Seaside – Jan/Feb/March 2018
Olympia – Jan/Feb 2018

What’s Cooking in Penang: Your “Second Home” at the Park Royal

Pools at the Penang Park Royal HotelWhen John and I stayed at the Park Royal Hotel on Batu Ferringhi Beach ( in Penang, Malaysia, we never expected to feel like we were home, but we did.

Penang is a Malaysian island west of the Malay Peninsula on the Straits of Malacca and a popular beach resort destination. A British possession from 1786 until 1957, Penang became part of the Federation of Malaya.

We only stayed a week, but many Europeans stay for a month or more and take advantage of long-stay rates offered by hotels. It’s also a popular wedding destination for newly wed Saudis and you’ll find plenty of high-rise condos along Penang’s beaches. In an appeal to foreign visitors, Penang advertises, “Make Penang your second home.”

Penang Parkroyal hotel

Views from this lovely hotel are stunning.

Three times a week as part of their daily activities the Park Royal offers complimentary cooking demonstrations featuring a variety of ethnic recipes. We’d lounge around the pool most of the day and then head to the restaurant midday where Chef Teng and his staff put on culinary demonstrations. We went on the day they featured Char Koay Teow, the signature dish of Penang. Loosely translated, Char Koay Teow means “stir-fried rice cake strips.” It is frequently found in hawker stalls all around Southeast Asia. The recipe originated in Penang as an inexpensive dish that provided energy and nutrients for workers, but it’s popularity has grown and you can find several variations throughout Malaysia.

Cooks at Penang's parkroyal hotel wok and roll

Cooking demo classes are part of the hotel’s regular offerings.

Sandra Scott, RFT Contributor

Check out Chef  Teng’s Char Koay Teow recipe.


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Bobbie Hasselbring

RFT founder and the website's former editor-in-chief, Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. She's been an award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook.