“Special Post” Penang Part One

Here I am – back in Penang again. Only seven weeks ago I was in Penang with my partner. This trip I am all alone. My significant other half has no annual leave to apply. I arrived in Penang in the early morning hour of 01:30 local time. Went through 4 airports – Hobart, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur and Penang with an early start of 08:00 hour Australia time.

On arrival in Penang after a long enduring twenty hours flight, transit and wait time, I felt so relieved and exhausted at the same time. I guess it must be old age that is catching up with me. I never felt this tired on a long journey. Time is certainly catching up. I was watching the animated cartoon show, “Up” on the MAS inflight demand movie channel. The show reminded me of time catching up with me. There are few things that I really want to do in my life, and I must remind myself not to let time drift by without accomplishing those dreams. I am sure the same goes with most of you.

I am staying at Eastin Penang Hotel, the latest hotel to be opened in Penang on 12 November 2009. Just last weekend the hotel had a one hundred percent occupancy being ideally located for the Penang Bridge International Marathon. I was warmly welcome at the reception in the early hour of this morning. The check in process was friendly and efficient. No hassle at all. Why should be there be one would ask? As I was the only guest arriving at 1:30am local time! I was so tired that I quickly passed out in a king size bed with four large fluffy pillows. Woke up this morning at 05:30am local time, but stayed in bed for a couple of hours to adjust myself from a three hours time difference from Australia time.

I drew the curtain to look at the sunrise, slowing rising from behind Pulau Jerejak (“Jerejak Island”). The view from my room looks toward the largest nearby island of Penang Island and a distant view of the mainland and Penang Bridge. I chat with my partner briefly on google. I try not to rub it in as the weather in Penang is beautiful, warm and clear sky. Hobart is dreadful today and the last few days with windy, rain and cold temperature that hardly reach 14 degrees. And, it is Summer!

The room at MYR$198++ comes with a buffet breakfast – their opening promotional rate. The hotel is located less than five minutes walk from Penang largest shopping mall, The Queensbay Mall.

The buffet breakfast is what I will be eating for the next three morning. The selection ranges from western to local fare, with a good selection of tropical fruits, cereals, juices, cheeses and pastries. This morning I went for the Asian fare, started with a traditional Malaysian “Nasi Lemak”.

“Nasi Lemak” – fragrant coconut rice with side condiments. I plated this together with some deep fried anchovies, red skin peanuts, hard boiled eggs, sliced cucumber, sambal ikan billis (or deep fried anchovies fried in sambal chili pastes) and Ayam Masak Merah (red curry chicken). Every Malaysian loves a “Nasi Lemak”. We have this anytime of the day, mostly as breakfast or as a light afternoon snack. The two curries were very hot, which is how it should be. Not Westernised. The cucumber is to cool down the fiery palate in my mouth. The dried anchovies and peanuts are nice and crunchy.

Next, I had chicken congee to “calm” my stomach from the spicy dishes. The congee is tangy with fresh julienne ginger, salty with black bean sauce and dressed with a bit of light soy sauce, fried garlic oil and sesame oil.

Next, my third course for breakfast is a fried bun and prawn and chicken minced steamed dumplings. The fried bun is meant to have either kaya (pandan coconut spread), black bean paste, or lotus seeds paste, which was labeled on the food. But it turned out to be plain with no fillings. That was quite a disappointment. I informed one of the kitchen staff, who immediately removed the label. Kind of confusing for the guests. The dumpling should have been kept steamed in a bamboo steamer. The skin was hard and dried. But it looks beautiful plated.

Next, the fourth and last course, I swear I am almost full by then. But I got to have some tropical fruits and my all time favourite is Malaysian Papaya. It has a sweet lovely scent and flavour, unlike Paw Paw which is much stronger in flavour. I had a mixed of papaya, watermelon and honey dew.

Tomorrow, I am going to have some Western breakfast of eggs, sausages, potatoes, tomatoes. The eggs are made to order.

After such big breakfast, I had to check out the fitness facility and the sparkling brand new swimming pool and roof garden.

My first day of experience at this beautiful mid-range hotel is promising – staff warm and friendly, service with a smile. Certainly my observation of their F&B staff this morning is very good.

14 responses to ““Special Post” Penang Part One

  1. Penang looks like such a paradise! I’ve never been to Penang, or even close to it, but the cuisine is quite familiar and in fact is making me terribly homesick. I hope you have a great vacation!

    • Thanks, Christine. It is a beautiful place. There are quite a number of foreigners that have make Penang their home. Even more so, now that part of Georgetown (the capital) in Penang has been gazetted as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1223
      Btw, were you born in Malaysia?

  2. Is this another holiday Victor, or are you there doing business? Looks fabulous, and the food sounds gorgeous.

    • Tee Hee, I am on sort of holiday visiting mum for 2 weeks. Trip was planned 3 months ago when MAS had a promotion at AUD$660 return from Melbourne. I could not resist a good special.

  3. Victor
    Someday I will make a trip Malay and see Penang…
    I’m glad you get to go home and spend some quality time with your family as we did here on Thanksgiving. I hope you get to sample some local cusine local vendors, mom and pop joins like Anthony Boulden put it” It cheaps it delicious and it fast” what could go wrong. Enjoy your trip and have a safe trip back to Auziiii.
    Looking forward to read all about it:)

  4. Hi Victor, thanks for your wonderful review, I enjoyed reading it. We’re glad that you enjoyed your stay with us at Eastin Hotel, Penang.

    Ya, Penang is definitely a food paradise & a small island for relaxation. Do come visit us again when you happen to drop by Penang. Would like to meet you up in person on your next visit.

    Do keep in touch & stay tune to Eastin Hotel Penang in Facebook!

    Thanks & take care!
    Julie

  5. Hi Victor – I wish I could travel to exotic place all the time like you but at the same I do not like the waiting game at the airport either. I was working for a telecom company about 10 years ago and I was traveling every 2 weeks. It was so exhausting after 1 year I switched to a desk job.
    The congee reminded me of the breakfast at Lao Orchid Hotel. It was so good I ate it every morning.

  6. Salalao – thanks. I do like coming home to Penang. This year, this trip is my third! On average, I made one trip min to see mum.

    Dallas – hey, I had the same congee at Lao Orchid for breakfast too. The only difference is the condiments. Technique and taste of congee which originates from China are all the same. Some thicker, others more liquid. But I love any rice congee. You can give me a bowl anytime.

  7. Victor – Wow!!! 20 hrs flights? Yet, the time zone is only 3 hrs difference. I didn’t think it would take that many hours. That’s how I feel each trip back to visit Laos, it takes forever to get there. Have fun spending time with your family and looking forward to read your next post.

    • Thanks, Seeharhed. A lot of time is waiting time at transit airport, like Melb (5hrs wait time) and Kuala Lumpur (3hrs wait time). So read books, browsing duty free shops.

  8. I think I need to make a trip down to London’s Chinatown after looking at your food pics haha…
    No wonder, when we were in Penang in October, couldn’t stay at Eastin because it wasn’t opened yet, the website wasn’t even set up properly yet! Went to Trader’s instead. I notice the buffet spread at Eastin’s isn’t any different from most 5* hotels in Msia ie fantastic and varied choices, unfortunately only one small tum! 🙂

    • LOL! Emily – you cannot tahan lah, have to rush to Chinatown. 😉
      I don’t believe their website on Penang is well updated to give the property full potential and credit. But, the hotel is actually doing very well for less than a month old. They manage to snatch some of the business travelers working at FTZ from other hotels, like G-Hotel and Vistana.

  9. Look at that Nasi Lemak!!

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