A Weekend Getaway to Penang

I trust that most of you had a great long weekend. For us, we made a short getaway to Penang to chill and EAT (duh!). Penang was such a distant memory to me because I was 9/10 years old the last time I travelled there. Suffice to say the food was pretty awesome, and unexpectedly I did experience feelings of nostalgia and was pretty charmed by George Town especially, dilapidated buildings and all.

I’ll be publishing a more detailed guide about the destinations we touched on during our short stay, but for now I hope you’ll enjoy some of these photos I randomly took during the trip. These photos look great in color but I thought the old world charm that I experienced is best encapsulated in sepia/black and white.

My camera wasn’t doing a good job that night- or so I thought. The blurry old-school polaroid effect wasn’t a result of photoshop, it just… turned out like that. This is a scene from Batu Ferringhi Beach at night which you’ll be able to see and be right next to if you dine in Golden Thai, a seafood restaurant. However I strongly advise you against picking seats right next to beach because the horses don’t smell very good 😉

At dusk these little small make-shift stalls, an equivalent of our pasar malam, spring to life. The flurry of activity goes on till the store owners feel that there isn’t any more business to be done.

George Town is worthy of its title as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. At first sight, all I could see was buildings falling apart. But curiously the more photos I took the more I appreciated the dirt on the buildings and disorganized nature of the whole place. At the end I was particularly drawn to a row of dilapidated shophouses which we had parked in front of. Most were boarded up and some had huge warning signs like “AWAS” (actually on hindsight that’s a pretty common sight in Penang).

This is the only photo I’m including in this post that has not been given the sepia/ black and white treatment. On our last night, we drove round George Town once more in our little rented car and boy the place felt so different! Street lamps illuminated this entire row of shophouses, giving a yellow glow that sent the entire place back to the seventies.

While I must say I don’t really understand the fuss over the food at Gurney Drive, we did enjoy our short time there just soaking up the atmosphere. Plus, the hawkers were not camera-shy at all. They didn’t even give me a second glance. Such a joy to photograph!

Near to my old home was a minimart that looked exactly like this one. Remember those rows lined with daily necessities that you have to squeeze through? I remember my first cornetto, first lollipop ring, first stash of pokemon stickers and the list goes on.

The one that I grew up with has shut down 😦 But there are still many of such minimarts present on our little island, and in Batu Ferringhi there’s one every few metres!

Chinese confectionary is a dying trade in most places but in Penang, it’s still going strong. I was most impressed by this Double-baked Tau Sar Pia- crispy crispy layers. see how defined they are? More about those we tried, and shared (yes good snacks are always best shared with others over a good pot of chinese tea and a thought-provoking conversation on politics) in another post.

There is a first-time for everything. Well this is my first time gulping down a dessert standing, along a narrow lane with so many other people, breathing in the dust and melting under that blistering heat- all at the same time. More about this once-and-that’s-enough experience later.

Most of you would be familiar with torch ginger, and its beautiful pink petals that garnish laksa. I got to know the real plant, and many other spices in Penang’s Tropical Spice Garden. If you are a foodie, you have to come here to get  a low-down of all the spices that go into our food.

There’s so much more I want to post on (the food!) but we’ll leave that for another time 😉

Happy holidays everyone!