On a short visit, with limited time for food exploration, I have yet to be disappointed with the food courts in Georgetown Penang. While there are seemingly endless top notch eating options in this foodie city it is the variety and choice at these food courts which will keep me coming back. For me they are in the main attractions of Georgetown Penang.
Of the food courts in Georgetown, Gurney Drive has to be the most famous with its iconic seafront eating location. Unfortunately this has changed slightly as hawkers have been forced to relocate to the opposite side of the road. While the location may have changed the food not so much and the Gurney Drive food court is still popular with the locals in this more modern, sea-view, high-rise and middle class part of the city. The Gurney Drive area is definitely worth the visit to see a new face to this old colonial town and the Gurney Drive Food Court is the perfect excuse to do so. From the popular UNESCO area it costs around 10RM to 15RM by taxi drive (or a lengthy walk).
The food choice at Red Garden Food Paradise is more mixed with not only the popular Malay, Chinese and Indian foods of Malaysia but all sorts of other international foods. With a closer location next to the touristy Chulia Street area this food court is popular with both locals and tourists alike and of the food courts in Georgetown it is the best option for nightlife. You will find with local Muslim and Halal traditions it can be hard to find alcohol served at food courts or at least not in bulk quantities. Red Garden the ‘Largest Food Paradise and Night Market’ in Georgetown is the exception with an affordable selection of big beers and live music from Asian ballads and eccentrically dressed local artists. A slightly garish experience but it is uniquely garish.
Of my food court picks the New World Park Food Court is the only option to open in the day hours (the other two don’t open to 5pm-ish). It is also more of a mall food court serving for the New World Park Complex in which it is located. It is popular therefore popular throughout the day with both local lunch crowds and evening eaters (but don’t expect beer). The options aren’t quite as extensive as the above either but I find the food is surprisingly good for a mall food court and it again offers not only the popular Malay foods but many Chinese and Indian as well. If the New World Park Food Court failed to excite the Passions of Kerala next door offers some top notch South Indian dishes.