Penang 2012: Pulau Tikus3/15/2012 05:19:00 PM
Now we come to my first post on Penang! Yay! Although I absolutely love visiting my friends and family in Kuala Lumpur, it can be... I dunno... a little soulless? Apart from lots of shopping and some great food, I don't feel like there's a lot for foreign visitors to do, it can be quite dangerous with pickpockets, and it's so difficult to navigate!
Penang, on the other hand, is totally super-duper awesome! Beautiful architecture, loads of history and culture, The Best Food in Malaysia, and my favourite hotel in the whole wide world. (Blogpost to come!) As with any city, it's better if you have locals to guide you around, but I still think Penang has a lot to offer, even for solo tourists.
Being surrounded by Hokkien-speaking Chinese Penangites makes me feel right at home. Finally! A Chinese dialect I can understand properly! Even though I've lived my whole life in Melbourne, I still think of Penang as my home town. And whenever I'm in Penang, I consider Pulau Tikus to be my 'hood - my dad grew up around the corner, and my lovely Aunty Rosie, with whom we always stay whilst in Penang, lives close by.
Pulau Tikus is full of great food stalls, shops and a market. Today will be a picture-heavy post. Let's take a look:
|Kedai Kopi Swee Kong|
|Interior of Kedai Kopi Swee Kong|
|Hokkien Mee stand|
I had a bowl of Hokkien Mee, as this stall is my dad's favourite. You'll notice that Penang Hokkien Mee is a rich prawn-and-pork based noodle soup dish, unlike the Hokkien Mee from other parts of Malaysia, which is just fat yellow noodles stir fried in dark soy sauce. Clearly, the Penang Hokkien Mee is superior.
Whilst the broth tasted amazing (see how rich and red it is?), the aunties here were very tight with the fillings - no hard boiled egg, and only one or two little prawns, each sliced into even smaller pieces!
If you're not up for an intense bowl of prawn soup for breakfast, there's also an Indian stall in this kopitiam, selling my favourite: ah pong! These are light little pancakes, cooked in small wok-shaped pans, so the centres are thick and soft, whilst the edges are thin and crisp. Totally delicious.
Ok, so if you continue down Solok Moulmein (i.e. going straight ahead in the below photo), there are heaps of great stalls on the lane itself...
|View of Solok Moulmein from Burma Road (Kedai Kopi Swee Kong is on the right hand side of the intersection)|
... including... a ban chang kuih truck! We came here for breakfast a few days into our trip.
|Ban Chang Kuih truck!|
|Inside the Ban Chang Kuih truck|
|Ban Chang Kuih truck and seating on Solok Moulmein|
You'll notice that Pulau Tikus is predominantly a Chinese area - so no asking for "teh ais", or for your drinks to be "kurang manis"! Speak Hokkien here (or English).
Peng means "ice", and jua means "hot", which should help you when trying to order.
Iced Tea - "teh peng"
Iced Milo - "milo peng"
Iced Coffee - "kopi peng"
Iced Barley - "barli peng"
|Ban chang kuih!|
One of my favourite Malaysian sweets is mua chee: slightly chewy glutinous rice flour dough, chopped into bite-sized pieces and thickly coated in ground peanuts and sugar. They serve it in little containers with toothpicks. (I'm told that normally the mua chee man only comes to Solok Moulmein at night - we were so lucky he was open on the morning we were there!)
If you keep walking down Solok Moulmein and turn right at the end, there are more stalls for food, and the market!
|Another Uncle making bah chang kway|
|More food stands|
Around this area is the market, selling everything from newspapers and iPhone covers to fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, crockery and more!
|Market from outside|
|Pork stalls - when you see pork, you are definitely in a Chinese area|
|Fish (I think these stalls are actually Malay - yay for harmony!)|
|Fish, turtles and frogs|
Some more streets in the area...
|Monks on holiday!|
Unlike the Thai temple, there was more of a garden in the Burmese temple, with grass, sculptures and even a large koi pond.
|Sculptures in the garden|