I don’t think I’ve ever started my day without a cup of coffee. Steaming hot, over ice, frappucino, black — name it, I’ve had it. But as it turns out, I’m not the only one who has a love affair with that java. Everyday I see Instagram and Snapchat posts of people’s favourite coffee place, coffee art, and coffee cakes even. The world spins and it is fueled by caffeine, it seems.
However, whenever I see those social media posts, I’m always drawn to the hole-in-the-wall coffee shops. There are still a lot more shops and cafes to be discovered, and I decided where better to start than in Penang, Malaysia? If you haven’t heard of Penang, you’re kind of missing out. It’s the perfect place to be if you want to be away from the stresses of city life. All that history is beautifully intertwined with modern society; it’s almost too breathtaking to believe it’s real. Not to mention, the shops, restaurants, and hotels in Penang, Malaysia have adapted this aesthetic, as well. Talk about city solidarity, right?
But enough fangirling about the city, let’s get back to coffee! We’ve listed cafes in Penang before, but come on, I’m sure that’s not enough. Here are a couple more coffee destinations to go to!
Awesome Canteen first claimed popularity in Kuala Lumpur for their Paleo recipes and a focus on clean and healthy dishes. Their Penang branch is in Sekeping Victoria, one of the best places to feel relaxed and chill after a tour of the island.
It’s a very rustic place too, so if you’re into that, Awesome Canteen in Sekeping Victoria is your aesthetic. The coffee is made by SpaceBar Coffee, they are duo who are known for their craft coffees like the red and tonic, Japanese ice style coffee, and other filter coffee made from specially picked beans. They feature dishes like Pomegranate Salad with Avocado, Swiss Mushroom Burger, Grilled Butterfish Fillet with Sweet Potatoes, and Pulled Beef Sandwich.
Even before cafes and brunch spots were a popular thing in Penang, PIK NIK has been serving up coffee and delicious dishes since 2011. In fact, they’re considered pioneers in Penang’s brunch scene. It’s a really cool place, but it’s one of those cafes that you’re sure hipsters and university students with too much energy goes to. There they are not only enjoying the coffee and the food, but also playing tabletop games, having discussions, or just chilling out.
In fact, I think the whole cafe is just a magnet for the kind of crowd with their vintage interior, retro portraits, and wooden furnishings. When you find yourself here, make sure to order the Waffle Salmon, Sateh Chicken, Pineapple Fried Rice, and Korean Chicken Burger. You can order Hazelnut lattes, fruit juices, and tea!
The Safe Room
Because there are a lot of cafes in Penang, some establishments have been looking for ways to set themselves apart from everyone else. The Safe Room decided to take an old favourite and turn it into something even more special: liquid nitrogen ice cream. It’s the first one in Penang to have fused delicious comfort food with science, and my goodness is it worth it.
They have an open-kitchen concept that allows customers to watch as they extract the liquid nitrogen from the tank, mixing in the fruits, and then freezing the cream. Of course, the ice cream is not their only offering. You can also enjoy Egg’s Benedict, lettuce and cherry tomato salad with Japanese sesame dressing, pastas, and more.
We’ll scour the streets of Penang for more of these awesome cafes. But for now, go ahead and plan that Penang trip and make sure to stop by the cafes listed here.