We were never hungry because we were busy stuffing our faces with the glorious food available at every perceptible street corner and nook.
The favorable 3:1 currency exchange rate fueled the food gorging because cost played a modest role in our exploits. The only concern perhaps was health but caution was thrown to the winds by the allure of street-fried char kway teow and all of its cousins brimming with lard, caramel sauce, hae kor (prawn paste), sambal (shrimp paste), gula melaka (palm sugar) and general unhealthy goodness.
You can hardly go wrong with recommendations of friends who are locals, along with a little research to complement the knowledge received.
No matter the number of times we appear in Penang, it never fails to surprise us with bigger and newer things. Revamping shophouses is the latest thing it seems to hit Penang. Apparently, a Singaporean bought 200 shophouses in a landmark transaction that caused a law once abolished to be revived to stop such real estate atrocities.
We were brought to Chinahouse, one such development – unsure if it’s by a Singaporean – that combined two shophouses into one. They have an impressive range of delectable cakes and pastries that can put The Cheesecake Factory to shame.
There is also Armenian Street, where shops are quaint and interesting. It has a flea market feel to it and is absolutely touristy. But it’s fun.
Ipoh is also famous for food but one spot typically missed out by most visitors is the Gaharu (Agarwood) Tea Valley. It is tea from a tree not the shrub we know tea to come from. Inanycase, it is herbal wth many positive properties, including allaying the effects of over-eating aka indigestion. Most useful methinks. It gives off a pleasant scent just like sandalwood but is way dearer since it is an endangered (thus protected) species. You can be taken around their plantation for RM10 per person in an air conditioned van during which you will learn more about Agarwood.
It is also here that we turned into gluttons. Here lies the list of non-exhaustive food items you might…will postpone or give up your diet for:
1. Delicious Zi Char (wok fried dishes)
2. Truely silky Soya Beancurd
3. Chai Dao Kway (fried carrot cake)
4. Tok Tok Mee (pork and dumpling noodles)
5. Assam Laksa/Prawn Mee/Char Kway Teow
6. Kopi (local coffee)
7. Yong Tau Foo (mixture of fried pieces of veg and meat with noodles)
8. Lor Bak (pork wrapped in fried beancurd skin)
So good it doesn’t need a pic!
9. Peanut Candy wrapped in Popiah skin
10. Tropical fruits
We ate and we bought and finally returned home with 21 kg worth of food in our luggage! 😁