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China House - My Indie World

China House

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China House

Eat & Shop • Penang • Owner: Narelle McMurtrie

Home » Malaysia » Penang

More than a cafe, a space for all.
A traditional compound of 3 heritage buildings, linked by an open-air courtyard and converted into 14 spaces comprising shops, cafes, restaurants, galleries, live music, and a bakery. Explore

Made with Love

Narelle, an interior designer with over 30 years of experience, made the decision to relocate to Malaysia several decades ago. For the past decade, she has been conducting her business in the city of Penang, which has been her home since then.

When it comes to mural art, Narelle is a true believer. She sees the transformative power of mural art in central Georgetown and takes pride in the fact that China House has been a major contributor to the area’s creative diversity. For Narelle, China House is more than just a business venture; it’s a labour of love. She is passionate about creating a welcoming atmosphere that fosters creativity and community, and every aspect of China House is infused with that same passion.

Photo Credit: Chee BP

Fuelled with Passion

Narelle has always had a passion for revitalizing old structures, which drove her to transform a dilapidated shophouse into what is now known as China House in 2011. This initiative led to the hip and artsy revival of George Town, setting a precedent that many others quickly followed. Today, if you take a stroll in the heritage core of Georgetown, you’ll see that many of the cafes and establishments have drawn inspiration from China House’s original shabby-chic heritage restoration blueprint.


Housed within three heritage buildings, ChinaHouse in Penang is a multifaceted hub that houses cafes, bars, art spaces and a mini library

Driven by Purpose

Narelle breathed new life into a once-forgotten storehouse, injecting it with her unique blend of creativity and passion. She envisioned China House as a place that would bring people together and set out to create a vintage cafe experience that combines the best of old and new.


From soulful musicians to hilarious comedians, China House Canteen embraces the vibrant arts scene by hosting a variety of artistic performances that captivate and delight patrons.

Location