I was very excited for this trip to Penang for many reasons and this was also one of the rare chances that I would finally get to meet a blog-reader-turned-friend of over 4 years.
P and I had gotten to know each other through our blogs and we were so comfortable with each other that J, my travel companion, was surprised that it was our first time meeting each other. (I am surprised myself, actually.) This blog has given me more than I could have ever imagined and I am really thankful for readers who make the effort to write to me for various reasons. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have enjoyed Penang as much as I did, if it were not for P, who made time to meet up and introduce Penang to me.
The Hunt for Street Art
Georgetown in Penang is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and it was easy to see why it is one. In essence, Georgetown is a little like the south of Singapore, where you have Little India, Chinatown and Victoria Street, except it exudes a sense that time has stood still since decades ago. The highlight of Georgetown is definitely its street art, with 52 commissioned wire art and countless murals all around Georgetown. I am not a fan of museums and history (I failed history, haha), but the wire art was like an outdoor museum presenting the history of Georgetown in the more interesting form of caricatures that I could easily relate to. With a map in hand, J and I went treasure hunting around Georgetown to photograph every single wire art and at the same time, learn more about Georgetown.
The Hunt for Peranakan Tiles
Adding on to the #chingandshoes series with some exquisite Peranakan tiles that signifies affluence because only the wealthy could afford them.
The Hunt for Good Food
It will not make sense to talk about Penang, without mentioning the local food scene, but hunting for good food was much more challenging, without a map that states clearly what is good and where we could find them. In recent years, good local food are hard to come by as cafes are taking over the scene with western food and pastries. Thankfully, P let me in on where to find the authentic stuff along Lebuh Kimberley.
What I found most interesting was how a dish with the same name can turn out to be something different in another country, i.e. Hokkien Mee in Penang is a closer cousin to Prawn Mee in Singapore, while Hokkien Char in Penang is a closer cousin to Hokkien Mee in Singapore.
Not all Char Koey Teow (with duck egg) are made equal and this was exceptionally good with wok hei. Wok hei, literally wok’s breath, is important in stir fried Chinese dishes as it is what makes the dishes aromatic. The art of wok hei eludes me, but one thing that I am certain about is that it can only be achieved by stir frying the ingredients over extremely high heat and this chef at Lebuh Kimberley definitely nailed it.
Just beside the kopitiam (or traditional coffee shop) where we had the best char koey teow we had on this trip is an old shop that sells traditional pastries. According to P, this shop has been around for a long time and the old lady took over when her husband passed away. The mini egg tarts are best had when fresh from the oven, and they are so popular that they get sold out before noon. J also liked the turnip cake here.
Sweet potato wedges and cakes from China House, and watermelon and lychee smoothie from Black Kettle Cafe.
Dimsum for breakfast.
Hawker centre at Gurney Drive.
The Hunt for Bikers
I think it is safe now to conclude that I have an obsession with photographing bikers. There is something about the sound of motorcycles on the road that suggests freedom and that makes my heart flutter just a little.
Extra Finds While Treasure Hunting
Discovering interesting sights while walking around Georgetown and searching for the wall arts.