Penang Is The World's Best Food Destination... AGAIN!
Penang is the world's best food destination, according to world-renowned food writer, James Oseland
"If I have to choose the top three places in the world as a food destination, Penang would definitely be the first, followed by Mexico City and London," he said.
Oseland, 53, is an American food writer, magazine editor and reality cooking show judge who is currently in Penang until July 20 with the mission to find the best food in Penang to be featured in his upcoming book.
Oseland first came to Malaysia about 34 years ago in 1982, and this was his fifth visit to the country
He noted that the surroundings have undergone major changes with more high-rise buildings than before, but even so, the quality of the food was still the same.
"It is wonderful how the food is being cooked; the atmosphere is simply amazing and the competition between eateries to serve the best food makes them maintain the quality."
It was reported that Oseland arrived in Penang on 15 July, and his favourite food here so far had been Penang-style nasi campur, nasi kandar and hawker food such as chee cheong fun (rice noodle rolls).
His upcoming book will be focused on exploring traditional home-cooked food, as he believes that it is the best way to discover one’s culture
"As time passes, the young generation, especially, has no interest in learning the original recipes as people tend to take food for granted. That is why I want to document these recipes to ensure that the culture will live on," he said.
During his stay here, the top food writer has also taken lessons from Sabira Ghouse, a local chef who cooks for weddings and other celebrations, to learn how to cook ‘nasi kenduri’.
On how he planned to keep the food taste authentic, as Westerners and Penangites had different ways of cooking and different tastes, Oseland said he had a gift of remembering how every food tasted and knew if it was different from others.
As he will be leaving Penang before heading to Kedah and then flying off to Indonesia and Timor Leste, Oseland who could speak a little bit of Bahasa Melayu said, "Pulau Pinang sentiasa di hati" (Penang is always in my heart) and has vowed to come again after he completes his book.
Previously in 2014, an editor at Lonely Planet listed Penang as his number one culinary hot spot for the year
The world’s leading travel media company's commissioning editor Robin Barton listed the Pearl of Orient as the top culinary spot for 2014 in an article titled 'Where are the foodies going in 2014?' that was published in the UK's The Independent.
He rated Penang on the top, ahead of other popular culinary spots like Victoria in Australia, North West Spain, the deep south in United States, Lake District in United Kingdom, Puglia in Italy, Georgia and Oaxaca in Mexico.
Barton recommended the following as the top "must-try" food in Penang: char kway teow (flat rice noodles with shrimp, bean sprouts, egg and sweet Chinese sausage), hokkien mee (egg noodles in a pork broth with prawns, egg, bean sprouts and water spinach), and asam laksa (thick noodles in a spicy fish broth with tangy asam, a sour tamarind paste).
Not only is Penang a food haven, it is also the most attractive region for commercial property investment in the whole of Malaysia: