While waiting for dinner to be cooked by my partner, I will quickly share this post on my recent trip to Penang.
It took me a couple of days resting at home in Penang, before fully recharged and ready for my food trail in Penang. I read about this new place in the old part of George Town, and that there is a traditional style Nyonya restaurant. I went looking for it in Stewart Lane, tucked behind the historical Kuan Yin Temple. It is a row of terraces wonderfully restored and reopened as a boutique hotel with a Nyonya restaurant. The place – Seven Terraces – is a beautifully restored heritage Straits Chinese style double storey terraces. It was newly opened when we were there. Unfortunately, the restaurant was shut between lunch and dinner time. I should make it a point to visit this place again in my next trip, and to try the nyonya food at the restaurant. There are not that many authentic nyonya style restaurants left in Penang. The last place I have tried was the “Nyonya Breeze” at Straits Quay, which I have written a post.
My partner and I were in Penang for Christmas. We were invited to join our friends, who are our Penang neighbours as well, for a Christmas buffet lunch at the Penaga Hotel’s restaurant. Penaga Hotel is another fine boutique hotel in the heart of George Town city. The buffet lunch was really cheap at Malaysian Ringgit $35 pp ++ or less than AUD$15. It was ridiculous and competitive with all the restaurants competing for the ringgit during the festive season. The food at Penaga was average and nothing to rave about. But, the place was friendly and intimate with a nice view of the hotel courtyard. The next day after Christmas I met up with my mum and sister for a dinner at a “kopitiam” near their place. There are a number of “kopitiam” (coffee shop) in Penang that in the evening there is an open kitchen making fresh dishes to order. Between 3 of us, mum ordered “tau mew with kiam hu”, “pai kut with koh kuah” and “kari hu tau”. A simple, cheerful and cheap meal. Penang without a doubt is a great place for tourists to experience the culture and heritage and trailing all the wonderful street arts, which are becoming the “in-thing” to do in Penang. Penang is also about its tradition, custom and religion. I was home at the right time to pay respect to my deceased father who passed away 6 years ago on Christmas day. He was cremated and his ashes were shrined in a jar at the Khoo Kongsi Crematorium. For the first time, I have learnt how to place each of the food, tea and coffee in little saucers with candles and joss sticks on the mobile altar table. Mum always do all the arrangements. But, someone will need to carry on the tradition into the future. Religion coexists in Penang in harmony among the multicultural society. One can find a Muslim Mosques, Chinese Temples and Hindu Temples within hundred of metres from each other. There are beautiful prayers halls and buildings with architecture and heritage significance.
Penang is full of little treasure find…wander the streets and you will be amazed by the colourful sights. It is not particular pedestrian friendly with the not so friendly motorists who do not give way to pedestrian, uneven footpath and potholes, one needs to practice lots of patience and occasional time off at the local kopitiam or the more trendy arty cafe to cool down from the heat to enjoy and experience the beauty of the place.