If you've come to Penang and you don't like food, you're probably come to the wrong place. Food is such an important part of Malaysian culture; it's even said that a usual day in Malaysia involves six meals: an early morning meal, breakfast, lunch, second lunch, early evening meal and late night meal. So given all this, it's not surprising that in Penang, which is jam packed with museums for just about everything, you'll find the Wonderfood Museum dedicated to all things food.
Once you've paid your entry fee you'll come to the first exhibition, a celebration of Malaysian food. Like a good tourist guide, there are directions to find the most popular places to eat all around Penang as well as detailed descriptions of popular local dishes and delicacies from further afield in Malaysia. It's helpful to snap a few pictures, because the recommendations will come in handy when you're looking for your next meal. It's not just the information - you'll find supersized models of almost every Malaysian dish imaginable from bowls of laksa to platters filled with varied Malaysian desserts. It's not all larger than life, there are also dioramas of Malaysian street food stalls and vendors giving you a comprehensive tour of all there is to eat and discover across the country.
From there, things get a little weirder. There are still some incredible models of food, but they take a bit of a surreal turn. Think black and white food, rotting meals or a dinner table in zero gravity. If you're tempted to step in and take a picture, go right ahead. You're encouraged at almost every step of the way to take photos and interact with the exhibits. The museum alternates between an interactive art exhibition and an informative learning experience as you pass from room to room.
Many of the exhibits are very kitsch, but they're worth checking out anyway. It's not all lighthearted either. As well as tackling the best, weirdest, and most extreme sides of food around the world there are also exhibits dedicated to some of the darker sides. They deal with food wastage, exploitation and hunger. These exhibits seem odd surrounded by giant colourful props, but while it can be strange to move from one exhibit to another the more serious issues are treated with respect.
Some of the interactive exhibits are a little worse for wear, but on the most part, the models throughout the exhibition are examples of incredibly skilled work. The food looks incredibly life like, even if it's ten times the size. While some parts of the museum won't be to everyone's tastes, the sections on local food culture are reason enough to add it to your list.