Malay cuisine in a colonial setting

Street food goes poolside at a former governor’s residence in Penang

Image: courtesy of Design Hotels

Among the world’s great culinary experiences – up there with Hanoi’s dollar-a-bowl pho – is Penang’s street food. For a taste of delicious Malay hawker-style cuisine on an island well known for its melting‑pot culture, try eating at the newly opened eight-room MacalisterMansion (; from £464) in colonial George Town. Co-owner Dato Sean, a well-regarded Malaysian restaurateur, has brought stall fare poolside – including Penang favourites such as assam laksa (noodles in a spicy fish broth). The hotel’s Living Room restaurant rolls out onto a manicured tropical lawn and thence to the turquoise swatch of water. Interiors, such as the Bagan Bar (pictured), are more contemporary than the exterior might imply, but then the conversion of this former governor’s residence is the work of Ministry of Design, the architecture and design firm also behind The Club, Singapore’s entirely black and white hotel.