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Penang is best known as the food capital of Malaysia and is one of the best cities in the world for street food.
To celebrate Malaysia’s food heritage and its food capital, the Penang food museum opened in November 2015.
During our Penang museum visit, we were amazed at all there was to learn about local food.
If you ever wonder what a food museum could look like, take a seat and feast your senses by touring the world’s first food museum.
Wonderfood Museum Penang Practical Information
Wonderfood Museum Penang is a museum that not only embraces food cultures, but also celebrates Penang’s art culture and is very Instagram-worthy!
The food is oversized and made of plastic allowing visitors to interact with the displays, all while learning about the local food.
Location And Hours
The Wonderfood Museum is located in the core of Georgetown or Penang Old Town.
The exact address is 49, Lebuh Pantai, George Town, 10200 George Town
Opening Hours: Open everyday from 9am to 6pm. Last visit at 5pm.
Wonderfood Museum Penang Ticket Price
Wonderfood Museum Penang tickets price for non-Malaysian residents are as follows: RM25 per adult (about $5.50 USD) and RM15 per child ($3.30 USD).
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: In the culinary capital of Penang, Georgetown, one of the best things to do is taking a food tour to taste the food culture and local delicacies. This 4-hour food tour will take you to local spots, difficult to find on your own, for the best traditional dishes. Along the way, you’ll learn about the history of Penang as you visit landmarks, including the rich culinary traditions. If you only have one day in Penang, consider this tailored Penang Tour. You can visit the food museum, taste delicious street food and visit the key sites in Penang, all guided by locals.
Celebrating Malaysian Food Cultures
The food in Malaysia is a wonderful collision of flavors that includes Malay, Chinese, Peranakan and Indian flavors.
When we first arrived in Penang, we were surprised to find the different cultural influences stirred into one delicious “melting pot.”
Right from the start, the museum’s educational zone introduces you to the uniqueness of traditional Malaysian dishes through the different communities.
There is a Chinese saying that says “food is the basic necessity of all mankind”. Therefore, the best way to get to know a country or her people is by knowing the local foods.
This museum brings you into Malaysian food and the cultural diversity from its multiethnic population.
“You have to taste a culture to understand it”
Vibrant Food Cultures and Communities at the Food Museum
Indian food is brought to life in wall art that shows the different traditional Indian foods.
Peranakan food, which is a blend of Chinese and Malay cooking, is highlighted on a beautiful centerpiece, with dishes, desserts, spices and the traditional cooking pots.
The flavors of Malay are also shown as a giant wall hanging. The names of the traditional Malay dishes are sketched out and include dishes, snacks and sauces. Next to it is a giant size replica of the actual dishes.
With the wall hangings right next to each other, you can easily identify each food and then see the realistic version of all the most popular dishes.
The Chinese foods and temptations are also presented in the same manner. On one wall are the sketches of the food and desserts. Right next to it are realistic displays of each of the dishes.
Walking through this section, seeing the food sketches and the dishes as art next to them, helps you understand the different cultures and their contributions to the overall delicious Malaysian cuisine.
Super Realistic Giant Food Sculptures
Stepping into the Wow Zone section is one of the most sensorially stimulating culinary journeys.
Everywhere you look are some of Malaysia’s – and the world’s – most amazing foods in a larger than life manner.
With the giant and ultra realistic food replicas you are literally taken into the food.
Penang Asam Laksa, one of our beloved and best Penang foods, is presented as a giant bowl of soup that invites you to dive in.
Cendol, the ice dessert, is tempting in its giant form. In the heat of Penang, the thought of taking a big slurpy bite to cool off is the first thing that comes to mind.
Sweets from Penang and around the world are featured in their own separate room. The colors, flavors and scents make you want to lick one of the giant lollipops on display.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: On your way out of the Wonderfood museum, be sure to grab a food guide and map placed at the exit. It features some of the best places for local and street food in Penang.
Museum Food Quotes
Throughout the Penang museum are quotes about food hanging on the walls.
These quotes reference the importance of food in daily life and in building community. And, they are all presented in a visually interesting manner.
Penang Food Museum Exhibit Highlights
Food is Art Exhibit
This lavish exhibit showcases exotic, expensive food ranging from $1,000 and up. The world’s priciest plates are displayed as replicas in an opulent setting.
There is a pizza for $4200 created by a Scottish chef dedicated to James Bond, named the Pizza Royale 007.
It is a 12 inch pizza with lobster, Scottish salmon, prosciutto, venison and vintage balsamic vinegar. The incredible pizza is topped with 24-carat edible gold flakes.
In 2008, Paris pastry shop Laduree teamed up with Marni fashion house to create a delectable pastry that fuses food and fashion. They created two-bite sized chocolate macarons made of 100% premium ingredients.
To make it even more lavish, each macaron is covered in sheets of precious and edible gold. One box was sold for $100.
From Italy, is a Golden Opulent Sundae that sold for $1,000. It was made with Tahitian Vanilla Bean Ice cream and Amedei Porcelana dark chocolate from Tuscany, the most expensive chocolate in the world.
To go even further, this sundae features 24-karat edible gold and dessert caviar topping.
This room is quite fascinating as it elevates food into an exclusive art form. Food does more than satiate the body, it is multi-sensorial and a delectable fashion item.
Dark Side of Food at the Wonderfood Museum
The Penang Food Museum also put a spotlight on the negative impact of excessive food behaviors and habits.
One of the most shocking exhibits showcases the consequence of the trade of shark fins, an issue few westerners may be aware of.
In China, shark fin soup is a luxury item and its demand has dramatically increased recently with the wealth of the Chinese population.
As a result, sharks are hunted for their fins. This hunt results in the endangerment of the shark species and causes a threat to the ecosystem.
In this food museum, food waste is also tackled. This enlightening exhibit brings awareness to the waste which is a leading cause of hunger worldwide.
The exhibit also touches on the current threat to our society around obesity, diabetes, and the excess of sugar in processed foods.
The Wonderfood museum Penang is one of the most interactive, fun, learning experiences you’ll have around local food. It is definitely worth visiting.
The museum takes you on a culinary experience that shows the power of food in bringing people and communities together.
Furthermore, the pleasurable and artistic side of food is balanced with the dangers of waste excess.
You get to understand the Malaysian food culture through art and realistic replicas that will leave you craving delicious food.
Have you visited a food museum before? What do you think of this Penang Food Museum? Please let us know your comments below.
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Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
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