quarter Pounder with Cheese? You know what, I am often guilty of doing just that—finding myself having lunch at a fast food joint when I really should be indulging myself in local cuisine. This is going to change, however.

Henceforth, I shall aim to sample new foods and make it an important part of traveling. I shall try to experience what a place has to offer—from hole-in-the-wall cafes  to sketchy street stands to fancy restaurants.

One of the places that I am looking forward to visit soon (we already have a hotel room booked, yay! But no travel dates yet *sigh*) is Georgetown in Malaysia. Georgetown is the capital of the island and state of Penang, on the west coast of Malaysia that is becoming one of the hottest culinary destinations in the world.

Named in a 2009 New York Times article as one of the world’s best locations for foodies, Georgetown features an eclectic mix of Chinese, Malay, and Indian influences that come together to form some of the region’s best food.

While searching for popular places to eat in Georgetown, I learned that not only can one enjoy local food, one can actually learn how to cook local cuisine from the experts in Georgetown! By the end of a culinary class at the Tropical Spice Garden, I’d be able to make and eat these myself:

Banana pancakes, fish curry, and chicken cutlets. Image taken by Jim Cheney.

I also learned that you get to tour their spice garden, and this is where the ingredients used for cooking are gathered from. Isn’t that awesome? This is really getting me excited (and hungry). I am already imagining myself and Masood in aprons cooking side by side, learning not just cooking but about the culture and history of Malaysia as well.

If you would like to find out more about travelling to Malaysia, please visit the Tourism Malaysia website.

14 comments

    1. Behbood, welcome back to the blog 🙂

      Nevermind the calories, only people with sedentary lifestyle worry about those. Think about the fresh food prepared using local ingredients. I know, right? We have a hotel room but no tickets. The thing is there is so much going on that we need to keep postponing the vacation.

    1. Thank you, ‘San! Ang hilig ko sa pagluto is quite sporadic. Oblige me to cook every day and you’ll see me running away from the kitchen before you even finish your sentence. Cooking is like art (like Sophia’s paintings, if you may) – I need inspiration, to take my own sweet time, and it shouldn’t feel like a chore.

      However, if I were to have a brand new cooking range soon…

      1. ah, gano’n? anlagay, conditional, hehe… if you were to have a new cooking range, then an awful lot would happen – is that it? hahaha 😉

        i used to be fond of cooking until i realized that my housemates aren’t appreciative and grateful, haha… 😉
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  1. Wow, that looks amazing! I love cooking classes (though I haven’t taken any in so long).

    One thing about my husband is that he has to get a good feel for the food. It is an integral part of our trips. He researches the best high-end restaurants, the best street foods, the best local shops, etc. He has a list before we arrive and then has to verify by talking to the people (cab drivers, shop keepers, etc). Lol he loves food!

    Have fun in Malaysia when you go! Take pix for us to see.

    1. SippingChai, your husband should totally blog about these places! In the past, I’ve always been more interested in the people and buildings, but I need to make food an essential part of the travel experience now.

      I will take pictures, inshaAllah. I can’t write a post without a picture 😉

  2. ohohooo… so you did your homework, eh? Good for you! The banana pancakes (as in the picture) in Malay language is ‘Lempeng pisang’. We usually find it on the breakfast menu, but hey…as we move towards globalisation nowadays, this food can be eaten at any time you want. Try search for ‘Laksa Penang’ and see if your taste bud can handle it!
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