The museum was opened in November 2015 as a place to honor the culinary heritage of Malaysia and Penang, which is considered its culinary capital.
Located in Lebuh Pantai, a 6-minute walk from Church Street Pier, Wonderfood Museum in Penang showcases larger-than-life replicas of Malaysian street food and desserts. The museum is housed in a colonial building from the ‘40s and contains 3 galleries–Info Zone, Wow Zone, and Educational Zone spread across 2 floors.
Utilising food replication techniques from Japan, the realistic giant models of the food are handcrafted by Sean Lao, the museum’s owner.
In the museum, you’ll find plastic models of food stuck on walls, themed mini dining rooms with tables full of plastic food, and even a monochromatic room connecting black-and-white food to motivational quotes.
Info Zone showcases over 100 types of street food and local delicacies of the Malays, Indians, Chinese, and Perakanan, all displayed in glass cases. Learn about Malaysian cuisine and local eating habits here. There are also miniature displays of a typical day’s meals of the locals, such as nasi lemak at a roadside stall, Chinese congee for lunch, or roti canai and teh tarik at a mamak stall.
In the Wow Zone, visitors can pose with giant replicas of Penang hawker favourites like cendol, laksa, curry mee, rojak, char kuay teow, and ice kacang. The museum also provides lots of interesting facts, trivia and educational information about the food you’ll find in Penang, as well as recommendations of restaurants and eateries that serve these dishes.
In the Education Zone, you’ll see what watermelons and banana looked like before they were cultivated for mass consumption. There’s also a framed infographic informing you about the amount of sugar in the food you consume. As you learn about Malaysian food culture in Wonderfood Museum, you’ll also find out how certain dining traditions can negatively impact the environment. Not for the faint-hearted, there’s even a display of a wedding banquet table with models of wounded sharks, highlighting the cruel process of obtaining shark fin for shark fin soup, a dish commonly served at Chinese wedding dinners.
Besides Malaysian food, there’s also a display of some of the world’s most expensive food like a strip of chocolate-coated bacon covered in edible gold, a $4200 (S$5873) pizza, and a $1100 (S$1515) burger.