A Day In Penang (By Foot)
Welcome back to another one of our blog posts! For global readers, we will be going on a trip to Penang today whereas for local readers, let’s all pretend to be tourists!
Hold up! Disclaimer: Please bring an umbrella with you and apply sunscreen first or you might be fifty shades darker at the end of the day.
9:00am – Ahhh, it’s a beautiful day! You wake up from our superbly comfortable beds and after a nice hot shower, you’re ready to start your adventure. From M Summit 191 Executive Hotel Suites, walk through the Komtar underpass and you will see a lovely mural on your right. This spectacular mural is about 3 storeys high and features a trishaw rider drawn on shipping containers. Proceed to cross the traffic light and turn into Lebuh Carnavon.
On your right is Ping Hooi Coffee Shop which sells the famous Tiger Char Kuey Teow for only RM8! In this picture, you can see that we are actually waiting patiently for the photo to be taken before we can start our feast. We ordered O’ peng kao, which means iced black cold brew. A more concentrated version of your average coffee. Top left is our trusty favourite, the Char Kuey Teow. If you are bold enough and willing to pay a bit more, order this dish with scallops! Next to it is Loh Mee, which is actually egg noodles with vermicelli, served with a thick gravy made of spices and garlic. I personally don’t like this dish because of the soup-like gravy, but you have to try it! At least once in your life! Lastly, we ordered this because we simply couldn’t resist the aroma coming from the stall – Loh Bak. If you were celebrating the Super Bowl victory at home, or hosting a party, this dish would be your go-to! It’s easy to make and yet a sure-win. It consists of fried tofu, spiced and marinated pork rolls deep fried and prawn fritters. Although delish, not the dish you would exactly go for if you have a sore throat. Did I also mention that this dish comes with 2 dipping sauces? One is the same thick gravy from Loh Mee and the other is a sour spicy chilli sauce.
*168, Noordin Street, open from 8am to 6pm daily but closed on Thursdays.
9:30am – We officially begin our journey. Walk by foot to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and indulge in street murals and art. Be sure to look out for hidden alleys and discover new murals even locals have never explored yet! These murals are drawn by the artistic community of Penang. One of the famous murals is the one with the two children on the bicycle. This famous mural is drawn by Ernest Zacharevic. Some people say that he is the Malaysian Banksy. This mural is situated at Lebuh Armenian. This mural was first painted in the year 2012 in conjunction with the George Town Festival. A must see for art lovers!
10:30am – We now proceed to Chew Jetty via Gat Lebuh Armenian. By now the weather should be scorching hot, so that umbrella would come in handy right now! Over here, you can see houses built on stilts on the sea! There are still people who stay in these houses which are over a century old. You might notice that each section of the whole stretch have different names; Chew Jetty, Lim Jetty, Tan Jetty and Yeoh Jetty. These are actually surnames of the clans which stayed here. As you pace on the delicate wooden planks, look down into the water. When it is low tide season, you will be able to small pebbles in the water. I hate to break it to you but those aren’t pebbles! Look closely and you’ll see them moving. These are actually mud creepers, or more commonly known as Balitong. Not many people know how to enjoy this shellfish, which is normally served in a spicy and fragrant sauce. This is mostly due to it’s appearance, both externally and internally, and also, eating it is really difficult. The shell is spiral and conical, and the inside is a rather nasty shade of green. Not trying to discourage you here but, this dish is not for the weak! Also, there is a trick to acquire the goodness inside the shell. Firstly, remove the covering from the shell’s hole. Next, suck the shell from the conical tip which dislodges the tender meat from within. Lastly, suck the meat from the bottom wide hole. My advice, don’t look at the meat, just eat it! You might find it a tad repulsive, but hey, no one’s complaining about escargots!
11:30pm – Walk along Pengkalan Weld and you will reach the landmark – Lebuh Pantai’s roundabout. You’ll see the Jubilee Clock Tower which was built in 1897 together with the iconic Pinang fruit water fountain. I know some of you may think that that’s no Pinang fruit, it’s obviously an egg! That’s what I first thought too when I saw it. But it’s actually designed to symbolise the betel-nut fruit which is where Pulau Pinang got its name from. Let’s talk about that magnificent structure behind the fountain. The clock tower is 60 feet tall, representing the reign of Queen Victoria for a period of 60 years – Diamond Jubilee. If you visit the clock tower in person, you will notice that it’s slightly tilted, as a result of bombing during the Second World War. What do you know! We have our own version of The Leaning Tower of Pisa!
12:00pm – Next up, along our journey to Love Lane, you’ll see St. George’s Church and Church of The Assumption which bears a strange resemblance to the Notre Dame in Paris. Pardon us as this photo was taken when it was cloudy. You can never estimate the weather here, it’s sunny a moment and the next, it’s raining cats and dogs. Lucky for us, it was only drizzling. Fun fact: This church is the third oldest Catholic church in Malaysia. It was built by Captain Francis Light and his friends when they first set foot on Penang Island, otherwise known as the Prince of Wales Island.
12:30pm – In one of the off lanes of Love Lane, we have Lebuh Klang which is home to mural of the old man on a boat. This mural was drawn by Julia Volchkova, a russian artist which is quite famous in Penang as well. She also drew another enormous mural in Balik Pulau of an old fisherman mending his fishing net. We doubt it’s the same guy as this one though! If you walk along Stewart Lane, this mural is hard to miss.
1:00pm – We now go to the Goddess of Mercy Temple at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling. This place is usually packed with tourists and locals offering their prayers to the Goddess of Mercy. Along this road, you’ll notice that there are 4 places of worship, namely Goddess of Mercy Temple, Sri Mahamariamman Temple, St. George’s Anglican Church and the Kapitan Keling Mosque. Not something you see every day! By the way, here’s a really interesting story for all of you. Remember the Jubilee Clock Tower we visited before? It is actually related to this temple. The Feng Shui of the temple is optimum such that it watches over us right across the sea up to the hills of Seberang Perai. All Chinese merchants and traders who came to Penang will visit this temple to pray for good fortune and wealth. Francis Light then built the Jubilee Clock Tower to hinder the view of the temple and disrupt the flow of Yin and Yang.
1:30pm – I know we are all super hungry, so turn into Chulia Street and let’s have some lunch. Yeap Noodles is super famous for their handmade noodles! Everything is made from scratch here. We personally love their Mala minced pork rice with a side of fried Wontons. However, this bowl of goodness is not for people with a low tolerance of spice. Yeap Noodles is a family business making different flavoured noodles to suit their soup. The flavours include chilli, original, turmeric, peppermint, bamboo, carrot and spinach.
2:30pm – I know we are all exhausted and sticky by now, so we walk straight through the underpass and you’ll reach M Summit 191 Executive Hotel Suites. Now, you can go back and chill in the room, take a cool shower and play some board games with our D’ Place To Chill Package! Our favourite is rulers of Catan and Taboo. In my opinion, Catan is a game to backstab your friends, oops, don’t tell them I said that! Taboo on the other hand will give you a chance to show off your mind-reading powers. We also have a few of our all-time favourites, UNO, Monopoly, What do you meme and Twister. For more info, click here.
5:30pm – Ready for one last hurrah? Take a walk to the urban archaeological park for the beautiful night scenery. This park is exceptionally breath-taking at night with the koi pond and night lights. The pond is actually a canal which used to be very unsanitary, but now it is part of the picturesque park. We recommend to take your OOTD here!
6:30pm – Dinner’s ready! Walk to Kimberley Street for the best street food ever. Our favourites are Char Kuey Teow, Koay Chiap and braised chicken feet! I know the sound of chicken feet can be rather alarming, but it’s worth a shot. I’m pretty sure when Malaysians were young, your grandma would tell you at some point that eating chicken feet would make you run faster. I can’t prove that, but she wasn’t wrong when she said it was yum-yum. I swear you won’t regret it! The taste is exceptional!
We are officially ending our day. How did you feel? I felt hot and sweaty, but contented and happy. The best part was, walking through Penang, playing tourist and getting to know my hometown again. As my grandpa would say, the magic is there if you know how to find it.