Saturday, May 2, 2015

Eddie's Penang Food Circuit

A friend has asked me to write up a brief list of 'makan' places when in Penang, an island located on the northern tip of the Malaysian Peninsular. Slightly larger than Singapore, it has an urbanized northern and eastern portion, with the southern and hilly western part relatively less developed and hectic. It is to most Malaysians, a food paradise and at every turn and corner you can find some delicious hawker food some way or another. :)
We're heading to Food Heaven! :D
So to start off, with only 2 days and 1 night (that means a weekend) to spend where would *I* go for my dosage of Penang food? Well, I'd start of with my afternoon arrival on the island after an almost 4 hour drive from my hometown in Klang to the capital of Penang state, Georgetown.

My favorite place to live remains the Sunway Hotel, located on New Lane off Macalister Road.
Home away from home... hmmm, that's a big advertisment of Hotlink. No commission from them huh...
Why Sunway Hotel? Well, because right under its shadow and just under 5 minutes walk is the famous New Lane Hawker Center, which in my opinion gives you almost all the choices of Penang food you can find! Of course, coming at this time of the day, the Hawker Center is still not yet in it's full swing, but nevertheless, the hawker stalls outside the Sin Yin Nam Cafe is still worth checking out. In particular, I would try the Chee Cheong Fun there.
Chee Cheong Fun at Sin Yin Nam Cafe, first taste of Penang! :)
I don't think there is a particular fancy name to identify the stall, only that it is run by a very nice aunty, who always seem to detect that my efforts to adopt a Penang accent to my Hokkien isn't really working, responding in to my conversation with Cantonese and Mandarin. :p If you find the Chee Cheong Fun to your liking, you can of course 'tapao' and bring it back home. I usually do that just before heading home back to Klang Valley but for now it's just time to savor the delicious chee cheong fun topped with Penang's unique prawn paste (hair koh). :) For those who like pork trotters and other 'spare parts', you are invited to try the Chee Cheong Chok, literally translated as Pork Intestine Porridge.
A cornucopia of Penang Food in one place. :) 
The stall is also located right outside the Sin Yin Nam cafe and nowadays appear to open much earlier than before a few years back in the evenings. The Char Kueh Teow stall in the shop is also worth checking out.

After a refreshing lunch, why not cool down with some coconuts? Drop by Anba's Coconut at Lorong Abu Siti for another round of refreshments. It's not really that far from Sin Yin Nam cafe (well, everything is really not that far from anywhere in Penang really). :) Fresh coconuts are opened in front of your eyes and you can ask them to open them up even more to access the soft coconut 'flesh' inside.
Minuman penuh refreshing! Fresh Coconuts at Anba's Coconut, Abu Siti Lane. :) 
If Coconuts is not your style then why not try some ice cream on jelly? This you will find at Kek Seng Kopitiam on Penang Road. Judging by the newspaper cuttings on the wall, it has been around for ages. They serve Penang's signature loh bak there to complement your serving of ice cream jelly. You may also want to check out their Ice Cream Soda drink. ;)
Kek Seng's signature ice cream with jelly, dinikmati sejak turun temurun. :) 
So, you finished your jalan-jalan around Lebuh Chulia and Armenian, took many selfies and posed with 3D arts, now you feel kinda hungry. Well, alot of people may head towards Batu Ferringhi for dinner and the pasar malam, but how about trying something different?

Check out Leisure Park Restaurant on Bukit Genting, Balik Pulau. Do go before sunset because that's really the main reason you are going there after all, to watch the sun set over the Andaman Sea, absolutely beautiful! After snapping photos and all that, you can sit and chow down on the Thai Cuisine offered at the Restaurant. A note of warning, park your car AT the restaurant and not outside along the way. Many an innocent foodie has been berated by a certain owner of a nearby house, who apparently WATCHES and MONITORS the open space in front of his property.
The Setting Sun over the Andaman Sea from Leisure Park Restaurant. Bukit Genting, Balik Pulau.
Your bellies filled with Thai food, I guess you can take the coastal road back up to Batu Ferringhi, visit the nice markets and maybe get a good foot massage. :) You may also drop by the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel for a taste of live band music.

Alright. that pretty much covers one whole day of makan-makan. Where next to go in the morning? Well, make sure you get up early because there are alot of options! :)

First off, try heading to Sin Seow Fong Lye Koitiam at Macalister Lane. There you'll find arguably the best chee cheong fun (imho) in the whole of Georgetown! :D For me, tasting it once is not enough, this stall requires repeated visits! :)
Mouth Watering Chee Cheong Fun at Sin Seow Fong Lye on Macalister Lane. It's so good, I have to do this publicity stunt for them. :) 
This Kopitiam, I have been here for ages. Aside from their most mouth watering chee cheong fun, try the Fried Carrot Cake (char kueh kak) from the stall nearby as well. Guarantee up to your satisfaction. Yums...
Char Kueh Kak (Fried Carrot Cake) at Sin Seow Fong Lye. Mmmm... lazat! :D
The kopitiam also serves some western breakfast as well. You may call for it if you feel these two signatures are not enough. But hold on a second, don't burst your belly here... because there is another place you should go for er... 'mid-morning breakfast'? :)

Hop in your car and drive down Gurney drive because you have to check out the Bangkok Lane Mamak Mee Goreng! It's located in another Chinese kopitiam on Bangkok Lane. Try the famous mee goreng. I am told that the stall selling Kueh Teow Soup in the same kopitiam is also good but I was too full to stuff in anything more.
Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng, yummy! :D
And here is the Mee Goreng itself! 
But wait, don't go driving off into the sunrise yet. Not known to many people, there is another lesser known pearl located in Bangkok Lane as well. It comes in the form of a bicycle propelled Chinese Satay Stall. 
An inconspicuous looking stall that offered superbly done 'pork' satay. Hehehe, sorry tidak ditanggung halal. :p
The crowds were the giveaway and on that time when we went over to check the stall out, there was an old Chinese uncle ordering 100 sticks of pork satay in one go! Well, that made my friends and I even more intrigued and we chose to wait for our turn. Boy, did we not regret it. The satay was really very good! :)
Fancy some pork satay anyone? :) 
Too bad we were pretty stuffed by our visit to Sin Seow Fong Lye and the Bangkok Lane Mamak Stall, otherwise we'd eat MORE! Rawr!

Ok, by now it's another round of spending out that store of food you've just eaten. Go ahead and visit the Burmese and Siamese temples nearby, or take a stroll around Gurney Drive, maybe head back to Georgetown for look-see at the Chowrasta market. Once you're ready, you can go to the next stop. Beef Ball Soup on the junction between Lebuh Chulia and Lebuh Pantai opposite the Fire Station. The shop really doesn't have any name, just simply Beef Soup Koay Teow, but its reputation has spread far and wide.
Lebuh Pantai Fire Station Beef Ball Soup... slurps
Alright, it's approaching mid-day and you gotta check out from the hotel to head back for a Monday of work work work. :p Before you leave Penang, why not choose to use the ferry for a 'romantic cruise' across the North Channel and give yourself one final excuse to drop by for this last food stop. The famous Goreng Pisang (and other goreng goreng stuff) at Tan Jetty.
Goreng Pisang in the hot afternoon sun... but hey, it tastes good and I couldn't help but follow up my friend's recommendation. :) 
Most people tapao and head on their way but if your group is large enough and you order sufficiently enough, you may access the 'secret cow-level' of getting to sit at the back of the shop (which essentially is the owner's house), with a view of the jetty and channel! Now, no guarantees here, you probably have to ask the stall owner nicely to get access.
The view from behind the goreng pisang shop owner's house. :) 
Sedap and lazat... although do provide yourself with generous amounts of water to quench your thirst from all those fried food...
A 'sufficiently' large group... ;) Or it's just my friend's (the leng lui in black singlet) charm. :) 
Alright, it's time to head home and dream of the next food outing. This blog is dedicated to the two people who asked me recently on my Penang food circuit (but didn't decide to bring the guide along) *wink wink*.

For readers, these places are merely suggestions on the OTHER places to eat in Penang based on my experience. I have chosen to omit out the outright famous places like the Laksa at Kek Lok Si (still the best I guess) and the Penang Teochew Chendol on Penang Road (over-rated, I think) from this blog post as you'd probably be thinking of going there already. You may not complete everything on this list in a 2 day weekend for which I encourage you to stay another day longer on this beautiful island. Now, time to head off to the gym. LOL!
Cat-Shock at Lebuh Armenian... ;) See you next time! :D

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