Penang is just a one hour flight from Singapore and located on the North West coast of Malaysia. We are here for a brief taste of Malaysian cuisine before continuing on to Phueket, Thailand. Penang Island is known as the food paradise of Malaysia with cheap and delicious eats. After hosting a guest post “Penang Street Food” on my website I felt compelled to travel here myself for a first hand foodie experience. Truly
We landed at Penang International airport and caught a cab to Georgetown, as usual we arrived starving!
I had booked accommodation at Deluxious, Hotel, Spa and Restaurant. It appealed to me because the hotel was a bed and breakfast style property, which is housed in a restored Colonial English Mansion.
So with fingers crossed we gave the taxi driver the address, and hoped the property was as gorgeous as it was described. Driving through the streets of Butterworth and then Georgetown I had moments of wondering what I had brought the family into, these towns didn’t have anything that said “holiday destination” to me.
We arrived at Deluxicious and it was just as beautiful as described. I felt this was a minor miracle, given its location not fifty metres from derelict shells of buildings, open drains and other disrepair. I was astounded that Georgetown itself is a UNESCO World Heritage City. I opened the door to the hotel and breathed a sigh of relief; we were transported from mayhem and searing, oppressive heat into cool, calm beauty.
I later learned the Deluxious building itself was also World heritage listed by UNESCO in 2011.
Again I had booked two rooms for the family, a “Family Room” for hubby, myself and Anais, whilst the boys had the “Superior Queen” room next door. Both rooms were beautiful, spacious and air-conditioned. Free internet was provided and a welcoming drink at the bar.
Once we were settled I asked reception were we should eat. She suggested a street with local food stalls and restaurants. We set off on foot to brave the heat and traffic in search of food. It wasn’t long before the little ones were complaining about both. Anais in particular felt that things were more “stinky” for her because she was closer to the ground.
We noticed some food stalls but I wasn’t sure I could get the kids to eat “beef stomach curry” and the hygiene didn’t look at all suitable for children. Whilst I am happy to risk food poisoning myself I wouldn’t risk it for the kids.
I did spot some shops with cute teapots, bowls and plates. It would be great if I could collect some of these for photo styling, but carting purchases in a backpack around Asia for two weeks makes each item look so much less appealing.
With the heat getting the better of everyone we purchased some “random” drinks. I say random because they were canned drinks with no English at all. I let the children choose their own in case I chose something they didn’t like. Brett was the only one who chose badly. His tasted like a gritty grass pulped into a weak, still watery chocolate. The worst part was the coating it left on my mouth. BLAH!
The children managed to choose sweet, sugary carbonated drinks. I swear they have an ability to seek out junk!
Around the colonial area of Georgetown the building become a little more restored and there is the resemblance of footpaths. Food places become more established looking and there are hotels “of sorts” advertising cold beer. There is food from every nation advertised and the prices are very similar to Australia. This is not what we are looking for so we return to the backstreets.
Eventually we found an Indian restaurant is filled with locals. Once again the food on display is without heating or refrigeration but I suspect the turnover is good so we take a seat.
Brett instructed me to choose some food from the display so I took the teenager with me. There were no prices or names for the dishes so we just pointed at each of the dishes until we had filled two plates.
The waiter came to the table so I also ordered 3 garlic naan breads, a Potato Masala Poori and an Ayam Masala Poori. I figured that at least the children would have rice and bread for lunch.
When the Poori arrived I knew immediately I had chosen a winner. The potato masala was like a lightly spiced mashed potato with additional vegetables.
Poori is a deep fried bread so the children devoured these in no time.
The children enjoyed the rice and tried the tandoori chicken only to find the spices much hotter than at home. I had expected them to eat the chicken without a problem.
They were still hungry and eating all the garlic nanns so I ordered another serving of the Potato Marsala Poori.
Whilst I was looking after the little ones, the big boys had made short work of the plated food. I did manage to scrape up a mouthful or two of the lamb korma which was delicious, a little rice and a bite of the tandoori chicken, which was indeed very hot!! Sorry kids 😉
What I kept to myself was the best dish of all! The Chicken Masala Poori, I will crave this dish when I go home, it was so good. The chicken masala was spicy and hot and wrapped in the deep friend poori it was heavenly. I felt a little guilty keeping this from the hungry boys so I ordered another serve for them. They all agreed I had hit the jackpot. Our meal came to RM $52 which is equivalent to $20 and the Potato Masala Poori was only 80c per plate!
Our next stop was the Eastern & Orient hotel, the first of the Sarkie brother’s legacy properties to the East, and sister property to Raffles Hotel in Singapore.
The hotel was built in 1885 by the four American Sarkie brothers and has always enjoyed being the Premier Hotel in the region. I find it amazing that this grand beauty has seen two world wars, British rule and the birth of Malaysia. In 2008 it was World Heritage listed by UNESCO and it’s easily the most beautiful aspect of Georgetown.
My plan had been to enjoy a high tea with Anais at the Eastern & Orient, but after our very late and large lunch we didn’t have room for another bite. This didn’t stop us wandering around the elegant hotel and admiring the beautiful example of British elegance.
The hotel is located on the bay, with the rear of the property opening out onto water. There are cannons to be found in the gardens facing the mainland. These are leftover from the hotels colourful history of days gone by.
The restaurant and bar make use of the sea views with an alfresco area for guest to enjoy a meal or quiet drink. Throughout the building there are more reminders of the history of the building and the famous people who have visited.
Back at our hotel we took a seat at the lounge in the bar area and enjoyed our welcome fruit punch with the children.
The heat outside had been exhausting and we all enjoyed the cool air-conditioned bar area. Mr GG and I decided to have another beverage and although it is still quite early, the day was finished for me. I made myself comfortable on the lounge and snuggled in for a wine or two.
Afterall, it had been a very busy day of sightseeing and eating 😉 Tell me readers,, when you arrive at your destination do you head straight out to sight see, or do you relax and unwind first.