03 December 2010

Penang, Malaysia - Oct 2010

This was a short 3D2N family trip made in Oct. The initial idea was just hubby, baby and I. Well, eventually the group got bigger and it became a entourage of 8 pax (maternal grandma, auntie, MIL, mum, brother & his GF, hubby and I) and 1 baby! Come to think of it, it's been almost 20 years since I last visited Penang! I remembered dad drove us all the way there, but couldn't remember where I stayed then, or probably we didn't stay overnight? Anyway, we decided to stay at the G Hotel next to Gurney Plaza. Initially had wanted to stay at Batu Ferringhi area but changed our mind as Gurney Drive area would be more convenient for us.

We took a morning flight on Airasia and reached Penang around noon time. The hotel transport came to pick us as arranged. Along the way, noticed quite a number of high rise luxury condominiums along the coastal region. Apparently, these properties are highly sought after by foreigners.

G Hotel, relatively new hotel establishment, next to Gurney Plaza and a short walk to Gurney Drive hawker centre. Overall, I like the hotel, comfortable, stylish and convenient location.

The hotel lobby was spacious and airy with lots of sofa for lounging around.
Complimentary ice-cream upon check-in. Taste was so-so only.
MIL, mum, hubby, baby and I stayed at a 2-bedroom service apartment as it came with a mini pantry handy for cooking porridge for baby. My grandma, auntie, brother and his GF stayed at the deluxe rooms.
Living room was spacious with dining table, workdesk and comfortable seating area.
Mini pantry with a 2-door fridge, microwave, washing machine and sink.
One of the bedroom with king-size bed and lounge sofa.
Wall-mounted plasma TV which we didn't get to watch programmes at all :(
The other bedroom with twin beds.

I love the contrasting colours of the bathroom, so sleek.
Bath amenties from Aigner which I didn't really like the smell. I love the acrylic box in the background of this photo. The cover was encased with lots of saga seeds.
I like this soap holder as well. Both items are available for sale but we didn't buy coz very ex.
View from our room, could see the coastal line, Gurney Plaza is just next door and the Gurney Drive hawker centre in the distant.

By the time we settled down, it was past lunch time. We made our way to Gurney Plaza and had lunch at one of the eatery not worth mentioning. Thereafter, we went back to the hotel to nurse baby and let him take his nap while the rest continued shopping.
Dinner was at the highly anticipated Gurney Drive hawker centre, which is supposedly THE place to go in Penang for authentic Penang fare.
It sure was crowded and we spent some time looking for seats which could accommodate all 8 of us. There must be some 50 stalls there, selling famous Penang hawker such as
Penang prawn noodle
Cuttlefish with Kang Kong, cockles
Homemade kueh kueh
Lok Lok. There are quite a number of Lok Lok stalls, with varying styles like fried, BBQ and the usual dipping in boiling water.
Penang Assam Laksa

Desserts to cool down after all the hawker food.
This is the only fried oyster stall, naturally the queue was long. I patiently waited for my turn while trying not to salivate as the aroma of the fried egg and oyster lingered in the air.
Have you seen the kway teow man, the kway teow man, the kway teow man/the satay man, the satay man, the satay man? Remember this Singapore folk song? LOL, sorry I digress.

Salivating yet? Since we came all the way to Penang for food, we had to order a bit of almost everything to try.
The fried oyster was yummy, with fluffy eggs and juicy oysters. The chilli sauce was tangy and spicy, I like!
I love the chay kway teow! Very different from ours. This appeared more plain but the wok hei was there, with springy kway teow. Taste was just right, not too oily or salty.
Fruit rojak. Not much impression, just remembered the prawn paste to be quite rich and sweet.
I like the wanton noodle. The noodle was very springy and the dark sauce complimented the noodles very well. The sauce was very fragrant, quite unlike the version we have here.
Boiled lok lok sticks with peanut sauce. There was a large variety of choices and seemed like everything can be skewered to become lok lok.
Yes, satay is common but we couldn't resist. The chicken meat was very tender and juicy. Mutton not bad too.
The much raved about Penang Assam Laksa. I think I prefered the one on the right, which was more spicy and sourish and more ingredients. I don't really like Penang laksa back in Singapore as I hated the overwhelming sardine taste, but here the proportion was just nice.
I love the cuttlefish with kang kong!!! The cuttlefish was soooo crunchy! The sweet and sour sauce that came along was nice but a tad too much such that the kang kong was literally drenched.
Some chewy BBQ dried cuttlefish to end off the meal.

I think we ordered a few other dishes and desserts as well, but I didn't manage to take photos for all. Couldn't wait to tuck in already. All in all, Gurney Drive hawker lives up to our expectations and if we have a chance to go to Penang again, I would go there again.

After the dinner, we decided to take cab to the Batu Ferringhi night market. The journey took some 20-30 mins and well, I would say not worth the trip at all. Nothing special and interesting. After about 45 mins of aimless walking through the boring stalls, we called it a day and headed back to the hotel.
The next day, breakfast was at g cafe. The spread was the usual, with bread and pastries selection, juices, salads, egg station, prawn noodle station, waffle station, hot selections etc.

After breakfast, we set off for our sightseeing.

First stop, the Penang old town and market place. Stopped by this famous dessert stall for chendol first.

The coconut milk was really fragrant and so was the gula melaka, thick gooey and sweet.

After the refreshing dessert, we walked around the marketplace.
Handmade popiah skin.
Roadside stalls.
Soya bean and chin chow anyone?
I have no idea what this veg is, didn't ask the stall holder. Anyone knows?
Lottery tickets!
Van selling wooden chopping boards and spatulas.

After the marketplace, we walked around the Penang old town and found most of the shops closed (Sunday). Oh well. We decided to make our way to the Pinang Peranakan Mansion. It was actually not easy to hail cabs along the streets. Strange we thought. Then while on the cab, the driver checked with us whether we were interested to visit some other tourist attractions and even whipped out a map to show us some package he could offer. It seemed that most cabs were 'booked' by tourists on hourly basis to take them to different destinations. Hmmm, is this some sort of cartel?
Ok, this is the Pinang Peranakan Mansion. Apparently, a popular shooting location for many dramas like Singapore's Little Nonya and some other HK shows. Entrance fee required (I can't remember how much) and tour guide could be arranged. However, all the guides on-site are English speaking only! We requested for mandarin speaking guide and the in-charge told us they could arrange for one in 10 mins' time. We waited and waited but no guide appeared at all. Anyway, we found their nonchalent attitude wanting. And it appeared that they are more interested to meet the needs of 'foreigners' if you know what I mean. Bleah. Well, if you really want to come and look see the culture and monuments of old-time peranakans, yes by all means. Granted the grandeur of the mansion is impressive but I won't want to waste my time next time.

After exploring the mansion (on our own), we decided to make our way to Kek Lok Si Temple, the must-visit temple if there is only one temple you intend to go in Penang. We couldn't get a cab at all and had to walk several streets under the sweltering heat (with my 80+ grandma and a baby!). When we finally got a cab, hubby was still hesitating as he thought the driver was overcharging us. I couldn't care less, all I wanted was to get out of the heat asap! Hmpf.

When we reached Kek Lok Si Temple, the cab driver offered to fetch us for the return trip but hubby turned down the offer (as he didn't like this cartel practise and he didn't want to be tied down for a fixed timing). The cab driver warned us it's difficult to get cabs but hubby felt otherwise. Well...

As it was past lunch time, we decided to eat lunch at the vegetarian restaurant before exploring the temple. Ordered a 8-dish set menu to feed our growling stomach.

Only managed to take one photo as we were all famished. But I must say the dishes were all very delicious (or probably coz we were so hungry :p)
After the fulfilling lunch, we explored the temple and most importantly to visit the famous giant statue of the Goddess of Mercy.
Part of the pavilion was still undergoing renovation when we were there. The photo just couldn't capture the magnificance of the Goddess of Mercy.
This is the elevator that brought us up and down the Goddess of Mercy pagoda. Thankful for that, else we have to walk in the heat which would take like one hour?

Time to head back as we were all tired and sweaty but couldn't find any cabs at all. I was like -_-
One of the shop owners advised us to walk around 10 mins (descending stairways/path with shops) to the main street. But after reaching the main street, still no sight of cabs. Finally we asked around and one shop owner helped us get his cab friend and another private car to send us back to the hotel (have to pay of course).

Finally we reached the hotel for a bit of rest before dinner.

Dinner was at this seafood restaurant (recommended by a friend) about 15 mins' walk from our hotel.

Fresh seafood in tanks and on display. Basically just choose what you want and indicate method of preparation.
Lala in sambal chilli. Sedap! The sambal chilli was really good.
Deepfried salted mantis shrimp. The meat was succulent. We hardly get to eat this in Singapore (or maybe at seafood restaurants like Zheng Fa or Jumbo? I'm really out of touch so not sure.) Yummy as well!
The veg was soooo fresh and sweet! I like!
Steamed pomfret. Fish meat was very fresh and sweet. Very well prepared!
Salad lobster! I wanted to order this as it was a long time since I last had lobster. It felt so good to put one whole chunk of crunchy lobster meat drenched in salad sauce into my mouth. Hmmm hmmm. I like it that the lobster meat was cut into large chunks instead of thin wafer-like pieces at some restaurants.

It was a hearty meal fit for our last night in Penang. Cost about RM500+ which is considered value-for-money (as compared to SG prices). With this, we took a slow stroll along the windy coastline and headed back to the hotel. Took early morning flight back to SG the next day.

Would I go Penang again? Probably, for the food but not the attractions. Probably, another 20 years later?


  1. I love Penang. Haven't been for 23 years! The food looks delic.

  2. can i check did u bring a slow cooker to cook porridge for your baby? Did u book g hotel directly from their website that includes airport transfers?

  3. Hi,
    So sorry for the late reply. Yes, I brought along a mini slow cooker to cook porridge. My husband booked hotel directly from the website and arranged transport with the hotel as well.