I have always wondered how it would be to drive to Penang, finally, my question all these years was answered. This trip was only planned two weeks ago, as Jo is now on a long holiday so the ladies decided to pay Ms. Oh a visit.
This was not my first time driving to the north but somehow, even though we follow the road sign to Ipoh, end up we were at Jalan Ipoh again, which was one very huge U-Turn. Or else, we could have reach Penang half an hour earlier as the whole journey, including rest time at Tapah only took us 3 1/2 hours, while I thought it could be 5 hours. Finally, I am driving through the Penang bridge for the first time in my life.
Our tummy was crying [ not literally ] when we reached Penang, so the first to-do thing is definitely food hunting. My FW miss the food at Swatow Lane but we only remember it is somewhere near Komtar area and it have been 2 years since we were there. Driving around the town isn’t easy especially with some new developments around like Penang Times Square which was recently built and the last time i was here we were walking around town and taking the bus, the experience between driving and walking was totally different.
What surprised me the most was the new Times Square, i was excited in seeing a new shopping mall in town and wanted to walk around it. But my FW and her friend just wanted to get everything over with by looking for their food shop, and for me that was the driver. I was not even tired, the searing hot sun couldnt stop me from giving up and my willpower to find that food stall kept us all going.
One must be able to converse in Hokkien if you would like to ask for directions. After few round of getting lost, with many local residents giving us directions and even those that told us that the shop only open on weekends. A tactic to let us tourist to try their food stall instead, but finally we found Swatow Lane which is next to New World Park.
I guess not many Penang youngster and tourist will know about this really old eating place. Honestly, it is next to a huge eating area where tourist mostly frequent but old stalls like this is what embody the true meaning of good penang food. Without hesitation, we rushed in and ordered what we want and the shopownder directed us to their newly [ to us ] aircond room, which was probably built for people like us or orang Sakai in iban.
I don’t deny that the food here are really good, which is why my FW insist that we must come here everytime and all the time during her trip to Penang. As all were so hungry, thirsty and tired, so we ordered more than half of the items they have to offer. Needless to explain why, Cendol and ABC are the must have on a hot day.
Penang Char Kway Teow, a must have for those who wants authentic food made by the old uncle’s and aunties in Penang, and for those who never tried it or say that “this place so and so in [ insert town/city here ] is better” must be living under a rock or something. But for foreign tourist, visit Penang and you will know what i mean.
Penang Rojak or so they call it, and in my travels there are SO many rojaks i cant even name them. I didnt get the chance to try this out as there were quite a few dishes on table. A few bite was ok for me, the sauce used give it that nice aromatic taste.
Penang Lobak – I was having my future MIL’s lobak for past few weeks. The size of Penang Lobak is smaller but it is still equally appetising, especially the otak-otak lobak.
My first time trying out, the famous Penang Assam Laksa. I heard a lot of people compare this dish with Sarawak Laksa but it is not nice to compare both famous local delicacies. As a food lover, the assam laksa have a very good taste and aroma to it. Not a dish to be missed, and well worth the visit everytime and there are many such places in penang that sell this and all are famous for their own style.
We were still not so satisfied because the older shop did not serve Fried Oyster and crossed the road to the food court at New World Park for second another round of lunch.
Finally we get to have the beloved O-chien. We always love the one in Penang for its big and fresh oyster, and i mostly avoid the ones here in Kuala Lumpur and the ones sold in Jalan Alor.
Trying out the chee cheong fun which is different from KL version, when i looked at it i didnt know what it was until i asked my friend. Then when she told me i was surprise, the feeling, the texture, dare i say, is good and as nice to the ones found originally from Perak.
After a long food adventure, our tummy is happy now. Time to go for a walk at Gurney Drive and digest the food before heading off to Batu Ferringhi to enjoy the beaches.
To be continued…