The remarkable blend of cultures on this picturesque island is one of the most beautiful aspects of visiting Penang.
And there is no better place to get a taste of it than in Little India.
Wander the streets and soak in the sights, scents, and noises. Explore the busy ambiance of Little India by browsing local sellers, trying some street cuisine, and overall getting lost in the bustling atmosphere.
Pro tip: come in the evening for a more relaxed atmosphere.
5 things I like to do in Little India Penang:
1.Look for Spices and Curry
If there’s one thing you’ll smell in Penang Little India, it’s the aroma of curries and spices.
In Little India, there are stores on every street. They sell a wide variety of spices, most of which are directly imported from South India.
Jayam, a mini-market located in front of Little India’s entrance on Beach Street, is one of our favorite stores. You can select from the many items for sale in the many steel bins strewn over the floor.
You’ve come to the correct place whether you’re looking for red or brown curry powder. Various types of dhal, almonds, cashews, or other nuts.
2. Check out some of Penang Street Art
Some of Penang’s most renowned paintings are located towards the eastern end of Little India’s main road. Jalan Pasar, and are worth a brief detour.
You’ll first come across a parking lot if you walk up Beach Street to the traffic signal intersection.
Here you may view a handful of intriguing, massive, modernist murals created by Malay painters such as Fritilidea.
Continue until you reach the Black Cattle café on the corner. Cross the street, and turn right onto Ah Kwee Street.
That’s where you’ll discover Ernest Zacharevic’s iconic “Man on a Motorcycle” work. As well as other noteworthy murals. Such as a massive anti-smoking installation with larger-than-life cigarette butts glued into the wall.
Continue a few hundred meters till you find Restoran Kapitan (excellent tandoori chicken here) on your right. Then re-enter Little India from King Street — directly across the road and near to the Nagore Dargha Sheriff temple.
3.Purchase a Roti Benggali from a Bicycle Pushcart.
Little India is one of the few areas in Penang where Bicycle Pushcart peddlers offer snacks and the traditional Bengali Loaf Bread.
Stopping one and purchasing a couple of slices of fresh bread from the street is an old-world and one-of-a-kind experience accessible only in Penang Little India.
Try it before the last few are gone for good.
4.Pay a visit to the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
Penang Little India wouldn’t be India without a stunning Southern Hindu temple with a spectacular gopuram (tower) adorned with colorful gods and goddesses.
The Sri Arulmigu Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, built-in 1833, is Penang’s oldest Hindu shrine. With its main entrance on King Street, the gopuram, and a smaller gate on Kapitan Keling Street intersects with the middle of Chulia Street.
Sri Maha Mariamman is one of Penang’s most prominent attractions and a great venue to watch pujas, or traditional Indian rituals.
Pujas are performed by the resident priests either in the morning around 6.30 a.m. or in the evening around 6.30 p.m.
The temple usually is open from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Plan your visit around an Indian festival when devotees go here in large numbers to pay their homage to a diverse assortment of gods.
5. Penang’s Best Samosas
Penang’s Little India has long been a samosa hotspot.
Little India’s samosas are big, crispy, and deliciously loaded with spicy masala potato and green beans. They’re a pleasure you won’t soon forget. They are available in vegetarian, chicken, and other meat types and start at RM 0.60 per piece.
One of the finest locations to sample them is at the booth that has now rebranded itself as “Penang Famous Samosa” – funny how that works. It’s located on Jalan Pasar and Queen Street and has been without a signboard for many years.
But, aside from fame and branding, the samosas here are essentially the same: wonderfully crispy.