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Where To Buy Organic Food in Penang

August 05, 2012

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Let me tell you, it is a LOT harder to find and buy organic food around the world than it is to do that in California. The endless variety of healthy food choices in California is almost obscene! I was gobsmacked on our recent visit when I went into the gigantic healthfood stores..( after traveling the world so long away from such consumer overwhelm).

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.






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Tess

Hiya
Firstly, thanks for your blog. I really enjoy reading it, particularly about Mozart's schooling and Mandarin progress. We too live in Penang and I have chosen to send my small boys (3 and 5) to a Chinese kindergarden and after nearly a year, they are understanding and talking so much more. If they continue to embrace the learning, the next step will be to determine which primary school they will attend.

Anyway, thanks for this post. We too are very conscious of the food we eat, quality and source and where ever possible eat organic.
Have you heard of Muthu Frozen Foods at Tanjung Bungah? They have an extensive range of Australian and NZ meats, however you would have to check if/which are grass fed. In any case I have found the quality and service impressive.

Shame you haven't had good service at IE Organic. I find them to be very helpful and the owner, Sam will always go out of his way to assist us and discuss concerns, products etc. He also encourages/chats to the kids in Mandarin so enjoy shopping there.

Hope this assists you in soem way and thank you again for your blog and assisting and enlightening us during our Penang journey!

Tess

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Hiya Tess!

Glad you are enjoying it and we should meet up at some point. I think you are so smart to be going for the Mandarin when your kids are young. I am amazed at how many expats do not take advantage of this.

We do know about Mutha and have been there, talked to them, but they didn't even know what grass fed meat was.

Thanks for your feedback...that helps. Perhaps if we get desperate enough we will try some regular..but we don't tend to eat much meat anyway.

I am hoping to find some grass fed elsewhere in Malaysia where they do sell it and hope to get them to send a bunch weekly or monthly to a group of expats here.

Glad to hear that you have had a better experience with IE.

I so appreciate your input..it helps to hear other's experiences.

Callie

Good to know! It's so hard to find non-fried food in so many places, let alone organic...

Musemono

Hello, here in Kuala Lumpur you can find organic grass fed beef at Village Grocer in Bangsar. They have other outlets in Sunway Giza and Mont Kiara. The one in Bangsar has more stock. The beef is Australian-imported called OBE Beef. Cheers.

jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks a bunch Musemono! I've tried to track some down in KL before as I have lots of friends here who also want it and I would love to find someone who would deliver it once a month or once every two weeks. Any ideas?

I've written to a few places but no answer, so I will try this one.

We don't have a car so going to to KL is quite an ordeal for us on the bus in a day.

Hubs had to do that twice for the China visa and it wasn't fun. ;)

Seems like someone would get smart and sell good grassfed beef in Penang.

Candace

I too, would love to find grass-fed beef here in Penang. If you can track down someone for delivery I would certainly join. We live near straits quay and have over the years rid our diets of processed foods and try to eat more conscientiously, its definitely much harder to do in Penang.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

I haven't given up on grass fed beef here Candace, so I will add you to the list when I find a way. They have it in KL, Bangkok and even Ipoh, so I hope I can get someone to deliver soon.

Other wise not too bad here, but certainly not like California. ;)

The raw goats milk is a godsend for us- http://www.soultravelers3.com/2013/03/best-fresh-raw-goats-milk-penang.html

and the DQ pastured chicken,and pastured eggs, but we won't eat any beef or meet until we can find good grass fed.

I am looking into some NZ farms now as grass fed is big there.

I've got a source now for the best wild salmon from Alaska..and things.

Someone would make a fortune doing grassfed beef etc here...not sure why it's not been done yet. Tempts me to open a store here of the best foods. ;)

We are in your neck of the woods here! ;)

oriane

I live in Penang and I order new-zealand and Australian grass fed meat from Fresh Yields. They have a shop in Georgetown and they also deliver everywhere in Penang Island.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Oriane! We are no longer in Penang, but while there we looked and looked for REAL totally grass fed beef and could not find it.

We did find some that said it was grass fed, but much of the meat imported from Australia is not grass fed 100%.

Unfortunately they can call it grass fed even when it is finished off with grains as most of it is. Sigh.

I can't eat it unless it is 100% grass fed as that is the healthiest meat.

We couldn't even find kangaroo meat there which is great and always grass fed as it is not raised but hunted...so will naturally eat it's real diet.

Grains hurt these animals, thus they hurt the people who then eat the meat.

Luckily we are now in the USA where we can easily find 100% grass fed meats and connecting with the farmers who raise them in a sustainable, healthy way.

Next we head to Europe, so the hunt will be on, but we did find the good stuff when we were recently in Australia.

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