Both are equal contenders for food. There is a good choice of cheap local food around in both but in Penang you get a wonderful eclectic mix of Malaysia, Thai, South East Asian, Chinese and Indian. All are very, very tasty.
There was a time when Penang was the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, for some western travellers the only ‘orient’ they would know outside of Singapore and maybe Hong Kong.
It was the 1950s and 60s when jet travel had just started making the world smaller and the western middle class were in search of new and exotic locations.
But there’s a time when Penang’s popularity just fell off the map.