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Penang is a state in northwest Malaysia comprising mainland Seberang Perai and Penang Island. On the island, the state capital of George Town is home to landmarks such as colonial Fort Cornwallis, the ornate Chinese clan house Khoo Kongsi and the Kapitan Keling Mosque, all testaments to centuries of foreign influence. To the west, a funicular ascends Penang Hill, with its trails, flower gardens and panoramic views.
Char Koay Teow is one of the most iconic street food dishes in Penang and you will find it everywhere you go. The name means “stir fried rice cake strips” and is quite similar to ‘Char Koay Kak’ (our number 10), however, they are rice noodles rather than cubes.
This marvellous noodle concoction is made by frying the noodles in pork fat with a light and dark soy sauce, prawns, briny cockles, chewy Chinese sausage, crispy sprouts, fluffy egg (chicken or duck) and a hint of chilli, often served on a banana leaf. Some places include ‘pig blood cockles’ so if you prefer it without that, just ask.
The oyster omelette, also known as “Oh Chien” is a culinary delight amongst the list of street foods in Penang and surprisingly Jacob enjoyed this A LOT. Although he enjoys salty raw oysters, this dish is vastly different and a totally different experience. The oysters are fried in an egg & rice flour batter (to make it crispy), with chives and then accompanied with a spicy chilli or garlic sauce. The metallic taste is non-existent so you end up with a fluffy omelette with little bursts of flavour. Really tasty!
Curry Me was one of our favourite dishes in Penang, similar to a traditional coconut laksa found in other parts of Asia. The Curry Mee dish is a soup formed with a combination of curry and coconut milk, typically involving yellow noodles and rice vermicelli, fried bean curd, cockles, prawns, cuttlefish, cubes of pig’s blood and bean sprouts. We weren’t too keen on the pig’s blood but without it, it was still delish!
Visit Orangutan Island, a world-renowned centre dedicated to the rehabilitation and conservation of Malaysia’s orangutans near Bukit Merah. After a scenic drive from Penang across Southeast Asia’s longest bridge, enjoy time getting to know the intelligent animals and their behaviours.
Penang Hill was the first colonial hill station developed in Peninsular Malaysia. Comprising Western Hill, Bukit Laksamana, Tiger Hill, Flagstaff Hill and Government Hill, it is located six km away from Georgetown. The hilly and forested area is the state’s primary hill resort. Set 821m above Penang’s capital, islanders call it Bukit Bendera and it is generally about five degrees cooler than Georgetown. It is the last patch of tropical rainforest in Penang so the flora and fauna here have been protected since 1960. It does not have the same prominence as Genting Highlands, Fraser’s Hill or Cameron Highlands but it is one of Penang’s best-known tourist attractions due to its fresher climate.
Komtar Penang is a 65-storey high rise tower in central Georgetown that is one of the most prominent landmarks in Penang. Its lower floors are retail spaces occupied by local boutiques and lots of stalls specialising in cell phone, camera and laptop repairs, while upstairs are office lots. Penang’s tallest structure is cylindrical in shape and the sixth-tallest building in Malaysia. It is home to the state govenrment’s office and can be found at the confluence of the Jalan Penang and Jalan Magazine. An indispensable part of Penang’s tourism scene, a great reason to visit is for its 58th floor viewing deck which offers views of the island and across the straits to Penang’s mainland.