Needing a break from the monotony of Brunei, I booked flights to visit Penang, an island located north east of Kuala Lumpur. Penang is known for being a British colony and was captured by the Japanese during WW2.
What makes this an interesting place is not only the mix of cultures, but also the beautiful architecture and modern art found in George Town.
I really enjoyed exploring the packed streets of China Town and Little India, as well as trying to capture my own shots of the infamous street art.
Eating in Penang wasn’t too difficult either; most people I spoke to had a good grasp of English and with my Gluten Free card translated into Malay, I was able to find something suitable.
Hotel breakfasts weren’t amazing – on the first day I was only able to find an omelette and some fresh fruit.
Staying near Little India was certainly done on purpose as I love Indian food and can talk my way through the ingredients quite easily. I went to Woodlands Vegetarian Restaurant several times and had some delicious meals.
Another highlight of Little India was the sweets from Thali-NR Sweets Cafe – made from nuts, dahl flours and milk. I don’t find these very often in Brunei!
When it comes to Indian food, you definitely want to stay away from the breads and anything made in the tandoor oven as flour contamination will get ya! Also double check that the dahls do not contain any processed vegetable stock – these often contain flour.
A helpful find was also Nando’s in Gurney Plaza when I did a spot of shopping to hide from the rain. Knowing that all of the sauces are gluten free, I figured I was safe. I had a side salad as I found out the rice was pre-made and there was no telling what the ingredients were. I avoided the fries since there were a few questionable things that looked deep-fried on the menu.
Another notable find was Holy Guacamole on Love Street, and the restaurant beside it. While Wheeler’s menu mentioned gluten free, I didn’t actually see anything that was specifically GF. Perhaps I needed to talk to a server. Alas, I was drawn to the Mexican food next door. The guys at Holy Guacamole explained how they made their chicken and offered me a few different options – which was great! It was a funky spot for lunch, but would’ve been a lot more fun to visit when the sun went down.
My final day brought me to Penang Hill and I really enjoyed the breezy views. I stopped in at David Brown’s for lunch and had a civilised salad. Most of the menu was meat heavy with cream sauces – I’m sure if I spoke to the waiter I could’ve organised something. But given the heat and the amount of walking I’d done, this smoked salmon salad was what I needed.
In short, I was pleasantly surprised by the gluten free options I was able to find. Even Jaya Grocer and Cold Storage in the two Gurney shopping malls had some gluten free items to add to my snack arsenal.
There were a few spots that I wasn’t able to try:
- Tree Monkey Restaurant beside the Tropical Spice Garden
- My Armenian Cafe for its gluten free and vegan cakes
- Wholey Wonder Cafe & Yoga
Oh well, there’s always next time 🙂