Our journey to Penang was a relatively easy one, just 3 hours by ferry. Penang also known as ‘The pearl of the orient’ is famed for it’s delicious and culturally diverse Asian cuisine – a key reason for us choosing to visit. Our 1st stop on the island was the beach side town Batu Ferringhi where we were fortunate to do a home stay a very friendly Malaysia-Indian family at Annie’s Home Stay. As soon as we arrived at Annie’s beautiful house we were made to feel welcome by her, her husband Raj and lovely children. It was a home away from home where we could truly relax and wind down. We only spent two days in this area of Penang but once pointed in the direction of the Long Beach Hawker Food Centre where we were happy enough to spend our time experimenting with the local food…
After two enjoyable days stuffing our faces with asian cuisine we said goodbye to Annie and made our way to George Town a much more happening area of the island. Following a recommendation made by a German couple who had cycled all the way to Malaysia from Germany! We made the decision to stay in the coolest hostel yet ‘Pedal Inn’. This brand new and stylish guesthouse located just a short walk from the main areas of town is mainly aimed at cyclist on tour but even without George’s main love his bike we were made to feel very welcome. The staff here couldn’t do enough for us – they gave George a bike magazine and me a street food guide as well as filling us in on the local street art – we were both in our element. We headed out straight away with the aim to try as many different dishes as possible… We were very adventurous in eating with the locals and often without menus just the word of the cook and not once did we have an off stomach. Below are just some of the many dishes we sampled.
Left to Right: Cendol, Chilli Prawns, Nasi Kandar, Porridge, Golden Dumpling, Koey Teow, Ice Kacang, Chilli Crab, Whan Than Mee.
Food We Sampled & Descriptions
Chilli crab, Chilli prawn, Laksa (noodles in fish broth), Chicken jalfrezi, Bendi masala (a green vegetable also known as ladyfingers in masala sauce), Spring roll, Red snapper red fish curry, Fried koey teow (flat noodle with egg and prawn), Chicken and beef satay, Cendol (green chewy noodles, palm sugar, syrup, shaved ice, red beans and coconut milk), Golden dumpling (sticky rice, soy sauce and pork steamed in a banana leaf), Wan than Mee (Sui kow) – dumplings noodles gravy, Poh peah (pancakes with veg chilli), Porridge with meat veg salty egg, Roti Canai (buttery, fluffy roti served with lentil curry), Nasi Kandar (Indian Muslim – rice served with a host of curries and various meats/veg), Ice kacang desert (Finely shaved ice topped with sweet red beans, creamed sweet corn, dried nutmeg, jelly’s and ice cream).
The Pedal Inn, George Town (photo of us and owner Steven), Annie’s Homestay Batu Ferringhi (Photo of us and Annie).
Between many meals we also found the time to visit many of the sites in the world heritage centre of George Town. We went up Penang hill 800m on the worlds steepest train, we visited the Kek Lok Si Temple and spent much of our time exploring little India and China Town two very fashionable areas of town consisting of Chinese tea shops, market stalls, food vendors selling Chinese and Indian food, cool shops, a museum, a couple of small art galleries and walls displaying street art by a Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic and Baba Chuah a local Caricature artist. To summarise Penang is a culturally diverse, creative and cosmopolitan city, the people are lovely and the food is the best, we are sad to be leaving but will hopefully be a few pounds lighter for doing so.
Going up Penang Hill (800m) on the train, View from the top of Penang Hill a misty but very hot day, Kek Lok Si Temple, Wish Tags.
Street Art in George Town by Ernest Zacharevic
A very cool artist studio – Junk in George Town
Some random photos of street life in Penang