It’s pretty much a truce that Penang offers one of the best hawker foods anywhere, you almost plan up a whole weeks’ itinerary filled with different hawker foods and never have to visit the same place twice. The problem is, what if you only have a day?
Well, to make your life simpler, here’s 5 different places you could visit in a single day to sample some of the best from Penang. Food portions on the island is usually not too big, so 5 meals a day is just about right for anyone with a normal appetite. For extra credit, you can always fit in another couple meals in between.
Ah Hai kuih teow soup at Kim Lee kopitiam
Breakfast starts at Kim Lee kopitiam. Ah Hai’s kuih teow soup starts at around 7:30 am and would operate around 3pm. The kuih teow soup here offers bouncy home made fish ball, delicious fish cake, slices of duck meat, and most importantly, coagulated duck blood, as the original recipe calls for.
This place has been in existence for some 60 years, and still offers one of the best kuih teow th’ng there is on the island.
Ah Hai kuih teow soup | Kedai Makanan Kim Lee, Lorong Macalister, Penang | 7:30 am to 3 pm
char kuih teow at Dato’ Keramat – Ah Leng’s
For lunch, we continue keep our focus on kuih teow, but this time the fried version – the all important Penang char kuih teow.
While the two stalls at Lorong Selamat gets all the glitz and glamour, I find Ah Leng char kuih teow at Dato’ Keramat a more than worthy alternative. The fried kuih teow here has the customary huge prawns, lard, chives, duck egg, and for extras – mantis prawns (for RM 11 per plate). Pure ecstasy for those who loves this signature Penang dish.
Ah Leng char kuih teow | Kafe Khoon Hiang, 358 Jalan Dato Keramat, 10150 Penang | 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, closed on Thursdays
famous Balik Pulau laksa near the market
From Dato’ Keramat, drive up to Ayer Itam and through Payer Terubong to where the best laksa is found at Nang Guang kopitiam, Balik Pulau.
The asam laksa here comes in two different varieties, the usual asam style, and the richer lemak style, which is closer to the traditional Nyonya recipe. Neither would disappoint even the harshest laksa critics. The soup is flavorful and packed with fish meat, even the prawn paste has an extra kick to it.
If you’re to pack some for the journey back to Klang Valley (or anywhere else), they do it rather professionally with soup, prawn paste, and main ingredients all packed separately.
Balik Pulau Laksa | Nan Guang kopitiam, 67, Jalan Balik Pulau, 11000, Balik Pulau, Penang | Hours: morning to late lunch
mixed pork porridge at New Lane
In the evening, make your way back from Balik Pulau to the city center and stop by New Lane for something that isn’t readily associated with Penang – mixed pork porridge.
This is another stall that has been in business for decades and is still going strong as ever. A bowl of mixed pork porridge comes with delicious crispy intestine, pork tongue, slices of char siu, some spring onion, and pepper. Pretty simple list of ingredients, but one that tickles just the right spots on the tongue.
Pork Intestine Porridge (Chee Cheong Chock) | New Lane, Georgetown, Penang | Hours: from 6 pm till midnight
Green House hokkien mee and loh mee at Jalan Burma
For supper, head up just a few hundred meters to the East of New Lane to find the original Green House prawn mee stall at Jalan Burma.
This prawn mee and loh mee stall offers many ingredients you don’t typically find – home made fish ball, meat ball, sausage, pork skin, chicken feet, instine, and more can be added as extras to the prawn mee/loh mee for extra kicks. By default, they come with pork slices, prawns, hard boiled egg, fried shallots, and chili paste.
Green House hokkien mee | Jalan Burma, Georgetown, Penang (Opposite Chew Thean Yeang Aquarium) | Hours: dinner till late
Of course, I’ve missed out many other hawker stalls that are “must tries”, but if you have only 24 hours to go, this list should not disappoint. Happy eating!
Whenever we think of vacations, we often think about sandy white sand, far-away foreign cities, beautiful old temples, or at a waterfall nested within a pristine jungle. Those are “traditional” and in a sense, more ideal vacations, but at the same time they also require a lot more planning, time, and often incur higher expenses.
Enter the recent trend of “staycation”, pick a nice hotel somewhere not far away and spend a couple nights enjoying the facilities, good food, while having someone else make sure everything is clean and tidy.
We spent an awesome 3 day 2 night stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur doing just that a couple weeks ago for a much welcomed de-stressing session. At the end of this post, you’ll find out how to win the same 3D2N de-stress getaway (for 3 winners.)
Aloft KL, lobby and quirky art
The decoration within Aloft KL is one that is pretty atypical. Lobby is a mixture of industrial presence dotted with quirky art works everywhere.
Right behind the check-in counter is a re:fuel counter that offers ready-to-eat foods such as sandwiches, salads, drinks, coffee, instant noodles, and many other snacks. If you want to have a quick bite, this is a good one-stop center.
To the far right of the lobby, you’ll find the W XYZ bar that offers a selection of draught beer, cocktails, juices, and more. There’re also live bands performing at the area. Have a drink, shoot some pools, enjoy the music.
Mai Bar and Re:Charge gym
On the top floor there’s a more “serious” bar with a great view of the city.
At night, MAI Bar is lit up by colorful LED lights and offers a full range of drinks and great live performances as well as DJs spinning latest tunes. This is a place to go to shake your booty.
For those who loves to sweat, Re:Charge gymnasium is well-stock with modern equipment. While isn’t exactly big gym by any stretch of imagination, it is well sufficient.
infinity pool on the top floor
Then there’s my favorite part of the hotel – the infinity pool on the top floor, right next to Mai Bar.
The pool is some 25-30 meters in length and sufficiently wide enough to accomodate some 8-10 swimmers at the same time if they’re all doing laps. Furthermore, opening my eyes underwater did not sting, I suspect that this is probably due to the fact that they might be using salt water treatment instead of the more traditional chlorine.
In either case, this is a great place to chill.
our room for the weekends at Aloft KL
All guest rooms are equipped with comfortable platform beds, iron, ironing board, bathrobes, coffee maker, 42″ flat screen TV, a sofa, mini fridge, safe, oversized shower, and a workstation. I also particularly like the floor to ceiling windows that takes up the entire wall for an uninterrupted view of the city.
Since we have Haze’s siblings staying with us over one of the nights, we also got the hotel to provide us with extra beds that came in a form of cute little tent thing and a bed with cute bed sheet.
On top of every headboard is also a piece of quirky art work, another nice touch.
breakfast buffet spread at Nook
The big restaurant at Aloft KL is Nook, and this is where most foods are served.
Breakfast comes in the form of buffet with pretty decent spread (complimentary for room guests). There’s salad, cold cuts, juices, cereal, espresso coffee, and many local dishes. My favorite was the laksa Sarawak, which had the same soup base with the high end version that was offered during MIGF at Nook.
evening buffet spread at Nook
At night, the buffet spread at Nook gets an upgrade. There’s good selection of seafood such as mussels, prawns, smokes almon, and even scallops. There’s also roast chicken, delicious salted beef that is served with kimchi, salad, soup, cheese, desserts, and many other local and Western dishes.
Nook provides a good selection of ala carte menu too
Apart from buffet, there is a pretty decent selection on the ala carte menu as well, though you might have to wait a little bit before the food is served.
There’s mushroom soup, steak, cod fish, sandwiches, spaghetti, yee mee with tiger prawns, and many more dishes. These were mostly pretty delicious, though our experience with the steak wasn’t as good as other choices.
kids at play, Aloft KL
Over all, it was a very nice and relaxing stay over at Aloft KL. This whole “staycation” thing is something I can get used to, and hopefully will be doing more.
OK now here’s a few steps you can do to stand a chance to win a 3D2N stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur
how do you de-stress at work?
3 pictures with highest votes will win a 3-days-2-nights stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, so start doing it and hopefully you’ll be the one who wins this “staycation” package! Contest ends on 15th January 2014, be quick!
The eating culture in Malaysia is so rich that even after some 9 years of writing about it, there are still many famous and well established eateries within Klang Valley I’ve yet to explore.
Kedai Kopi dan Makan Sin Ban Fatt, also known as Ngau Kei
A few days ago after another routine invisalign appointment with the good people at My Dentist, I was invited to join them for lunch at a nearby restaurant by the name of Kedai Kopi dan Makan Sin Ban Fatt, or more commonly known as Ngau Kei on Jalan Ipoh.
The proprietor of My Dentist, a massive foodie in his own right, explained that Ngau Kei have been in business for almost 6 decades at the exact same location, and is still a favorite among locals.
salted steamed kampung chicken
Parking situation around this old shop isn’t the most ideal, hence getting there before the peak of lunch time is recommended. Waiting time too can be rather long as it is almost always packed, this is not a place to visit if you’re in a hurry.
For the four of us we ordered only three dishes for sharing.
Our first dish was their signature salted steamed kampung chicken. I’m usually not a fan of kampung chicken due to it’s much tougher texture, but this version at Ngau Kei was absolutely delightful. It was tender while not fatty, and carries that flavor of kampung chicken which I really enjoy.
vegetable, deep fried garupa with sweet and sour sauce
For fish, they usually serve it either steamed or deep fried. We tried the deep fried garupa with sweet and sour sauce. The seafood was fresh, and deep fried to perfection with the outer layer and fins crispy but the meat still steamy hot and tender. The sweet and sour sauce pairs well with the fish and was a great with steamed rice.
The simple fried vegetable with garlic dish dish was our last dish, and while not exciting, it certainly did not disappoint.
a plate of fruits is served at the end of meal
There’s also a plate of fresh fruits at the conclusion of the meal. I’ll certainly be back to try their other famous dishes such as fried fish fillet with salted vegetable, steamed eggs, prawns with dark soya sauce, and fried binjal.
Kedai Kopi Dan Makanan Sin Ban Fatt
647, 4th Miles,
GPS: 3.195444, 101.679899
Tel: 03-6258 2839
A few weeks ago I had a couple hours and a hungry stomach to kill before a futsal session at Ampang Sports Planet. Since Dato’ Keramat is sort of a half way point between where I was and where I need to be, I thought I’d explore the area a little bit and see what I can feed myself.
Malay roti canai/roti arab stall at Dato’ Keramat market
My initial plan was to have the ikan bakar (grilled fish) for dinner, unfortunately at almost 6pm in the evening, the stall has already closed for business (even though it says until 6:30pm).
Walking about the market and around the area, I spotted this roti telur/roti arab stall by the makeshift food court/restaurant opposite the LRT station .
the roti is a quite unique, puffed up and slightly sweet
After a brief description by the friendly waitress on what exactly this roti arab is about, I ordered a portion to load up some carb before exercise. Like roti canai, you can have it with curry, and I think it will also go very well with some condensed milk.
The ingredients of roti arab is pretty similar to normal bread, with the addition of butter on top of yeast, flour, and some sugar. The dough is then pan fried instead of baked.
I think it tastes great with some fish curry
I find myself enjoying roti arab quite a bit. It is easy to eat, almost like in between roti canai and normal bread. Dip it wet with fish curry and viola, instant carb loading that cost less than RM 3 including a glass of teh-o-ais. Perfect afternoon in-between meals.
I hope more places started serving this.
Dato’ Keramat Market
Opposite Dato’ Keramat LRT
Jalan Dato’ Keramat
GPS: 3.165396, 101.73118
While most of us love to travel to exotic places and faraway land, those are nice and dandy, but also cost a lot of time and money. But if you look a options closer to home, there are actually a lot of hidden gems all within a couple hours’ drive from Klang Vally that makes for great day trips.
A couple months ago, we went to one of such places for a bit of eco-tourism at Perting Falls (also known as Lata Hammers), near Bentong. It was organized by Suan with Yen (who took us to Chilling Fall back in 2007) as our guide.
we started our journey, walking past rubber estate
Take the Bukit Tinggi exit on Karak Highway and get on Route 68, the old road to Bentong. Follow that scenic route for about 16 km and try not to hit any of the many bicyclists typically found on this beautiful swerving road in the morning.
You will pass a hot spring right before the turning to Perting Valley training resort, take this exit and drive about 2.5-3 km inwards, or as much as your car can take. The road condition isn’t great, a 4×4 would be most awesome.
along the way we had to pass Sungai Perting Pandak
Since we drove normal sedans and did not want end up buying new wheels, we parked conservatively at about 2 km or so before the actual trek begins. The trail itself is almost 3 km, and reasonably easy to trek bar some overgrowth that might scratch your legs just a bit.
after 5km of trekking, the final steep descent to the waterfall
In total we trekked just over 5 km each way, which takes about 1.5 to 2 hours if you do it leisurely. The jungle trail itself should take only an hour if you manage to drive closer. While there are a few steeper areas, the walk isn’t a particularly challenging one, Ahfa’s retired mom had no problem keeping up, in fact, she was better than half of the youngsters. (ok maybe not youngsters anymore if you’re over 30.)
Check out the embedded endomondo trail at the bottom after the map.
Jaime had a zen moment
Perting Fall has a beautiful pond with chilling cold water. A few of us took a swim in it, it was fantastic. The closer you swim towards the waterfall, the more it pushes you back, kinda like swimming on treadmill.
Like most waterfalls, there are sometimes whirlpools which present a danger. Always exercise caution and not do anything stupid. It is also advisable to bring along a small box of first aid kit with you.
Yen had a small gas stove and made tea, we tapao some nasi lemak too
Due to the distance one has to trek, this waterfall isn’t particularly crowded. Other than our group, there were perhaps maybe around 10 other people, including a few who camped overnight.
Our well prepared guide also brought along a small gas stove and made us some 3 in 1 coffee & milo, together with some nasi lemak we packed earlier in the morning, we refueled.
We started our journey back at around 1:30 pm after spending 2-3 hours at the waterfall. Another 1 hour 40 minutes and plenty of sweat later, we got back to the parking lot and made our way back to KL, but not before having an awesome late lunch at Bukit Tinggi (it’ll be on another post).
Eco-tourism spots is aplenty in Malaysia, and something that we should treasure and enjoy. Check out waterfallsofmalaysia.com if you’re interested in trying out something like this, there are easier trails and more accessible waterfalls too.
Travelling can be cheap and fun while being healthy all at the same time!