Sunday, 22 July 2012

Penang: Malaysia's Food Paradise

You won’t go to this island for its beaches (unless you want to see monkeys), but you’ll stay for its colonial charm and tasty dishes: char kway teow, popiah and yong tau foo, to name a few.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

Chinese businessman Cheong Fatt Tze was known as "the Rockefeller" of his day. His mansion is known for its indigo-blue color (made from a dye imported form India) and its feng shui, both popular during the 1880s when it was built.

Snake Temple

Aptly named, this temple is filled with pit vipers. Locals believe the vipers have been rendered harmless by the sacred smoke that fills the temple. However, the snakes have also been de-venomized -- just in case.

Padang Brown Food Court

There are bigger hawker centers in Penang, but many foodies believe this food court to be the best. Among the many stalls, make sure to try popiah (spring rolls) and yong tau foo (a consommé).

Kek Lok Si Temple

The "Temple of Supreme Bliss" is the largest Buddhist temple complex in Southeast Asia. The small fees are worth it to climb the 7-story "Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas" and see the statue of Kuan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy.

Penang Museum and Art Gallery

If you don't come to the Penang Museum for a glimpse into the port's history or to see the upstairs art gallery, you may come for the air-conditioning. It's a welcome break while sightseeing in the Malaysian heat

Red Garden

A "Food Paradise and Night Market" in Penang, the neon-lit food court sits in the middle of Leith Street. You'll find all of Penang's famous fare as well as a shopping arcade, karaoke singers and more.

Monkey Beach

Teluk Duyung is an uninhabited island, except for long-tailed macaques for which it is nicknamed "Monkey Beach." A short boat ride from Penang, it is a popular swimming, fishing and BBQ spot. Word to the wise: The monkeys are not shy and may make away with any food or valuables left unattended.

Penang Botanic Gardens

Established by the British in 1884, Penang Botanic Gardens offer 70 acres of landscaped tropical gardens with shady walks and a playground for local monkeys. The public park is also known as the "Waterfall Gardens" thanks to a cascading waterfall nearby.

George Town

George Town or Georgetown is the capital city and food capital of Penang. Take a walking tour to see some of the preserved colonial shophouses, 19th-century churches and temples that make Georgetown a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow, which literally means "stir-fried ricecake strips," is one of the more popular noodle dishes served at hawker stalls.

Bukit Bendera

Locals and tourists alike escape to Bukit Bendera or Penang Hill for cool, fresh air and a panoramic view of George Town.


Close-up of fish head curry from Red Garden.


Tau Eu Bak (soya pork) made with pork belly, black peppercorns, dark, and light soya sauce and garlic. 

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