Archive for the Penang Category

When in Penang, eat.

Posted in family, gastronomical delights, Penang, professional tourist in the making on November 9, 2010 by twotwoeight

I did say I was going to blog about the gastronomical delights, right? 😉

Our first and immediate stop — New Lane, off Macalister Road.  The whole street is just teeming with hawkers and you can literally catch a whiff of the aroma and float to the street sniffing, like the cartoon characters do!  Our absolute favourite, the chue chap chuk (pork porridge) was just as good as we remembered it — silky smooth with crispy deep fried intestines lending a nice mix of texture to it.  And not forgetting the belacan fried chicken, the stall still manned by two slightly OCD men ;).  Next was chue cheung fan — served with sweet sauce, chilli sauce and prawn paste.  Only in Penang I get my CCF with prawn paste, yummy.

We headed to Pulau Tikus for breakfast, to get my fix of ban chean kueh (Asian pancake) — extra thick but still fluffy, with a generous dose of crushed peanuts and your choice of black or white sugar.  We had a piece of each.  Situated at the morning market, this stall is always bustling with activity.  This time around, we noticed there was a lady who was selling vegetarian seaweed crackers so we went to try, and of course snap a few photos.  Due to some miscommunication, the aunty actually thought we were there to do a write-up on her food, and asked when it was going to be aired as she was very excited! Ooppsss! She even made us a few chai kueh to try (FOC)! How embarassing! So here I am, with my little influence, telling you about her food.  Truthfully, the crackers were very good — thin as paper, light and crispy with a hint of seaweed aroma.  Doesn’t leave you with the oily aftertaste you get in your mouth after you eat crackers.  And the chai kueh, it is vegetarian, so the overall taste is very fresh and not oily.  The skin was nice and smooth, and not too thick to give you the floury feeling.  Overall, it was good. So, if you guys happen to be at the Pulau Tikus morning market, do pop over and give it a try! 😉

The pilgrimage to Penang would not be complete without making a stop at Lorong Selamat.  Yes, the char kuay teow (fried flat noodles) is ridiculously expensive (RM 7), but like the aunty said “No one force you to eat!”.  What do you get? Three fresh huge prawns, a not-so-generous sprinkle of chinese sausage and definitely oodles of wok hei (I don’t know how to describe this — the aroma of the wok?).  We also had curry chue cheung fan and fried oysters.  Didn’t have the kuey teow th’ng (flat noodles soup) though, because we were so stuffed! Seeing the kuey teow th’ng stall brings back memories of a sampat friend who said we will all share the bowl of kuey teow th’ng, but ended up finishing it and we had to order another bowl to share!

Due to my failing memory, we spent hours trying to locate the Penang Road cendol stall, all because I seem to remember it was a different road name!  Thankfully, the aunty at the place where we had lunch knew what I was talking about and promptly sent us off in the right direction.  There was a long line when we got there, luckily the uncle serves cendol and ais kacang at super-human speed. It’s quite amazing to see him dish up cendol like second nature.

Our last stop before we left Penang was the Air Itam assam laksa, which is still as good as I recall.  And the plus point is you get served by friendly smiling people who are so efficient you have a bowl of steaming hot laksa sitting in front of you the moment you sit down.  Literally!  Oh yeah, and if you sit too near the sugar-cane lady, be warned, you will get a free sugar-cane shower!

I’m still in a state of post-prandial encephalopathy…but it was definitely worth it! We didn’t have time to really read up food blogs for other recommendations as this was sort of a last-minute thing, and we probably missed tons of other good food in Penang — but years later, when I think of this trip, I will remember the tons of laughter and fun we shared, the scrumptious food we had continuously, the great photos we took and the crazy singing in the car.

*photo credits : pw & me

 

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roadtrip : Pearl Of The Orient

Posted in family, Penang, professional tourist in the making, through the lens on November 8, 2010 by twotwoeight

Last weekend, PW and I made an impromptu trip to Penang and discovered there’s more to Penang, than just the gastronomical haven one has always associated the island with.

We were initially hesitant, as the weather up north had been rather unpredictable and as we drove over the Penang bridge, the sky was gloomy and the rain seemed persistent.

However, luck seemed to be on our side, as we were greeted with a surreal view when we stepped out of our hotel en route to satisfy our craving for the chu chap chuk (pork porridge) at New Lane. I shall not dwell on the mouth-watering hawker fare for now…that deserves a post by itself!

We decided to explore the heritage site on foot this time, and what a rewarding experience it was.  Penang has such an eclectic mix of cultures and old world charm and yet they co-exist harmoniously with the high-rise buildings and modern sculptures, and every now and then, there is evidence of infiltration of modern technology amidst the antiquities.

You can take a walk down one street seeing old uncles clad in white singlets fanning themselves while chit-chatting on low rattan chairs with a cup of coffee in hand and turn the corner to see well-preserved buildings with colonial influences restored to its former glory.  And yet turn another corner, to find elaborately decorated shopfronts proudly displaying it’s Peranakan roots, some of which are crawling with tourists. As you walk down each street soaking in the colours, the sounds and the smells of the atmosphere, you can’t help but wonder how it would have been to be taken back in time, standing on that street.

The next day, we took a trip to Kek Lok Si temple.  I remember the last time I was here, they were raising funds to build a shelter for the Goddess of Mercy statue and this time around, the shelter is already in progress.

We were conned by the information pamphlet in the hotel into thinking that there was a cultural performance at the Esplanade every first Saturday of the month — apparently not. Nevertheless, seeing kids running around at Padang Kota Lama reminded me of the Penang trip after Form 6, when some of us ran around like fools, trying unsuccessfully to fly a kite at that very field!  Brings back memories. 😉

All in all, it was a wonderful trip.  This Pearl Of The Orient is definitely more enticing than it seems.  A part two is much needed.

*photo credits – pw & me