hANnaeYTHING

Penang

After three beautiful nights in Phuket, it is time to move to another country. I have been to two cities of Malaysia before namely Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru and i am about to visit another Malaysian city. The first time i heard about Penang was around 5 years ago when Dra. Mayleen Laico went there to watch the ballet show of her daughter. When we were chatting about her trip, i remember so well how she told me how nice Penang was. She even told me that food was great too. So when we planned this trip and my boyrfriend/travel buddy suggested that we will visit Penang and tick off his food trip bucket list, i never hesitated and said yes immediately.

It is an hour plane ride from Phuket City, Thailand (HKT) to Penang, Malaysia (PEN). There is a time difference from Phuket to Penang of an hour (UTC+08.00).

There is one flight available to Penang from Phuket via Firefly every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday and a connecting flight from Singapore via Scoot Airlines.

Penang International Airport

Penang is a Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula. We will explore George Town. It is a colorful, multicultural capital of the Malaysian island of Penang. Once an important Straits of Malacca trading hub, the city is known for its British colonial buildings, Chinese shop houses and mosques.

A fascinating fusion of eastern and western influences, Penang is Malaysia’s most tourist-visited destination. The island manages to embrace modernity while retaining its colonial traditions. Due to its well-preserved heritage buildings Penang’s capital, Georgetown, has been accorded a listing as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

We took Uber from the airport to our hotel. For the entire duration of our trip, we used Uber as means of transportation. We find it very convenient and very safe.

We were welcomed by the owner of the guesthouse. It was the first time that i ever experienced a very personal service from the owners. They let us sit down at the counter,  took out a map and showed us where to eat and what to do. On each restaurants, he told us the specialty of the house. We settled our things and started what we came to Penang for, food trip! Aside from that our guest house is conveniently located at  the heart of the Penang Heritage Walk Site. What is more impressive is that the owner lent us his extra sim card for free. Imagine my glee with free high speed internet connection.

For our Day 1 dinner, we chose the restaurants that is near our guest house, all the restaurants we chose were just walking distance from our hotel.

Dinner 1: Chew Fried Oyster at Koh Low Sar Hor Fun

 

Dinner 2: Chiarsiubao at Tai Tong Restaurant.

 

 

The best dimsum and chiarsiubao!

Dinner 3: Kimberly Street Night Market

Yummy Soy Chicken!

We walked around Kimberly Street Night Market where you can see so many food stalls. This chicken stall outside Kedai Minuman Dessert Old Time Delight Shop serves the best soy chicken in Penang.

 

We walked around the streets after we devoured 3 dinners in one night and went back to our guest house with happy tummies.

DAY 2

Woke up early as we want to have a taste of the best kaya toast in Penang at Toh Soon Cafe. We were lucky that we passed at the back part of the restaurant. There was a vacant table and they allowed us to sit there. The queue at the front was very long.

Front part where the customers patiently lined up to get a table.

This store is famous for toasting their bread the traditional way. Bread toasted manually gives a crisp outer layer and soft inner layer that makes it so yummy.

Bread were toasted manually.

 

They also have delicious cold milk tea and hot teh tarik.


Our table is at the back part of the restaurant. As you can see at the farthest point of the photo are the customers waiting to be seated. Waiting time is usually 10-15 minutes as people literally just eat and go. This restaurant is crowded almost all the time.

After a sumptuous breakfast, we took uber to shop for my Starbucks city mug.

Our next destination is my favorite thing to when in Malaysia next to food trip, Sephora shopping!

 

happy place!

We then head to our next stop which is lunch at Kheng Pin Cafe.

Kheng Pin Cafe has a lot of food choices to choose from. It has surrounding stalls where you can order. The most famous stalls are the ones serving Lor Bak and Crispy Prawn Fitters as well as the Hainanese Chicken. I always pair my meals with Teh Tarik.

Lor Bak and Crispy Prawn Fitters.

Hainanese Chicken.


Lor Bak and Crispy Prawn Fitters stall.

With a full tummy, we then went on to explore the largest Buddhist Temple of Malaysia, Kek Lok Si Temple. It is one of the best known temples in the island since it is one of the pilgrimage centers for Buddhists from Singapore, Hongkong, Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia.

The temple is very interesting even for non-Buddhists as it has a colorful and big facade.

 

 

Kek Lok Si is located at the foot of Air Itam Mountain. We went up the temple through the ascending stairs that has souvenir shops lining up along both sides.  I did not really feel tired going up to the temple because i was also checking out the novelty shops.

The temple consists of prayer halls and pavilions. There are also large Buddha statues.

There are several praying and wishing centers at the temple.

 

 

Something that i wished for.

 

Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang, Malaysia.


Awesome view from the top.

 

Pagoda Tiers (from top) Burmese, Thai and Chinese architectural types.

After visiting Kek Lok Si Temple, we went down the temple and just a few meters is the home of the best Laksa in Penang, Pasar Air Itam Laksa.

 

 

The best Laksa in Penang!

We then rode an Uber to have a taste of the famous Penang desserts.

Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul and Ice Kacang.


Up: Ice Kacang, Down: Chendul

The queue as always is very long but we patiently waited.

A small bowl of chendul contains a nice texture of shaved ice, well-balanced sweetness of Gula Melaka, the creaminess of red beans added to fresh coconut milk as a final touch with fresh daily made Chendul.

Ice Kacang or ABC(Air Campur Batu) is also a famous dessert sold at the streets of Malaysia. It literally means “bean ice”.

We ordered Malaysian Noodles at Joo Hooi Cafe which is just beside the dessert stall and devoured our Chendul and Ice Kacang there too.

Malaysian noodles.

It is now time to explore Chew Jetty. Chew Jetty is one of the famous testament of living heritage in Penang. It is a whole settlement of wooden houses built on silts and the name “Chew” is the surname (the first name) of the residences and that’s where the name was derived. Migrant’s families with this surname would live together in this area.

Chew Jetty entrance.

 

Chew Jetty, Penang, Malaysia


Interesting signage along Chew Jetty wooden passageway.


At the end of the jetty you are able to capture a panoramic view of the port and the activities between the mainland and the island with also magnificent glimpses of the third longest bridge in the world as you gaze to the horizon of the Straits of Malacca.

 

Chew Jetty

Chew Jetty, Penang, Malaysia.

Tourists who wish to experience the traditional lifestyle and a layback holiday could opt for a home stay in this settlement itself. The scheme was started by one of the residents thus enabling you to get a firsthand experience in this unique settlement. But it was enough for us to stroll around Chew Jetty.

We then walked further to the famous Armenia Street. The mood was very festive. A lot of food stalls were lining along the street and so many tourists where there too!

Armenian Street, Penang, Malaysia.

The most famous street mural of Penang. This is the street art found at the ref magnets sold at the souvenir shops. Tourists line up to have a photo of this mural.


Little Children on the Bicycle, Armenian Street, Penang, Malaysia.

We passed by at the famous Chinese Restaurant, Ming Xiang Tai, famous for their Egg Tarts and various Chinese pastries.

 

 

 

We met up with friends for dinner at Teksen. It is a short walk from Armenian Street. It has again a very long queue even at 5:30 in the afternoon.

 

Catching up with my good friend, Cecille and meeting Kate for the first time.

 

A feast for four! Thank you Cecille for this yummy dinner treat.

After the sumptuous dinner, we walked to Armenian Street to check out the street at night and we head to Khoo Kongsi which is a clan association of the Leong San Tong (Dragon Mountain Hall) clan. It is the grandest clan temple in the country. We were very fortunate to witness a show, Evening Of Lights @ Khoo Kongsi. It is one of the main events organized by PGT for the public where Khoo Kongsi turns on all its lights at its courtyard to accommodate interesting Chinese arts and cultural performances. Come witness and take photos of Khoo Kongsi’s spectacular display of lights under the sparkling twilight! Admission is free.

A wonderful night to spend with a good friend who traveled from Kuala Lumpur to have a quick catch up in Penang before her holiday in Langkawi.

Khoo Kongsi marks the presence of the Chinese in the country. It has an elaborate and colorful ornamented architecture.

We head back to our hotel and ended our full packed day with a smile.

DAY 3

We started our Day 3 with a brunch at Moh Teng Pheow. It is the place to go for very well-made Nyonya “kuehs”, that colourful selection of traditional steamed and baked Straits-Chinese desserts, with Portuguese, Thai, Chinese and Indonesian origins. It is quite difficult to locate the restaurant as it is located in a quite hidden place. Make sure to spot the this signage or ask the people around.

 

 

Wide array of Kuih’s to choose from.

Since we came here for brunch, we ordered Nasi Lemak, it is Malay’s national dish and is very famous even to it’s neighboring countries Singapore,Brunei and Southern Thailand. It is considered to be a famous dish for Malay-style breakfast.

 

Nasi Lemak.


Ketupat and Malay Vegetable Roll.


Kueh, Nasi Lemak and Laksa at Moh Teng Peow.

We then had a DIY walking tour around the famous spots of Penang:

LITTLE INDIA:

 

 

Kuan Yin Teng (literally, Pavilion of the Goddess of Mercy, but more commonly known as Temple of the Goddess of Mercy, is one of the most important temples in Penang.

 

 

 

PENANG STREET MURAL:

Famous Boy On A Bike mural at Penang.

The famous Jimmy Choo is from Penang and this is where he started his apprenticeship.

There are over 50 steel rod sculptures all over Georgetown and many street art murals found everywhere.

We cooled off at the famous China House Cafe. It is a traditional compound of 3 heritage buildings linked by an open air courtyard and converted into 14 spaces of shops, cafes, restaurant, galleries, live music and bakery. It is considered to be the longest cafe in Penang.

 

China House Cafe where you can draw or color the table top. They provide crayons at each table and the table is covered with white drawing pad. Explore the artist in you while you enjoy your coffee and pastries.


So difficult to choose what cake to order with this kind of cake spread.


Our Muslim brothers and sisters celebrated the Festival of Eid when we went there.

 

Open air courtyard that links the heritage houses. You can also dine here as there are tables available for dining customers.

Opposite side of the wall, isn’t it lovely?


The stairs that lead you to the gallery at the second floor.

After spending more than two hours at the cafe, we went back to our hotel to check out as we are going to another country on that day. We returned the sim card that the owner lent us and left our things at the front desk to have a final meal at Penang at Hon Kei Food Corner which is just across our guest house.

They are famous for noodles and porridge with pork, chicken and various of meats to choose from including “spare parts” or intestines and liver.

Always pairing our meal with Teh Tarik.

Pork Porridge and Pork Noodle Soup.

We took Uber going to the airport. It was one crazy food trip and art exploration that i will never forget. All our food trip costs only around Php 2,500.00 per person! The only expensive meal we had was our coffee date at China House Cafe but it was worth it.

This is one of the best countries that i ever visited!  I really enjoy immersing into different cultures and i find joy in trying out local cuisines. I also fancy and appreciate art so much and George Town mesmerized me with what this city can offer.

Truly, Penang has brought us so much delight in our tummies and delight in our eyes with their creative art work.

Lastly, Thank you for the way beyond our expectation service from the owners of Weluv Travel Guest House. It was indeed more memorable because of your impeccable service.

 

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