Thursday, July 31, 2008

Makan Trip to Penang (Part 1 of 3)

PenangVisited Penang over the weekend for a short break. The last time I remember visiting Penang was before my schooling age. That was ages ago! Anyway, had been hearing from people that Penang is a food paradise, so I made this trip a makan trip – simply eat and eat and eat! Yippie!!

Before going to the airport on Saturday’s morning, I took a bowl of prawn mee and a glass of iced white coffee as my breakfast. That was around 8:30 AM. Then before departing from the airport, I was hungry again and went to McDonald’s for a Sausage McMuffin with Egg set meal. That was around 10 AM. Reached Penang at around 12 noon, and I was hungry again! There wasn’t much to eat at the airport, as I saw only Kenny Rogers. Thinking of savouring for Penang foods rather than fast food, I just held my hunger back.

A friend came to pick us up later, and we went directly to the hotel to check in first before going to makan. The traffic in Penang was HORRIBLE! From the Penang airport to our hotel, Holiday Inn Resort, in Batu Ferringhi, it took us nearly two hours! I nearly fainted inside the car as I was so hungry. My blood sugar must have reached its record-low ever for years. As we needed to check in before 3 PM, we couldn’t stop for food but to continue driving. Saw a KFC inside a “castle” along the way, and I was so tempted to ask the Penang friend to pull over for me to get a bite, gee gee gee!

After checking in, we drove right away to Georgetown for foods! Went to somewhere called the 7th Street, and the place was full of foods! Hooray! The Penang friend introduced us to the foods, but I asked him just to buy anything that is edible. After a few minutes, we had got duck koay teow soup, pasembor, fried don’t-know-what-what, deep fried peanut wrapped with skin made from glutinous rice flour, Nyonya kueh, and many other foods on the table. The duck koay teow soup was good, something that I don’t see in KL. The pasembor (see picture below) was tasty too, although I didn’t know what I was eating actually. It looked like rojak with different ingredients and sauce. The fried don’t-know-what-what (see picture below) was made from some kind of flour. It was semi-transparent and soft. Quite nice and special. The deep fried peanut wrapped with skin made from glutinous rice flour, or I call it as deep fried “Loh Mai Chi,” was good too as I don’t see it in KL. In KL, we can only find the non-deep fried version. This one was unique. The best was the Nyonya kueh, especially the glutinous rice kueh with kaya. Simply mouthwatering and irresistible! I even bought some for supper for the night. Maybe I was too hungry, overall, I found the foods great!


Fried Don't-Know-What-WhatFried Don't-Know-What-What

Deep Fried Loh Mai Chi
Deep Fried "Loh Mai Chi"

The next trip was to look for cendol. My Penang friend wasn’t sure which stall to bring us to. Then I remember reading about Penang cendol at Alvin Looi’s blog, so I gave him a call and he guided us to Penang Road for the very famous cendol. There were two stalls there, situated directly opposite of each other. We went to the one located next to the Chinese coffee shop, as we saw more people patronized it. As there were no tables and chairs provided, we stood by the road side for the cendol. Honestly speaking, I didn’t find the cendol any special. It was just, well, normal. In fact, I found that some cendol sold by Mamak in KL taste much better, especially when they put in more gula Melaka. We finished this dessert in less than 10 minutes. During the stay, I saw no one patronized the opposite stall. So pitiful!

It was already late afternoon when we went back to the hotel. There was a daily night market at Batu Ferringhi, and it is just within the doorstep of the hotel. Walked around and found that they sell mainly imitated goods like bags, clothes, accessories, perfumes, and so on. It reminded me of Patpong in Bangkok, but only on a smaller scale. The most popular stalls are those that sell DVD. People had to queue up in order to pick the titles that they wanted. At only RM5 per DVD, and buy-10-free-1 offer, you will understand why tourists are crazy about it.

There were Eden Seafood Restaurant and The Ship nearby Holiday Inn, but we went to the food court within the night bazaar for our dinner. Ordered char koay teow, prawn mee and deep fried Hainamese spring roll. The char koay teow looked very good and promising when it arrived (see the picture below and you’ll know why). But once ate it, it tasted so plain. The prawn mee looked nothing special when it arrived (Oh, no picture!), but it did taste very prawn-ly, ha ha!! The deep fried Hainamese spring roll was a big let down. I saw many people ordering it when I passed through the stall, so I ordered one too (luckily I ordered only one piece). At RM3 per roll, I was expecting something great. But it turned out that it was, well, just a spring roll. A very expensive spring roll indeed. Just your normal spring roll but in deep fried version. At RM3, I felt being conned!

Char Koay Teow (Batu Ferringhi)Char koay teow

Deep fried Hainamese Spring RollDeep fried Hainamese spring roll

Continue to Part 2...

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