With the rain still coming down, we headed off towards Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. This iconic bluish building was built in the 1890s, but was fully restored only in the late 90s before earning an UNESCO award in 2000. If you want to have an insight into how the rich used to live back in those days, this is the place to visit. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed and there are only tours at certain hours. The other alternative, is to stay a night in one of the rooms.
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.
This is kind of like me when I’m on holidays and hitting all the museums, art galleries, historical sites, must-see places, to-do lists, you know the rest. A salute to Alex Gorosh and his wacky idea of watching every piece of art in London. In 1 day.
John Atkinson has a really humourous way of making sure you don’t have to waste your time poring through the classics. He gives you the ‘abridged’ version of them. Enjoy.
Located further down the road is the St George’s Church. Unfortunately for us, it was raining at that time and we could only take photos of it from the outside.
The church was built way back in 1816 and is the oldest Anglican church in South East Asia.
We headed to Fort Cornwallis which is now a paid museum, but since the weather was acting up, we decided not to pay a visit, however, we did drop by the War Memorial located next to the park, at the edge of the river.
The plaque commemorates the dead veterans of World War I and II, the Siam-Burmese Railway, the Malayan Emergency and the Re-Insurgency.
Since I have a week of free time on my hands, we decided to bring the boys to Penang to enjoy the street art and to eat some good food. As you all know, Georgetown Penang was awarded UNESCO Heritage status almost 7-8 years ago but we as locals, haven’t actually made a visit there yet but have been to a few UNESCO Heritage worldwide. Shame.
Georgetown Penang is a UNESCO Heritage Site
It took us 6 hours of driving to reach Penang and when we were crossing the Penang Bridge, it started to rain. Rain is the enemy of all travels. Luckily, the gods answered our prayers and by the time we pulled up at our first stop, the sun was shining.
Cafe Heng Huat (Lorong Selamat CKT)
If you have done your research prior to your visit here in Penang, you would have read about this famous Char Koay Teow stall with the Santa Claus Hat auntie and her fiery temper. Although many would swear that it is a tourist trap nowadays, but it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.
The thing about Penang food is that there will be lovers and there will be haters. For every stall/food that you suggest, there will be people with other opinions about it, but since this was one of my old haunts when I used to travel to Penang during my University days, it was a visit that I had to make again. Just for old times’ sakes.
A word of warning, if you don’t intend to order drinks, don’t be surprised that there will be a surcharge per head. Applicable to almost all restaurants in Penang. Sad.
When I last had the same dish about 5 years ago, it was RM7.50 per plate. Now, it is RM10 per plate. For that price, this is what you will get:
It doesn’t seem like much and definitely not a stomach filler but you do get 3 very huge prawns, comparatively to the other CKT stalls dotted around this little island. It appears oily but not sticky and it still retain the charcoal smell in which the auntie uses to fry her Char Koay Teow.
I would not put it as a must try because of the price, but if ever you are in the vicinity of this shop then by all means, do give it a try. Char Koay Teow stalls are a dime a dozen in Penang, and you could say that once you have tasted one or two, you have tasted all. But hey, for authenticity sake, try it at least once at whichever stall that you prefer. Even the least famous ones.
Clear your schedules, bring out the nicest headphones/speaker/stereo system that you have. Someone just found Jamie XX’s Spotify playlist. 15 hours long. Beware! You have been warned.