As I write this, I’m lying in the sofa, pants half open, thinking maybe I’ve overdone it. I’m on Pulau Penang, a small island off the coast of Malaysia, connected to the mainland by a 13.7km bridge. Charming! Chinese influence meets western colonial style. And of course there is the lush greenery around every corner, breath taking sunsets and knowing that there is a large body of water not too far away, is always a win, if you ask me.
So why am I slouched in the couch feeling like I’m carrying the love child of grease and sugar.
Well, the other thing Penang is famous for is its food. It is said to be one of the top places to experience ‘Pernakan cuisine’.
As a matter of fact, as I was doing my research on what to do in Penang, most suggestions I got involved food in one way or another.
So, what else could I do but to go on a street food frenzy?!
The hawker culture is such a big part of the local way of life. The food is cheap, tasty and the portions are just right. So off I went…
10 AM: BREAKFAST- DIM SUM
This place was not on the plan, but the place where I was supposed to have breakfast was quite far away and I needed food FAST! Good dim sum, although I now realise I’m simply not a big ‘dumpling fan’.
11 AM: POST BREAKFAST SNACK- FRIED OYSTERS
Deliciously crunchy. I experienced an entirely new texture and flavour. I must admit, I normally don’t like oysters at all- shame on me- but this dish has no connection to the oyster flavour I am accustomed to.
12.15 PM: LUNCH- EEL FISH BALL KOAY TEOW SOUP
What you get is handmade eel fish balls, handmade pork filet and rice noodles swimming in a light and tasty broth garnished with lettuce and fried garlic. I was reluctant to try this one because I’m not too fond of fishballs (they are more or less in the dim sum family). Once again, I was pleasantly surprised by a new set of flavours.Pitt Street Homemade Fish Ball Koay Teow Th’ng 183, Carnarvon Street 9am – 4.30pm. Closed on Sun & Mon
1.30 PM: DESERT/REFRESHMENT- AIS TINKAP
At this point of the day, temperatures arose and I needed a serious cooldown. That is exactly what this drink did. It’s a concoction of shaved ice, coconut water, Indian herbs and rose essence. Texture is added with basil seeds and coconut flesh. I enjoyed this sweet Penang classic.Tamil Street, Penang 12pm to 8pm (Closed on Sundays)
2.30 PM: AFTERNOON SNACK- TROPICAL FRUIT EXTRAVAGANZA
I had planned to go for curry around this time, but the heat was too intense to be eating hot and spicy sauces. I decided to go healthy instead and try some of that alluring exotic fruit that’s omnipresent in the street scene.
I went for the classics: mango, watermelon and pineapple. But I also tried the less familiar ones: starfruit, dragon fruit, guava, water apple and mangosteen.
4.00 PM: EARLY DINNER-CHAR KOAY TEOW
An incredibly rich blend of noodles, fresh veggies, sweet lard, egg, tiny clams and shrimp fried on a strong charcoal flame. As you empty your plate all the flavours really come together, making this dish taste like a greasy touch of heaven. I just HAD TO order seconds!Located at the end of Siam Road 3pm to 11pm (Closed on Mondays)
The stall is insanely popular, the cook get dozens of orders every hour, yet he prepares every order separately so the dish wouldn’t loose its personal touch. Wonderful! This also means I had to wait 30 minutes (twice) to get my food. Absolutely worth it!
I left the hawker stall at 6.00 PM wondering if I was going to keep eating…
6.30 PM: “CAN’T EAT ANYMORE BUT MUST TRY SOMETHING NEW-BREAK”- NUTMEG JUICE
Now that is something new! The sign said it was refreshing and rejuvenating, just what I was looking for. It looks a bit strange and that’s also how it tasted. I’m not sure whether I liked this fresh tangy juice or not. It has such a unique and peculiar taste, it’s just something you must try to understand.
Shall I keep eating?
8 PM: DINNER- FAST SUSHI
I was tired and in need of some hardcore aircon, so I cave and exchanged one street food meal for a less greasy dinner. I thought I was going for something more familiar, but as it turns out, this sushi was unique in it’s own way. It had a cheese topping. Cheese. Is this normal??
The sushi wasn’t that great, I quickly regretted not having stuck to the street food plan!Sushi King 1st Avenue Mall (LG-71, Underground)
I was meant to go for a “post dinner” meal, but I was DONE. No more. I turned around and left the food scene. What a fantastic day!