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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”
RELATED: The Best of Penang Food: Our 9 Most Beloved Authentic Dishes
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.
RELATED: 9 Reasons You Should Feast on Penang Food, Malaysia
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.
RELATED: 100 Food and Travel Quotes To Inspire Your Culinary Adventures
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.
Savor the Adventure!
More Local Food Experiences and Recipes
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Teh Tarik Recipe – How To Make Delicious Frothy Malaysian Pulled Tea
Murtabak Recipe – How To Make Delightful Singapore Chicken Folded Flatbread
Love Penang Food Museum? Pin It!
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.
Find out more about Authentic Food Quest
40 Comments on “Penang Food Museum: How To Feast Your Senses On the World First Food Museum”
I love the concept of this museum. Looks so realistic and delicious!
Thank you. A fascinating experience for sure. Thanks for stopping by.
My first visit to Georgetown was in 2014 so I missed the 2015 opening! I love Georgetown and its street and building art! And how the quiet sleepy side streets converts into a giant street food party where everyone knows everyone!
Laughing at that giant chendol LOL!
Totally agree, Carla, eating on the streets is really one big giant outdoor fest. With incredibly delicious food 🙂 What were your favorite foods? Check out the museum on your next…a really fun and interactive experience!! Thanks for stopping by.
Wow, this is my kind of museum! I love how realistic all of the food looks. And I can’t believe how expensive that pizza was! I love pizza, but I could never spend that much. Even if it has gold! lol
That’s funny…lol…the most expensive food was simply outrageous 🙂 A great museum to visit -education and fun. Thanks Vicky!!
What a great way to celebrate Malaysia food’s heritage; I’m honestly surprised that this is the first food museum of its kind – it’s a brilliant idea! I love the flavors of Malay giant wall tapestry – what a unique display! It’s fantastic that they’ve gone to great lengths to make sure every type of cuisine which makes up Malaysia’s rich food scene has been represented in some way.
I love the food in quotes, and how they have incorporated art throughout the museum with food. Though also a very good opportunity to highlight the dark side of food – obesity, diabetes, and the excess of sugar in processed foods is becoming a huge problem throughout nearly all societies, so I’m glad that the museum is raising education and awareness, as well as celebrating their cultural identity through food.
Sounds like a really fun and interactive experience!
Thanks Meg for your feedback. A really unique concept for a museum. We totally agree, Wonderfood museum did a great job of showing the role of food in society -the good and the bad. The artistic displays and food quotes made for a fun experience. A must visit if your travels take you to Malaysia. Cheers.
What a great museum, such a great way to learn more about Malaysian food! And the name Wonderfood is fabulous too. Shocked a bit that there are 56 names for sugar – wow. I’ll have to remember this museum when we visit Penang, thanks for the tips!
You are right Claudia, we were just as surprised to see the many cryptic names for sugar as well. Quite eye opening 🙂 Indeed, if your travels take you to Penang, the Wonderfood museum is a great place to learn about Malaysian food and culture. Thanks for stopping by.
This sounds like such an interesting museum! I love that there are so many different, unique facets. I think it’s really interesting to have the dark side of food on display as well, probably quite enlightening. This is definitely on my Penang list now!
The museum did a great job of presenting the positives and negatives of food. It makes you think holistically about food and the role it plays in society. It’s definitively a must-visit in Penang!! Thanks for stopping by Paige.
haha this is amazing, a food museum – I would get so hungry walking around here looking at this amazing food 😀 but saying that I have just added it to my to do list in Malaysia 😀
Awesome for adding this museum to your list of things to do. You will love it!!
What an interesting idea for a museum, but I kept waiting to see if they give you samples. I guess not! I’d be wanting to try all the different foods they displayed!
Hi Tami, unfortunately, no samples of the food, but the map was key to finding the food afterward. A unique and fun concept indeed. Cheers.
I think it’s SO true that you need to taste a culture’s traditional foods to truly learn. I’m not a museum fan typically, but this is totally my kind of museum! I love how the displays are set up, and I think it’s fantastic that the museum gives you a map that shows where to try these foods!
This museum is so unique in many ways. It is truly an immersive experience where you learn about the culture through the delicious food. Yes, the map of where to find the food was key 🙂 Thanks, Miranda.
Somehow, I always read your posts on a tortuous empty stomach! After reading your posts on food in Penang, I’ve been researching flights so it looks like I’ll be back at it again after this read! I’m seriously drooling over the Lakhsa! This museum looks like an interesting way to learn. I love the diagrams/wall hangings showing the cultural influences on Malayasian food. It’s been added to the Penang musts list, but only after I’ve gotten good and full on some of those delicious dishes.
That’s funny Jackie, we suffer the same hunger pangs while writing the articles. Torturous indeed 🙂 Penang is certainly with worth visiting. The museum is a great place to start and then prepare to eat…and eat!! Cheers.
I lived in Malaysia when I was a kid and I still remember the food. This museum sounds quite amazing and I totally agree you’d need to find somewhere to eat afterwards!
That’s awesome that you lived in Malaysia as a kid. Was it in Penang? I’m sure much has changed, but the food is still as delicious. Fortunately, delicious food surrounds the museum, making it easy to eat after the experience. Cheers.
OMGOSH I had no idea what some of these items were! Those macaroons are FANCY!
Indeed lots of fancy dishes on the expensive food table. Many are familiar like hamburgers, macarons, ice cream and more. It’s the unique ingredients and quality products that make them stand out. A real treat to see 🙂 Thanks Maegan.
Everything looks so darn tasty! Though I think I would love to try the opulent sundae. My wallet would never forgive me though haha!
That’s funny Janine..everything on the world’s most expensive foods looked delectable…but for the wallet, it’s another story..lol. Thanks for stopping by.
What an interesting museum and perfect place for it since Malaysian cuisine is such a mix of different cultures. I appreciate that the museum also highlights some of the different problems that come with speciality foods.
We agree, Candiss, having a balanced perspective about the positives and negative foods was a great feature! A truly interesting museum and worth visiting if your travels to take you to the region.
Oh wow, I love the concept of this museum. Looks so realistic and delicious!
Omg, now I’m salivating for Malaysian food. We used to cross the borders of Singapore to Malaysia just to eat and back. 😀
This look very interesting, It makes me very hungry though. 🙂
I love the food diagrams! One of the hardest parts of trying a new style of food is picking which dish to choose. The diagrams would be so helpful to learn about the different foods and how to eat them.
You’re right Meg, the food sketches are really helpful. And when paired with the replicas, it makes it really easy to identify the food on the streets. Thanks so much!
It’s always interesting to learn about different cultures and their cuisine! I particularly love the sweet room!!!!
Thanks Laura, all the rooms were fascinating. Though you were are right, the sweet room was quite tempting 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.
oh my goodness! This looks like a lot of fun! The perfect thing for a foodie!
Thanks Kelly, the museum is a great experience…the opportunity to learn about culture through food. Thanks for stopping by!
I will be in Penang in a few months and of course our visit will be all about the food. This is somewhere else we can go in between meals!
You will love Penang and the Wonderfood Museum. Don’t forget to check out the website for more on the local foods not to miss. Enjoy your trip 🙂