“Special Post” Penang Part Four

On our second last day in Penang, my partner and I decided to walk around Penang’s Little India, which is a must for anyone visiting Penang. We like the sight and sound, and smell of Little India filled with aromatic spices and incenses, “Bollywood” music blastering through oversize giant speakers outside the CD/DVD shops and street stalls selling Indian sugary snacks. The streets were very festive when we were there. “Deepavali”, also known as Festival of Lights festival, is celebrated by Hindus. This year, it falls on the 17th October 2009. In Malaysia, it is a public holiday and celebrated by all cultures and races alike. Unfortunately, we are not around to celebrate and enjoy this beautiful and colourful multi-cultural festival of Malaysia. We are leaving for Laos the next day.

The word “Deepavali” derives from the combination of the words ‘Dipa’ and ‘Gavali’, the former meaning ‘light’ and the latter meaning ‘a row’. Thus symbolising the rows of lights that can be seen at the houses of Hindu celebrants. As light dispels darkness, this festival symbolises the victory of good over evil.

At the dawn of Deepavali, Hindus perform the ritual oil bath which signifies a cleansing of the body and soul. Following this symbolic rite in purification which marks a new beginning, devotees visit the temple where shrines of Hindu deities are encircled with flower garlands.

The entrances of Hindu homes are decorated with the ‘kolam’, an intricate floral design on the ground which signifies religious believes. This religious connotation, revolves around the Goddess of Wealth, the deity Lakshimi. Many believe that the Goddess Lakshimi would only enter a home with a ‘kolam’ at the entrance.

DSC01775The colourful flower garlands

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DSC01777The colourful buckets of lentils

DSC01778Fennel, Cumin and Almonds

DSC01782Indian snacks on Deepavali

DSC01783Street vendor selling fresh coconut drink

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While we were in Little India, my partner could not resist himself with an Indian barber haircut. On every visit, he will seek out this barber shop for his haircut, head and shoulder massage, all for MYR$10! Watch the short video below for a great laugh! 🙂

A couple of months before we left Hobart on this trip, our friends in the Huon area told us they will be visiting Penang about the same time. We caught up with them for a dinner before we left Penang. We took them to a seafood place in Gurney Drive, about 10 minutes walking distance from our hotel. The place is called Bali Hai Seafood Market. My partner loves this place because of the fresh seafood. The dishes are cooked towards a Penang-Thai style.

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DSC01817Australian Snow Crabs

DSC01806The Kitchen

Our friends trusted us to order the dishes; my partner recommended the deep fried red snapper cooked in 3 flavours of sour, spicy and sweet (our friends enjoyed this dish so much that we ordered a second fish!), a crispy garlic tiger prawns (about 2 kg), kung pao chicken, deep fried tofu with sweet “heh bee” (small dried shrimps) sauce, silky steamed tofu with crispy ginger, shallots soy sauce, four types mushroom and bok choy garlic stir fry. There were 6 of us. Total cost MYR$249.

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The next day, which was our last day in Penang, we took it easy. Relaxed in the hotel, went for a movie, Surrogate, which cost only MYR$11 for the Premier Class! Dinner we had at my mum’s place before heading to the airport.

The 5 days in Penang were gone so quickly. As usual, we had a great time in Penang. The weather was good, it rained but only for a short 15 minutes, then cleared up with a nice sunny warm day.

“Selamat Tinggal Pulau Pinang” (or, Good bye Penang). See you again next time!

And, “Sabai Dee” (hello) Laos on our next leg of journey.

13 responses to ““Special Post” Penang Part Four

  1. I am so enjoying my virtual holiday. Thank you for taking us with you!

  2. Lol, nice post! BTW, …got myself a haircut in Pulau Tikus on Burmah road for 9RM from an old style Chinese barber shop.
    On our next visit we will try the Bali Hai seafood court. I know about it but always was reluctant to visit as I feared a tourist trap.
    Sorry you only staid for a short while in Penang but looking forward to your reports from Laos.
    JP

    • Thanks, JP.
      Well, Bali Hai is a popular place for business people (especially from the factories in Bayan Lepas) to take their visiting expatriates to eat. I think it is the total experience of a nice outdoor ambiance of crowd, noise, giant fish tanks and the ‘dry ice’ giant cooling fan. The food is more towards Thai style.

  3. That is the craziest head job i have seen. I want one.

    Thats a nice looking bloke there Victor at the barber, where was Reb? hehehe

  4. Thank you Victor, I see you and Reb have been busy. Wow i envy the experiences you have. Those foods look so absolutely inviting(apart from the 4th one down at the bottom, too goowey for me).

    Wow, a lot to take in.

  5. Victor, just a question..what are those white objects which have a resemblance to ummmm??

  6. ps..sorry for being ‘faceless’..I don’t know why my gravatar has disappeared.

  7. Very cool articles, Victor.

    And I just had the guy cutting rebs hair sounding like Miss Piggy – Hiiiii YA!

  8. Nice article Vic, specially those photos…great!

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