We arrived in Penang Saturday afternoon, after a mere 2.5 hours flight from Jakarta. Upon arrival, we took Uber straight to George Town, where our hotel – Ren i Tang is located (I will review the hotel in a separate post!). George Town is one of UNESCO world heritage sites and a popular tourist spot. Since it was our first time in Penang and we only had 2 nights.. staying in George Town was perfect.
I don’t mean to disappoint, but our first destination that night was actually.. a mall. Hahaha. Yep, we went to Gurney Plaza because we, well excuse me, I need to restock my Benefit powder and the shade that I’m using was out of stock in Jakarta. So we went. It took us 20 mins to get there, again using Uber. While on the way, our Uber driver told us that there’s a hawker food center just next to the mall – Gurney Drive. I quickly made settled my cosmetics situation and we walked to Gurney Drive for dinner.
We realized two things when we got there. First, a lot of stalls were closed. Second, there are two food sections. I don’t think the sections are official, but if you entered from Gurney Plaza’s side, you’ll find a section full of stalls selling Char Kwe Tiau, Seafood, Wonton noodles, and the likes. Keep walking further into the area, and you’ll find another section full of Halal food stalls, like satay, nasi goreng, and martabak.
The place was quite full when we got there so we quickly settled in to the first empty table that we found. We then took turns, at least one of us stayed in the table while the others can buy their meal. We ended up with Char Kwe Tiau, two kinds of seafood, and oyster omelette on our table. Yummm!
But as we were busy enjoying our meal, we were approached by an angry looking uncle from a dessert stall in front of us. He was talking very fast in Bahasa Melayu/English that we did not really understand, but we surely know that he was pissed. After a while we realized that he was asking us to buy from his stall because we were sitting in front of it! His Ice Chendol looked really good, actually. But I was saving it up for dessert. But because he approached us, I ended up buying anyway. Then another uncle came and delivered my Ice Chendol. He too did not look happy. Again he was talking fast and from his mixed language we understand that it’s somehow forbidden to sit in a table and not buying from a stall close by.. because then he’d have to clean up the table without getting any benefit from the purchase. Well.. well.. okay then, we’ll note that for next time!
After eating we went back to George Town area for sightseeing, again with Uber. We wanted to go to Khoo Kongsi because we read on the internet that there would be Chinese New Year lights decorating the whole area. But when we got there, it was closed! At first we thought that it was only because we arrived too late, but when came back the next day, it was still closed for the Chinese New Year period. Bummer 😦
So after the failed Khoo Kongsi visit that night, we spent some time walking around Armenian Street – again very popular as it’s the place where this mural is located:
Yep yep, you might be aware that this particular bike mural is widely associated with Penang, just like Dita said :). Of course I took a picture of myself there but decided not to post it here hahaha :p
Our next destination was China House – a heritage building with bar, café, art gallery, and bistro inside. We sat in the café and watched a very nice jazz performance from a local band while having finger food. I was really enjoying the atmosphere but as it was getting late, we decided to head back to our hotel.
As we were walking, we found an Indian/Malay food restaurant by the name of Kassim Mustafa. We read that it’s really famous for the Nasi Kandar and it opens 24 hours… so we decided to give it a try. Nasi Kandar is basically rice, veggies, eggs and chicken eaten together.. very similar to Nasi Padang/Nasi Campur in Indonesia. It was sooo good, very rich in flavor, typical Indian/Malay style. I also ordered Cheese Naan, although not that special (of course the one I had in India was better), but successfully cure my cravings for Indian food!
So that’s how our first night in Penang went. Will write more stories on my day two and three, soon! 🙂