Penang Top Five: Nazlina Hussin

Updated: 26 Nov 2012

Nazlina Hussin teaches traditional cooking classes at her cooking studio on Stewart Lane and also at the E&O hotel. Aside from whipping up delicious meals, she also holds tours of the local markets introducing fresh local produce to tourists. Born and bred in Penang, she puts down her ladle to share her favourite things to do and eat on the island.

1. Penang National Park
It's the smallest national park in the world and my favorite activities to do there are hiking, dipping in the small cascading streams, go up the canopy walkway, enjoying the peaceful greenery at the park, as well as observing the wildlife – eagles, monitor lizards, monkeys and the turtles which come to lay eggs here. The turtle sanctuary at Pantai Kerachut is a great place to visit. It's also here that we can see a rare phenomenon of the meromictic lake. At the entrance of the park, the small interpretation center is a good place to bring children to know more about mangrove forest and wildlife. You can also hike up to the Mukah Head lighthouse. On a good bright sunny day, we can see Langkawi from up there. There are also speed boats for hire for you to have a fun afternoon ride and the operators can prepare a picnic lunch for you too.

2. Restoran Nasi Campur Awet Muda
People always ask me where to go for a real Malay lunch in George Town. My answer: there is no proper Malay restaurant in George Town, you have to go to the south of the island to get one. There are a few near USM (Universiti Sains Malaysia) and a favourite of mins is located at Lorong Sungai Dua, between USM Sungai Dua gate and JPJ. I truly enjoy the grilled fish, the ulam, sambal and air asam here. My children love the soup, Malay style. Sometimes you can get exotic meats like duck, deer and quail too.

3. Kapitan Restaurant at Chulia Street
This is my favourite place in George Town because they serve, among others, garlic butter naan and chicken tikka plus thick mango lassi which I enjoy. The place is open 24 hours and serve a dizzying array of North Indian cuisine.

4. Laksa at Balik Pulau
I am really fussy about laksa. In my opinion, Siam laksa at Nan Guang Coffeeshop at 67 main road of Balik Pulau has very good gravy but in terms of the smoothness of the noodles, I prefer the laksa sold beside the Ayer Itam market. By the way, I also like the assam laksa gravy of Nan Guang.

5. Queensbay Mall
Queensbay Mall is the place for my retail therapy and it is easy to park during off peak hours and the children enjoy the stretch of beachfront to play. Here, our favorite restaurant is Azuma, the Japanese restaurant on its second floor, South Wing. The mall also has a post office, which is convenient.

Disagree? Send us an email with your Penang Top Five to For more info on Nazlina's cooking class, see listing.