Two phone calls, couple of SMS-es and a few more head-nods and off we were towards the Island known as the Pearl of the Orient. Mystical and exotic this place might not be, but it was great to see it through the curious eyes of my traveling companions, who has not been to Penang in the last 15 years or so.
This roadtrip was somewhat a double celebration, a birthday and a surprise impending wedding (congrats me Lomls!) and of cause we took advantage of this trip and turned it into a food exploration thanks to our food-guide-in-chief, Ken!
What trip to Penang would be without tasting its ‘exotic’ hawker fair right? So, first on our checklist was the famous Char Koay Teow (Fried Flat Rice Noodle; RM3) and we headed downtown to Lebuh Keng Kwee for some as Ken wanted to try the famous Teochew Cendul (a local sherbet dessert; RM2). Both were pretty good considering we were really starving!
We also did managed to grab some Crispy Apam (pancakes; RM2 for 5pieces) which was to our surprised was still crunchy and crispy after buying it almost an hour ago!
Dinner came and we decided for more hawker food and headed down to the most touristy stretch on the Island, Gurney Drive. This must have been the equivalent to Jalan Alor back home in K.L. Crowded as always, we found a spot and let Ken go crazy with the orders. More Char Koay Teows; Lobaks (Pork Spring Rolls); Rojak (Fruit salad); Claypot Chicken Rice and some Chee Cheong Fun (rice rolls) quickly filled up our small table and our tummies too. I must say, even with those filling our appetites, we went in for more and they turned out to be my favourite:
The Oh Chein (Oysters Omelette; RM12 for a large portion) must be the most popular stall of all, with queues going as long as a 10-meters long, they do have some high expectations to meet. More of a starchy pancake then an omelette, this dish is best eaten with the accompanied chili sauce.
Banana Apom (Sweet Coconut-based pancake; RM2 for 5-pieces) is one of my childhood favourites. This steaming hot and sweet tasting pancake has a great coconut and pandan fragrant to it and is complimented by the sweet ripened banana. Yummmm!
And no matter how stuffed I am, whenever I’m up in Penang, the Ma-Zhi (Glutinous dough rolled-in crushed peanuts and sugar; RM 2 for a small portion) here in Gurney Drive is a must on my eat-list. Voted as one of the best food heritage of Penang, this uncle has been doing this since I was a kid and he’s still doing it today. For anyone who’s been to Penang and has not tried this, u better get your ass up here and do so!