We woke up to a gloomy and cloudy weather. A slight drizzle greeted us, but we shrugged it off, this was Malaysia after all. Nothing would deter us since we were doing mostly indoor stuffs today. First up, breakfast.
Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng
When planning an itinerary, I would plot out the places that I would like to visit and then try to find good food around the area. Lucky for me, Georgetown Penang was an easy place to plan it to perfection. To start it off, we had Mee Goreng at Bangkok Lane. Parking might not be easy around here, but be patient and get yourself the parking permits. You don’t want to get a summons for illegal parking or for not paying the parking fees.
Tip: Get the parking permits early, if you plan on driving and parking around Georgetown.
Most Penangites would swear by this particular stall that sells mee goreng. Think of it as a fried version with thick ramen and covered with a special seafood (squid) sauce and you will not go wrong.
I visited this stall when I came here for holidays back in 2002 and it’s still the same owner till today. He’s an Indian but as with all Penangites, they do speak Hokkien (local Chinese dialect) perfectly. Heck, even better than I do.
You can have the spicy version if you want, but we were traveling with kids, so with had to do with the non-spicy type. The noodle is cooked perfectly, leaving it marinated with the sauce and to top it off with potatoes and fried tou-fu. A plate might not be enough but don’t worry, there’s another stall around here that will cover that up.
Fatty Wanton Mee
Just around the corner about 100 metres away from the Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng stall is 77 Food Yard. You won’t miss it as it’s a corner shop. Don’t worry if you don’t like wanton mee or that you prefer some other dishes, they have plenty of stalls to choose from and most of them have good reviews.
But, we aren’t normal travellers and we ain’t here to try other things, we have one aim only and that is to try the wanton mee. After a pretty dry mee goreng, we went for the soup version of the wanton mee. They have a dark sauce type but anyhow, it’s the same dish just in two different style.
The noodles is very springy which is a must for the wanton mee and the other things to look out for is the char-siew or roasted pork slices and the wanton (pork dumplings). Is the shop owner stingy as in giving you more flour rather than pork? Are the slices of char-siew so thin that you could see through them? These are the makings of a good dish of wanton mee.
Well, after two dishes for breakfast, we were ready for a walkabout. The place that I wanted to visit was the Reclining Buddha at Wat Chaiyamangalaram on Burmah Lane (Lorong Burmah). Why Reclining Buddha you might ask. I come from Kelantan where we have probably the biggest Reclining Buddha in South East Asia. But there are a certain few Penangites who believed that theirs is the largest one. Sad to say, they were wrong, ours is an outdoor temple, since the structure is too large to be enclosed, but the Penang version is within an enclosed building.
The Thais do take things in gold seriously. Early mornings will be filled with tourists coming in their tour buses but if you have the time, come during praying hours, although you might need a nose that can withstand the incense burning. A step into the prayer hall with the Reclining Buddha and you can feel a sense of calm wash over you. A really good place for you to meditate.
Dharmikarama Burmese Temple
Just across the street from the Thai Buddhist Temple, is the Burmese version. There is a stark contrast amongst these two temples, despite sharing the same Buddha. The Burmese houses a Standing Buddha and has a bigger place and amenities to cater for a much better rest. They have benches, different prayer halls and I guess due to the Burmese migrants in Malaysia, they have more ‘locals’ as compared to the Thai temple across the street.
Although lacking in ‘gold’ reliefs, they make do with colourful walls depicting stories about Buddha and his disciples. The statue of Buddha is a tall standing one.
(to be continued)