Grocery Shopping in Penang (with Tips)

If you recently moved to Penang, you might appreciate some pointers on where to shop for groceries, whether it’s for diapers, pasta, or fresh vegetables.

Whatever it is, I wrote this up as a guide for the uninitiated.

Grocery shopping in Penang is fairly convenient. Supermarkets are pretty scattered around the island and it is pretty easy to find fresh goods at affordable prices. Also, since Penang has its fair share of expats living here, you will also be able to find that favourite cereal of yours from back home, and that will hopefully help cure any homesick feeling you might develop.

So there are a few main supermarkets that we shop at, for different purposes, and I’ll list them all here.  

Supermarket NameLocationOpening HoursParkingPriceFreshness of Fresh ProduceQuality of Chicken, Beef, Lamb, FishQuality of PorkSelection of Imported GoodsAlcohol Section
Tesco Seri Tanjung PinangTanjung Tokong8 am - 1 amFree$3.5/53/54/53/53.5/5
Tesco HypermarketJelutong8 am - 1 amFree$3.5/53/54/53/53/5
Cold StorageGurney Plaza9.30 am - 10.30 pmRM2 and above$$4/54/54/54/54/5
Cold StorageIsland Plaza9.30 am - 10 pmRM1 and above$$4/54/54/54/54/5
Jaya GrocerGurney Paragon9.30 am - 10.30 pmRM2 and above$$4/55/55/55/55/5
Aeon SupermarketQueensbay Mall10.30 am - 11 pmRM1 and above$$5/55/55/54/54/5

Tesco

We do the bulk of our grocery shopping at Tesco. Things are generally reasonably priced, and lower compared to Cold Storage and Jaya Grocer.

Also, parking is free. Yay.

What we normally buy at Tesco:

  • Vegetables
  • Staples (rice, noodles, and pasta)
  • Cooking ingredients (spices and sauces)
  • Pork
  • Dairy products, coffee and tea, beer
  • Toiletries, cleaning supplies

While they do have a wine section, we find the selection to be better at other places like The Wine Shop, Jaya Grocer and Cold Storage.

Tip #1: Get a Tesco club card for discounts and cash vouchers.
Tip #2: Shop online for the bulky, heavy stuff. Delivery charges are as low as RM3.

Cold Storage

This one seems to be a favourite among expats, so expect prices to be higher than Tesco. The upside of that is you will be able to find a wider selection of imported vegetables here, so if you happen to be missing some brussel sprouts, then you know where to go.

What we normally buy here:

  • Meat (chicken, beef, and lamb)
  • Wine – they’ve got a respectable selection, and reasonably priced.
Meat at Cold Storage, Penang
Although prices can get a little bit crazy sometimes… – Meat at Cold Storage, Penang

Tip: Personally, we prefer the outlet at Gurney Plaza because our favourite bakery is there. Try their apple brioche – it’s TO DIE FOR.

Jaya Grocer

This supermarket is the newest on the island. We find that while most of everything is priced higher than both Tesco and Cold Storage, the vegetable, fruit and meat section is filled with really fresh products.

If you have been hunting for something imported, chances are you’ll find it here. They probably have the best selection of imported goods on the island.

What we normally buy here:

  • Baking chocolate
  • Lentils
  • Meat
  • Wine
Imported goods at Jaya Grocer, Penang
If you happen to crave for Sriracha – Imported goods at Jaya Grocer, Penang

Aeon

Back when we were living on the other side of the island, near the first bridge, we would frequent Queensbay Mall. In this mall, was Aeon. We loved it for its fresh produce, good meat as well as their salad, sushi and sandwich bars. I know of no other supermarket in Penang where you get this. Aeon is a chain originating from Japan, so if you’re into Japanese products, this is definitely a place you should visit.

Fried food at Aeon Supermarket, Queensbay Mall
Fried food at Aeon Supermarket, Queensbay Mall
Sushi at Aeon Supermarket, Queensbay Mall
Sushi at Aeon Supermarket, Queensbay Mall

Rounding Up

In addition to supermarkets, we also visit the markets close to our home. The great thing with Penang is that there’s a market (or 2) at every corner, and I’ll leave that for another post.

If you came to this post looking for places to find organic produce, then I apologize for not being much help as we don’t really shop for those – however I should mention that Jaya Grocer has a pretty good organic section.

Also, we are firm believers of using reusable bags, and I’m so glad to see that the state government has implemented a No Plastic Bag policy in supermarkets, so always remember to BYOB (Bring your own bag(s)).

Bonus Tip #1: If you are having difficulty looking for a specific item, try searching online. A website similar to Amazon that we use in Malaysia is Lazada. We usually buy diapers and other baby related stuff online. If the product is local, then you can expect to receive it within 3 working days (sometimes the very next).

Bonus Tip #2: If you’re purchasing pork in supermarkets in Malaysia, note that it is always a separate section, with a separate cashier. Should your cashier be Muslim, it is common practice to hold the meat package for scanning and bag it yourself.   

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