Surprisingly, it is much easier to find organic food in Penang ( large list) than it is in much of Europe, at least as a traveler. Like most places, it is more expensive than conventionally raised food, but some of it is actually not that much different, especially when it is grown locally. We plan to check out the local organic farms sometime and see if we can get some sent to us directly. As much as possible we avoid the expensive imported food to keep us on our tight budget.
I love it that they also have the wonderful and ultra healthy, pastured DQ chicken and that I can find pastured eggs from small farms at markets ( which they call "wet Markets"). Still trying to track down the grass fed beef ( imported from Australia and New Zealand).
WHERE TO BUY ORGANIC FOOD Tesco Our Penang rental condo home is only 2 blocks from Tesco, so were quite thrilled to discover they actually have a lot of organic food and produce. We also get some great wild salmon here at a good price. It's brand new so this option wasn't available last year and we are happy it now is.
We also tend to find a few things browsing in the small shops in the Tesco mall that are organic like organic nutella or organic blueberry jam. The bad news with all stores in Penang is if they run out, no telling when it will show up again.
Oon Organic and Natural Center Further away from us, but with very helpful owners and good selection. We, or rather DaVinci goes at least twice a week for supplies that we can not get at Tesco like the DQ chicken, goat yogurt, organic unheated honey ( from Australia), organic cilantro,parsley, prunes, natto, shitake mushrooms, goji berries, organic coconut oil, organic flours, organic popcorn, organic grass fed butter, organic cabbage, bok choy, greens for juicing and more!
IE Organic Store This is the first organic store we went to and it is right next to Oon Organic ( there are actually several in this area but we just use these two mostly). Frankly, they are not as helpful, so we only get the things there that we can not get at Oon or Tesco. Just Life Organic store This store is closer to us ( but not as close as Tesco) but some how we don't use it much. It is in a more upscale neighborhood, ( lots of expats) so I find the prices higher. Reflections Organic Restaurant and store This is our favorite organic restauant ( cute neighborhood too) and they have a nice selection for food for sale as well. Unfortunately, even though it is not far from Oon or IE, it is much more difficult to take the bus to and from, so we don't go often.
Cold Storage This is the funny name of the primary grocery chain store ( mostly conventional food). We have one very near us ( walking distance) and one not far away at the mall where we often see movies on Sunday. We get very, very few things here, but sometimes we find something organic that we need like cabbage, organic raw cashews or organic peanut butter. For a conventional grocery store, they have more organic than such stores in the U.S. or Europe...so we often pick up something small needed after the movie or raw cashews for the movie. ( Freshness tends to be a problem here frequently and prices higher).
WHAT TO BUY ORGANIC AND WHAT NOT TO
We buy mostly organic, but we also get some things at the wet market that don't have to be organic ( according to the dirty dozen/clean 15 type lists) like pineapples, mangos, avocados, bananas etc.. Although we do get somethings organic even if on the good list like cabbage and broccoli.