Guan Seang Cafe, Armenian St, Penang

On the corners of Armenian & Lebuh Pantai, ( Beach St) are two of my favorite places to eat in Georgetown. On the left is Cozy in the Rocket, a Western style cafe, famous for its Pasta, desserts and good coffee. On the right is Guan Seang Cafe, famous for its beautifully cooked local dishes such as Assam Laksa, Spring rolls and Nyona Kuih.

Assam Laksa Guan Seang Cafe, Helen & Chew Guan Seang Cafe Armenian St Penang, Old Bicycles Guan Seang Cafe afAssam Laksa, Spicy & Sour, at Guan Seang Cafe

If you have ever had the good fortune to eat at this cafe then you will already have met Helen & Choo the hard working and super friendly couple who run Guan Seang.

Helen & Chew, Guang Seang Cafe Armenian St, Owners of Guan Seang Cafe

This impressive building dates back to 1907 and was at one time owned by Choo’s father who ran a bicycle shop here, which he started with a loan of $50.  After he passed away the shop remained empty for some time until Choo and Helen restored it and opened the cafe in 2013.

Guan Seang Trading Cafe, Cafes on Armenian St Penang, Asam Laksa, Ice Kacang, Cendol,

In memory of his fathers business, 2 old bicycles are hanging from the ceiling in one of the dining areas. Old photos of Georgetown and not so old LP’s of singers during the 1960’s and 70’s hang reminiscently on some of the cafe walls.

Old Bicycles Guan Seang Cafe, Bicycle on the wall mural Georgetown, Heritage Building 1907, Armenian St CafesOld Bicycles from the shop owned & run by Choo’s Father

Old Records at Guan Seang Cafe Penang, Old LP's 1960-1970, Cafes GeorgetownOld LP’s from 1960’s & 70’s remind us that we once had gramaphones

On the 5 foot way outside, iron artwork, such as those gracing many of the streets in Georgetown’s heritage area, depict scenes of the city’s life in its early years. For those who prefer to eat outside several tables provide shelter from the hot sun. These also give customers a first class view of the famous Georgetown mural of the children on the bicycle. I guess this is quite a fitting piece of artwork considering its right opposite to a shop that used to sell them!!

Iron Artwork Guan Seang Cafe, Five Foot Way, Armenian St Penang, Bicycle on the wall, Georgetown ayView of Armenian St from inside Guan Seang Cafe

Five Foot Way Guang Seang Cafe Armenian St Georgetown, Bicycle on the wall Georgetown, Guan Seang Trading Cafe

Inside is where it really happens, with the culinary expertise of Helen. Creating fresh and tasty meals in the same way her mother once did, using whatever produce happens to be available on the day, she has become expert at creating her unique flavours, often using herbs & greens from her own garden.

Guan Seang Cafe, Cafes on Armenian St Penang, Healthy Local Food, Mural of Bicycle on WallLunch at Guan Seang Cafe on Armenian St

Each day Helen will have several dishes on offer which can be mixed and matched and served with a portion of steamed rice and a soup. There are usually one or two dishes with meat, fish or tofu and one or two veggie options.

Guan Seang Lunch, NO MSG, Healthy local Food, Armenian St Cafes, Georgetown PenangHelen’s tasty dish of mixed veg, chicken & rice, served with a soup on the side

Chicken, Potato & Veg Lunch on Merdeka Day 2016 Our Merdeka Day Lunch at Guan Seang Cafe

If you want to spice up your life then her Assam Laksa is not to be missed.
Fried rice and Helen’s homemade spring rolls are all time favourites. I think these are the best spring rolls I’ve eaten. Usually a snack meal I stay away from due to their greasiness, this was not the case at Guan Seang. They were incredibly light with a beautiful flaky pastry and no hint of oiliness.


Homemade Spring Rolls at Guan seang Cafe, No MSG, No additives, Spring Rolls on Armenian St Penang, Bicycle on the wall muralHelen’s Homemade Spring Rolls at Guan Seang Cafe

To cool down on a really hot day and for something sweet, do try the popular Malaysian Cendol. This mixture of shaved ice, red beans, gula melaka, coconut milk, cubed black grass jelly and pandan is really delicious, but way past the comfort zone of my poor fructmal stomach.

Nyonya Cendol at Guan Seang Cafe, Local Dessert Penang, Pandan, Cendol Armenian St, Penang, Bicycle mural of childrenIcey Cold & refreshing Nyonya Cendol

To play it safe I opt for the traditional Perenakan dessert treat of Nyona Kuih and leave the Patient Partner to sample the more adventurous local delicacies.

Merdeka Lunch Nyonya Kuih, Traditional Nyonya Dessert, Guan Seang cafe, Bicycle Mural PenangTraditional Nyonya Kuih, time consuming to make, but worth the wait!

To quench a thirst the fridge is stacked with a variety of drinks, including bottles of nutmeg juice, another speciality of Penang. Also available are coffee, tea and milo, either hot or iced and refreshing coconut water.

Puddings & Jellies Guan Seang Trading Cafe, Nyonya Desserts Armenian St Georgetown, Bicycle on the wall PenangJellies, Puddings, Soups, Tofu Desserts and fresh Coconut.

We like to eat regularly at Guan Seang as it’s a great lunch stop. The food, unlike some similar dishes you might find on the street stalls in Georgetown, is not swimming in fat and does not contain MSG. The prices are incredibly affordable and the customer service is superb.
I highly recommend this cafe for a healthier local food experience in the heart of the heritage area.

Barley Soup Guan Seang Cafe, Armenian St Cafes, Healthy Barley SoupHelen’s  Healthy Homemade Barley Soup

Cozy in the Rocket


We wish the talented couple responsible for Cozy all the best in their next venture.

If you love a good pasta, then Cozy in the Rocket is a must visit in Penang. This cafe with its eclectic blend of homemade tables, antique chairs, bric-a -brac and a wall that boasts a kaleidoscope of hand painted bottles, should be on everyone’s list of great places to eat in Georgetown.

Cozy in the Rocket entrance on Lebuh Pantai Georgetown Penang, black & white awning on Cozy in the Rocket Cafe PenangThe entrance to Cozy in the Rocket on Lebuh Pantai (Beach St)

Although slightly hidden behind a couple of striped bamboo blinds, Cozy is not difficult to find. After all, it’s side fence and wall is a well known George Town landmark. Yes, you guessed it!! The famous Bicycle mural. The one that draws crowds of selfie taking tourists from around the world and has taken over from the iconic rickshaw as the symbol of Penang Island.

Heritage Penang, Trishaw Georgetown Penang, Temples, Prewar houses, Cozy in the Rocket, bicycle mural Penang, pasta, desserts Armenian StKing St in George Town with it’s amazing Temples & iconic Trishaw, once the symbol of Penang

This is a second for the young owners and creators of Cozy in the Rocket. In 2010 they opened a tiny cafe on Armenian St, only a few paces from their current location. Amelie, named after the French movie of the same name, was the first of its kind in George Town. Serving amazing pastas made by the talented and self taught Loh Choon Kueng (Hong), coffee, smoothies and fresh local fruit juices made by partner Yen, this tiny cafe with only 5 tables soon became too small for the increasing number of appreciative customers.

Amelie Cafe Armenian St, Cozy in the Rocket Georgetown Penang, Fresh Pasta, Bicycle on the wall in Penang, Murals in Penang, Lithuanian Artist in Penang, Armenian St Bicycle on the wallAmelie Cafe, a once popular, welcoming place to eat on Armenian St

Tiny Amelie Cafe on Armenian St Penang, Amelie Cafe now at Cozy in the Rocket, Bicycle on the wall, Great Pasta in penang, King of Desserts at Cozy in the RocketThe very compact Amelie Cafe, closed now but the new venue of Cozy in the Rocket is a few steps away on the cnr of Armenian & Beach Sts

Amelie made way for Cozy and although the space is bigger nothing has changed as far as the food. The kitchen is spacious and more user friendly for Hong who once cooked in an area about the size of a postage stamp. Yen has a large serving counter now, a commercial size espresso machine, a larger fridge and room to move. She used to share this area with Hong on the postage stamp!!

Delicious Iced Chocolate at Cozy in the Rocket,Yen's double chocolate Iced Chocolate at CozyYen’s Deliciously Moorish Real Iced Chocolate

Pastas are still fantastic. Hong makes them himself from scratch and they are cooked to perfection. Don’t expect a quick meal here, this is not fast food. Every dish is made to order and if you are a large group, then you may not get your meals served all at the same time. Hong is the only chef and each meal is hand crafted. This takes time.  Equally, if it’s very busy and you have a plane to catch, then first  check with Yen how long your meal will be.  If you can be patient, have a drink or read a book ( don’t expect wifi here), then these pastas are definitely worth the wait.

Tagliolini Fromaggio & Bacon Pork & Sausage Meat at Cozy in the Rocket Penang, Pasta in Penang, Best Pasta in Penang, Cafe in Georgetown Penang serving Pasta dishesTagliolini Fromaggio with Bacon, Pork & Sausage Meat

Tagliolini with Mushroom & Truffle Oil, Mushroom Pasta at Cozy in the Rocket, Great mushroom Pasta in PenangTagliolini with Mushroom & Truffle Oil

Pasta at Cozy in the Rocket Penang, Fructose friendly Pasta at Cozy in the Rocket Penang, Pasta minus Garlic & OnionMy special Fructose Friendly Prawn & Tomato Pasta

Now you might be wondering how Cozy in the Rocket got its name. I certainly did and yet everytime I went there I forgot to ask Hong because I guess I just liked the name and it didn’t really matter! However I did find out recently that it was one of his favourite songs from a group called PSAPP. It also happened to be the theme song for a favourite TV program of his called Grey’s Anatomy.

Cozy in the Rocket Penang, Hand Crafted Pasta, Great Desserts in Penang, King of Desserts, Pasta near Bicycle on the wall, Georgetown, PenangThe bright & spacious venue of Cozy in the Rocket in the busy Heritage Area of George Town, Penang

Do NOT leave Cozy without sampling one of Hong’s homemade desserts. I really believe he is the King of dessert and cake making in Penang. His ability to blend texture and flavours to the max is uncanny. If you have the chance to sample his chocolate brownie, pannacotta and brûlées then you will know what I mean. The dessert menu changes regularly, sometimes even daily depending on available ingredients and Hong’s creative flair.
I guarantee you’ll be back for more!!

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Passionfruit Cream & Praline topping, Cozy in the Rocket Desserts, Great Pasta in Penang, Lithuanian artist, bicycle on the wall in Penang,Armenian St Penang, Cozy, g

Shia’s Homemade Granola Penang

On the corner of Beach St and Church St Gaut in the Commercial district of Georgetown, Penang, you will find an old grey coloured building called India House. Built in 1937 in an Art Deco Style by a wealthy Indian Chettier, it is mostly remembered for housing the United States Information Services. Today, it appears a little run down and the Indian architecture is somewhat obstructed by sign boards attached to the front along the Beach St side.

India House Penang, Indian Chettier Penang, India House, cnr of Beach St & Church St Gaut, George Town, Penang

Once you’ve had a good look at the front of this impressive building with it’s elephant sitting in pride of place below it’s name, take a walk along the Church St Gaut side and just a couple of doors along you will find a bright and welcoming little shop that is home to Shia’s Granola.Shia's Granola Shop. Church St Gaut Penang, Homemade Granola, India House George TownShia’s Granola in the India House Building on Church St Gaut

Now in it’s 3rd year of what is fast becoming a regular stop for Penangites who are serious about their health, this cute little shop is surely here to stay.

Considering the healthy nerds that the Patient Partner and I profess to be, I am seriously surprised that we haven’t found Shia’s until this year, after all, we only live a couple of blocks way!  As soon as Facebook (thank you) alerted us to what we have been missing  for the past two years we were there like a shot, eager to try a new taste sensation.

Homemade Granola Penang, Shia's cute shop, The shop on Church St Gaut, Georgetown

We were greeted by Alishia and Ke Wynn, the  young owners of Shias Granola. The passion for their business and a desire to provide a quality health product for their customers is clearly evident. Ke Wynn is also a Private Fitness Trainer so if you feel that you’re in need of a work out or just need to improve your general health then give him a call. Remember, achieving good health is holistic. Exercise and good food go hand in hand!

We perched at the counter on two high stools and with watering mouths we watched the making of our Granola Bowl Smoothies. The Patient Partner opted for the Peachy Mango whilst I couldn’t resist the thought of Choc Banana, a blend of yogurt, banana, peanut butter, cocoa, chia seed & Granola. The P.P’s was a mix of peach, mango, yogurt, chia & Granola.

Shia's Homemade Granola, Mango & Peach Granola, Peachy Mango Granola Bowl

Our oohs! and aahs! as we ate proved they were not only very moorish,  but also a cool & refreshing treat in such hot weather. The Granola was deliciously nutty  and thankfully not overly sweet.

Choc Banana Granola Bowl, Shia's Homemade Granola, Delicious GranolaChoc Banana Granola Bowl

As well as their homemade granolas Shia’s also retail a range of  products made locally by other entrepreneurial young Penangites, such as Jams, nut butters, Ginger Beer and teas. Apart from the teas we have had the pleasure of eating and drinking all of these products as most are made by friends, and we can highly recommend them.

Hand Crafted Flower Teas at Shia's Granola ShopHand Crafted Slimming Flower Teas available at Shia’s Granola

We have been back to satisfy our taste buds at Shia’s several times since our first visit. There are less than a handful of cafes in Georgetown where we feel we can get a descent cake or dessert that isn’t loaded with saturated fats, synthetic cream and artificial colouring.

Strawberry Granola Bowl Penang, Homemade Granola George Town, Strawberries, Granola & ChiaShia’s Strawberry Granola Bowl with Yoghurt, Chia Seeds and Vanilla

At Shia’s we can feel confident that we are eating a snack, smoothie, dessert, that is not only nutritious, but also tastes pretty damn good!

Shia’s are open every day at the moment as they are still trialing weekend hours but remember that the only seating they have is a couple of stools at the counter. Don’t let this stop you though as it’s easy to take these smoothie bowls away and eat them on the run, or just prop outside on the steps.

Shia's Homemade Granola Menu, Healthy smoothies at Shia's GranolaShia’s Smoothie Bowl Menu

You can also phone through your order and they will have it ready for you as you pull up in your car.

Shi's Granola Menu in Penang, Church St Gaut Shia's Homemade GranolaShia’s Healthy Breakfast & Dessert Menu

Which ever way you decide you won’t be sorry.  I think you’ll want to try them all!!

Granola, Peanut Butter, Sauces, Shia's Granola Shop, Church St Gaut Penang