We finally got around to taking a short trip out of town and our chosen destination was Georgetown, Penang. As it was partly a work trip, we tried our best to cramp as many food tasting sessions as we could within the 2 days we had.
We left KL at 8 am and reached Penang at 1.30 pm. It took a little longer than anticipated due to several roadworks along the way that saw a three lane road being narrowed down to one. Besides traffic jam, the weather was also pretty bad. Heavy downpour. No matter though as we reached Penang in one piece, safe and sound.
Once in Penang, we headed straight to our hotel – Jen Penang by Shangri-La. Located right next to Komtar, it was strategically located to pretty much many touristy and foodie spots…. Burma Road, Macalister Road, Chulia Street and etc.
Hameediyah Restaurant – a MUST TRY for Nasi Kandar lovers
This mamak restaurant is pretty much the longest serving Nasi Kandar shop in Penang, perhaps even the most famous? Having been around for 114 years, they sure know what they are doing as daily long waiting line are a norm here. During my visit, the waiting line at the entrance extended 2 shoplots down and it took us 45 minutes to get in. While there, there was also a film crew in the midst of filming Hameediyah. So, trust me when I say that this restaurant is famous and uber popular. Family, large group of people, especially those with kids are given priority seating. For instance, if there is a group of 5 people, 4 of them can head up to sit while one waits in line downstairs. Food ordering happens downstairs while upstairs is for seating and eating.
Once we got our dishes, we headed on upstairs…
Food was good. The rice was briyani rice which by itself was flavorful. Add on a piece of large piece of curry chicken thigh that tasted awesome. The meat was tender and juicy. The Ayam Madu was my favorite. I’ve always been a sucker for this particular type of chicken as I love the thick, sweet gravy. It certainly compliments the chicken meat. Overall, the plate of Nasi Kandar was yummy. The Murtabak Ayam was da’ bomb. It was tasty enough to be eaten on its own. There was an equal amount roti to filling ratio, which I loved. Burp!
Address: 164, Lebuh Campbell, George Town, Penang.
Opening hours: Everyday. Mon – Thurs, Sat & Sun, 10 am – 10 pm. Fri, 10 am – 12.30 pm, 3 pm – 10 pm.
Once we’ve stuffed all our stomachs full, we headed off to Air Hitam. The plan was to head to the famous Kek Lok Si Temple first, then visit The Habitat at Penang Hill. Our last stop would be Kopi Hutan. Sipping on a good cup of coffee in the middle of the forest… wouldn’t that be something?
Kek Lok Si Temple ( biggest Buddist temple in Malaysia)
It took us about 20-25 minutes to get to this temple, from Hameediyah.
Heading to this temple now, was perfect. Usually, the temple would be filled with tourist … lively and somewhat noisy. Now however, the temple was mostly vacant. It was quiet and serene. Peaceful and perfect for those intending to pray and meditate. Entrance fee was RM 2 and parking was RM 3.
So, we prayed and did our thing, meditated for a bit too …
Then, made some wishes ..
We also enjoyed the panoramic view of Penang from the temple hilltop…
** Just FYI – a part of the temple is closed for renovation. In case you guys did not know, there was a fire here last month. To know more – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nst.com.my/amp/news/nation/2021/10/735717/one-temples-kek-lok-si-destroyed-early-morning-blaze
Address: Tingkat Lembah Ria 1, Air Hitam, Penang.
Opening hours: Everyday, 8.30 am – 5.30 pm.
Finally, we said our goodbyes and off we headed to Penang Hill.
Unfortunately, due to the bad weather that followed soon after, we did not make it there 😔😔. Instead, we drove back to the hotel and got some work done.
Luckily by the time it was dinner, the rain stopped. Yay!!!
Tek Sen Restaurant ( really good Chinese food)
Dinner was at this popular, well loved Chinese heritage restaurant. I’ve never eaten here before despite being to Penang numerous times but seeing that it was recommended to me several times over the years, best I drop by to have a taste.
Parking : there is an open carpark few doors down that would cost you RM 3.
The restaurant occupies 2 shop lots. It had a modern kopitam feel to it, atmosphere was lively and boisterous. During our arrival, the restaurant was mostly full. Despite being crowded, we were attended to as soon as we were seated.
Stir Fried Kangkung with Sambal and Prawn, RM 12 + Deep Fried Tofu with Cut Vegetable Topping, RM 12 + Asam Tumis fish, RM 35 + Fried Rice, RM 8 + White rice.
Oooo delicious. Food was really good. I was in love with literally every dish. The Asam Tumis fish was utterly delicious. It came with two options for fish – stingray or black pompret. We opted for the pompret because we were in the mood for something other than the usual stingray. It was sooo yummy, taste as an Asam Fish dish should. Well flavored. In it, you’d get about 4,5 pieces of fish with ladies finger and tomatoes. The kangkung and tofu were awesome too. I like that the green vegetable was soaked in a soggy mess. It was somewhat dry and not too wet, tasted good. The fried rice was cooked in a simple Chinese style. It was a perfect addition to the other dishes. Rather than white tice, for some reason I preferred this option. Overall, a very satisfying dinner. Yum!
As the restaurant is located just 5 minutes away from Chulia Street, we decided to walk over to check out the scene. Chulia is known for its nightlife – for its bars, pubs and European themed restaurants. Not nearly as lively as pre-Covid days, the area was still bustling with people and activities nevertheless. It was fun, brought me back to a time when my friends and I used to ‘lepak’ here till wee hours in the morning.
We decided to call it a night after that as we had an early morning meeting and soon after will be heading back to KL.
Address: 18, Lebuh Carnarvon, George Town, Penang.
Opening hours: Mon, Wed – Sun, 12pn – 3 pm, 6 pm – 8 pm.
Once our meeting concluded, we took a walk around town. As mentioned earlier, our hotel was conveniently located within walking distance to several tourist attraction and food spots. It took us 10 minutes walk to reach Macalister road and another 10 to arrive at Burma Road. Along the way, we dropped by the popular cendol stall – Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul and got ourselves a bowl each of this local dessert. The bummer is that at this point in time – the pulut option is not available. So, it was just the usual cendol for us and we enjoyed it lots.
After we were done with that, we headed back to our hotel, checked out and headed to the ever popular fried koay teow restaurant – Siam Road Charcoal Char Koay Teow. This would be my 3rd attempt.
Siam Road Charcoal Char Koay Teow (rated to be one of the best fried koay teow in town), RM 7
As mentioned earlier, this would be my third attempt here. In my previous attempts, while I successfully reached the restaurant, parking was a pain. As it was located along a rather busy road, it was really difficult to find a parking spot, especially so when all the other customers before you have already all available spots.
Now, as several business in the area has ceased operations, parking was alot easier.
At the time of arrival, there was already a waiting line. Looks like business is still booming post MCO. Not as busy as it waspre Covid but certainly doing a lot better than many other businesses in the area.
Food took a while – 20 minutes but that was understanable given the long line. Worth the wait as food was gooooood 😍
This was one delicious plate of noodles. Perfectly fried with tasty flavors. Do expect a good portion of noodles + egg + taugeh + cockles + Chinese sausage. Certainly worth the 20 minutes wait.
Address: 82, Siam Road, George Town, Penang.
Opening hours: Tue – Sat, 12 pm – 6 pm.
Sun & Mon Closed.
Once we were done with lunch, off we headed back to KL. I did not realize how much I missed Penang until I arrived in George Town. Despite many happy moments here, I was slightly saddened with the fact that many restaurants and businesses ceased operations. Many were out of business. It was obvious that lots of folks went through a difficult time during the past year. It is what it is but sad nonetheless. Besides that, everything else is as it was. It seems like things are going back to normal. Looking forward to heading back to Penang in a few months 😊