Penang Island has a very nostalgic, vintage feeling to it. Ignore the traffic congestion and you could probably time-travel back to the 1930s. That is where its beauty lies – even though it has embraced the new, it clings on to the old with a passion not seen much else in Malaysia.
Because it’s George Town World Heritage Day, we decided to dedicate the post to our very own Mutiara Timur. Here are 8 things you should see, do or eat when you are in the island state:
1. Explore the heritage streets of George Town
Of course this would be no.1 on our list! George Town boasts some of the best heritage buildings, which are an eclectic mix of Nyonya delicateness and colonial bravado. You could even book a private walking tour, or travel through the streets with a rickshaw!
2. Seek penance on the Street of Harmony
Street of Harmony is where all the different religious worship places can be found on one road, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling. Here, Masjid Kapitan Keling, Kuan Yin Temple, St. George’s Church, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Cathedral of Assumption and Khoo Kongsi are a stone’s throw away from each other.
3. Visit the Weld Quay Clan Jetties
The jetties are a quaint reminder of George Town’s golden era – a time where every voyager or trader yearned to step foot on the island. It houses 5 of the main Chinese clans, and if you go there you can still see the old folks enjoying their days in the sun. The architecture has not been changed much, so be careful where you step!
4. Line up for that Line Clear magic!
How could you go to Penang without tasting its authentic and world-renowned Nasi Kandar? Cooked by Penang Indian-Muslims, the taste of rice with a mix of curries and spicy dishes and vegetables is something to savour in the island state. Brave the line, and you’ll eventually get your fix!
5. Step into the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion on Lebuh Leith
More popularly known as the Blue Mansion, the huge home was built by Chinese master craftsmen for Cheong Fatt Tze, who was a Nanyang industrialist and trader. Built between 1896 and 1904, the Chinese-architecture based mansion is one of only three left outside mainland China.
6. Savour Char Kuey Teow of the heavens
There is no limit to the number of hawker stalls there are in Penang, but only the locals know where to get the best char kuey teow, or fried rice noodles. The noodles are stir-fried with bean sprouts, egg, chili paste, soy sauce, seafood and a lot of love! Ask around when you’re there and you’ll be pointed in the right direction.
7. Tour the Pinang Peranakan Museum on Church Street
The Peranakans, also known as Straits-born Chinese, are native to Penang and Malacca, hence they have given the state a treasure trove of influence and customs. The museum is the former home of Kapitan Chung Keng Kwee, and has been converted into a showcase of the lifestyle of the Peranakans and their traditions, displaying over a thousand antiques and collectibles of this community.
8. Enjoy a bowl of Penang’s trademark Asam Laksa
The fish-based broth and noodles dish is highly addictive, so be warned! Asam Laksa is Penang’s quintessential dish and there are a couple of stalls which are well-known for their wonderfully authentic asam laksa recipe. One bowl is definitely not enough!
If she’s not busy writing, Yogeetha is usually researching fan theories about Game of Thrones characters or having a cup of coffee in solitude. Also, she loves doughnuts as much as she loves puppies!