Thursday, 28 February 2013

7 Must Eat Foods in Penang, Malaysia

Cheap and tasty hawker foods are just a normal daily affair in Penang.

Siam Road
Char Kuey Teow
Jalan Siam (off Jalan Anson)
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday (3pm to 7.30pm)

Air Itam Market
Assam Laksa
Pasar Road (Besides Air Itam Market)
Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 7pm. Closed on Wednesday.

Lebuh Presgrave
Hokkien Mee
Lebuh Presgrave (2 houses away from the corner lot coffee shop)
Opening Hours: Daily 5pm to 12am

Bangkok Lane
Mee Goreng
Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 6pm

Kimberly Street
Koay Chiap
Opening Hours: Daily 6.30pm to 11pm

Penang Road
Teochew Cendol
Lebuh Keng Kwee, off Penang Road
(Note: There are 2 stalls here. So don’t get mixed up. If turning in from Penang Road, the stall is on your right hand side)
Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 7pm

Lebuh Presgrave
Ice Kacang
(Recommended: Request for 1 or 2 scoop of Peanut Butter Ice Cream on top of the ice kacang or cendol)
Opening Hours: Daily 5pm to 11pm

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Wondering in Pekan Kuah, Langkawi Island, Malaysia

Kuah still has the charisma of a quiet Malaysian town back in the 1970s.  Most of items sold in Kuah town are cheaper than other places in Langkawi Island. I will personally recommend you to do your shopping in Kuah town before doing your shopping somewhere else later.  So, if you choose to shop in Kuah at the end of your trip, you will realize the items that you have bought are 20% cheaper in this town.

Bird Eye View of Kuah Township
Besides, Kuah has a lot of fabulous restaurant for dine out especially in the evening. There are many seafood restaurants which is cheaper than the one at Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah. There are many Chinese Restaurants in Kuah too and you can find beer as low as RM2.50 or USD0.80.

The Eagle Statue at Eagle Square
Visitors also can take a late afternoon walk to observe local culture and activities besides visiting Legenda Park and Eagle Square for photo snapping.

Langkawi Parade/Jetty Point/Langkawi Fair

Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall
If you are expected a high end mall like in Kuala Lumpur or Penang, these are not the place. But these malls are the best place for you to buy clothes, shoes, jewelleries and souvenirs with discounted price. Langkawi Fair maybe the most popular among those three with wide selections of unique gifts, souvenirs and clothing for low budget or upscale shoppers.

Pandak Mayah – Banking District of Langkawi Island

The chocolate shops in Pandak Mayah shopping district with duty free prices
Banking district in Kuah is slightly different compared to other banking districts in Malaysia. Basically, there are nothing high end besides some Third World urbanisation charms of Langkawi Island. You also can get many items such as chocolates, suitcases, cheap tableware, cashew nuts, dried fish and suitcases with cheaper prices than the other parts of the island.

There are some non-halal Chinese food courts near the intersection (before the bridge at Langkawi Baron Hotel) named Water Garden and another one is Langkawi Sunrise. There are some other food Chinese food courts within the district too.

Plaza Langkawi

Plaza Langkawi
This building might look big at first sight, but actually they only have 3 floors of shops mostly selling textiles and traditional medicine. You can find Gamat Oil, Thai and Malay style shirts, caftans and some batik cloth at pretty much the lowest prices on the island.

Langkawi Mall

Most of local will come to this mall for foods and the prices are mostly very cheap. There is a famous Wan Thai Restaurant located here besides Malay restaurants which selling mixes rice during day time. There are some Chinese restaurants which facing to the main road which opens until late. You also can go to Kamdar textiles store which situated at east end of the mall for some Indian-style clothing at bargain prices.

Persiaran Mutiara Road

One of the famous eating out place at Persiaran Mutiara Road
This road is positioned in front of the Bella Vista Hotel and there are some popular seafood restaurants which open at night only. Perhaps they don’t have any fancy décor with flimsy tables, plastic chairs, the good foods at low price attracted local and tourist customers besides enjoying cheap beers. This eating district also called at Trimula.

Pekan Rabu

Located next to Al-Hana Mosque, Pekan Rabu is an upcoming shopping and dining district in Langkawi. Most of restaurants and cafes will be open by this year and expected to be the best place for casual dining in Langkawi. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Luwak’s Coffee and the Story of Expensive Coffee in the World

Luwak Coffee which only can be found in Indonesia is the weirdest coffee in the world. The coffee was produced from the shit of Luwak Fox which the animal will naturally eat the coffee bean at night before the villagers coming to collect the shits for processing to make coffee powder.

"Fox, Elephant and Monkey are among the animals which produced the most expensive coffee in the world"

The most famous location to find this coffee is in Bali, Sumatera, Jawa and Sulawesi with a commercial value at USD700 per kilogramme. The phenomenal of drinking this coffee used to be controversy among Muslim coffee drinker as the coffee was produced from animal digestion process. However, since 13 February 2012,in  the National Fatwa Organisation 98th Meeting had decided that Muslim can consume this coffee with halal coffee preparation process applied.

It is not only fox can produce high quality coffee. In Thailand, local people used elephant to speed up the process of producing coffee. This is because elephant can eat more coffee beans compared to fox. The idea is almost the same with producing Luwak Coffee which the elephant will eat the coffee beans and digest it. Some coffee lovers said that, the elephant produced coffee is more delicious than the high quality Robusta and Arabica coffee in market.

However, this coffee is only available at certain places such as luxury hotels in Thailand, Maldives and Abu Dhabi with price around USD68 per cup.

In Taiwan, Formosan Rock monkey also contributing in the making of world’s expensive coffee. Unlike Luwak and elephant coffee which come from digestion process, the monkey will attracted with the red colour of coffee bean and spit it as it can be digested. The coffee from this monkey’s spit taste sweeter with some vanilla taste which needs about 2 weeks to get dried and processed to make a coffee powder. The market price for this coffee is USD60 for each half kilogramme. 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Love Lane with Love at Georgetown,Penang

Love Lane is one of the lanes which is located within the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site of Georgetown. The lane was historically famous during early time for Eurasian and Asian traders, plus places to keep their mistresses. The lane is located in between Farquhar Street and Chulia Street and easily can be reached by foot from Komtar via Rope Walk.

A metal caricature structure of a man climbing down from window nearby the Love Lane signboard will welcome your visit here. Most of the buildings here are double storey and were built as early as year 1920 with combination of colonial and Chinese architecture.

Mr. Ang from Cafe Little Angel
While walking at this lane, you must go to Café Little Angel to enjoy cheap but delicious local dishes. Local dishes such as Hakka Dried Noodle, Hokkien Mee, Char Kuey Teow and Cantonese Fried Rice are such a mouth watery meals for to be ordered. This restaurant is just a small place with stools and small table which mainly popular among students from nearby school. Mr. Ang, the cook and also the owner of the restaurant said that he run the business since 10 years ago and always believe to serve the best to his customers.

Besides, there is many backpackers’ hostel located in this heritage trail. Love Lane Inn claimed them as the oldest hostel in Georgetown. Besides, other hostel such as Old Penang Guesthouse, Red Inn and Reggae Hotel provide dormitories wit price between RM25 to RM30 per person.

Along the way, you can snap a lot of photos at temple, schools and not to miss, to drop by at 23 Love Lane Hotel for photo snapping at the hotel gate and the yard. The Love Lane ended at the Catholic Cathedral of Farquhar Street.

Overall, walking along the Love Lane is worth a visit which you may enjoy sightseeing, photo shooting and good foods.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Rope Walk @ Pintal Tali, Georgetown, Penang

Pintal Rope started at No.1 Pintal Tali Street, which is where Sri Malaya Restaurant located and finished at Dr. Lim Chwee Leong Street’s Mosque. Basically nothing much to see here when normally people will pass by the street on the way to Love Lane or Chulia Street. Most of building here are very old and many of them are run downed.

If you like antiques, you may drop by to Mei Tatt Antique which is located at No.12 of Rope Walk. According to the shop keeper, Miss. Kathryn, the antique business had started 20 years ago at No.8 Rope Walk before moving to No.12 recently. Most of the antiques were brought to Penang by China rich men many years ago and some were aged since year 1800s.

Go further to No.38, 40, 42 of Rope Walk, you will find 1881 Chong Tian Cultural Hotel which is the first and only Chinese Cultural Hotel in Malaysia. This hotel operated since early 1800s to cater accommodation needs for Chinese merchants to do business in Penang. There are antiques on display in the hotel and major restorations have been done but still remain the originality.

Heading to Dr. Lim Chwee Leong street, there are nothing much to see besides electrical shops, car accessories store, and old double storey houses. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Psy's Gangnam Style in Penang, Malaysia

As promised, the "horse riding dancing style", Oppa Gangnam Style has finally come to Penang, Malaysia. For the first time ever, Park Jae-Sang or famously known as Psy come to Malaysia to perform in the national celebration of Chinese New Year Open House 2013 at Han Chiang College, Ayer Hitam.

This special appearance had attracted more than 80,000 crowd, not only local fans, but also foreigner tourist in Penang. Many of them had gathered in this school as early as 7.00am, worried to miss the chance to see the World's Korean superstar performing live.

Psy fulfilled his promise to his Malaysian fans when he arrived to Penang International Airport at 7.00am from Brazil before directly been sent to Evergreen Laurel Hotel for resting and preparation. The craziness started when his fan waiting for almost 5 hours until Psy stunningly starts his performance at 12.30pm which witnessed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and VVIPs. There is a rumours said that Psy appearance was paid by a party politic but has been denied as this special appearance was delivered by a private limited company.

Psy was performing his Oppa Gangnam Style with 10 backup dancers in white costumes. He was wearing a short sleeve shirts with some gold colour beading and black sun glasses. After the performance, Psy praised his Malaysian fans in his Twitter by saying, "U were hotter than weather, hotter than ever! 1Malaysia" which replied by Prime Minister as "Psy U were sizzling hot! Malaysia love your Gangnam performance"

According to Psy, he is very excited to come back to Malaysia on this April to promote his new single. 

Youtube video from

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Vietnam: Chúc Mừng Năm Mới | Happy Lunar New Year

Tet holiday in Vietnam or in some other countries will call it as Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Now, the whole country is in the climax part of Tet preparation before the actual date on 10th of February 2013. You will see more police on the street, big goods delivery services running crossing the busy street during the heaty day and shopping streets getting more crowded than normal.

Don’t Travel to Vietnam during Tet

If you are planning to travel here during this10th to 14th of February, it’s a big no, or you will home alone in a big city such as Ho Chi Minh City. Most of Vietnamese will head to their hometown since few days prior to Tet holiday, restaurants and shop also will close at least for one day during this festive season.

Even worst, every public transportation, busses, trains and planes will be packed with local who are heading home. The price also will skyrocket high and 2 hours journey from one to another point will take you up to 5 hours instead. Plus, some local bus operators will double their passenger capacity against the actual seat number per journey. So, 16 seater buses might result to 30 passengers at one time.

Travel by flight? Ah! You might face some first-timer flyer with unnecessary excitement, not to say flight delay and overcrowded people and luggage on the floor.

Accommodation & Sight-seeing

Basically, hotels in big cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi will have many rooms available with reasonable price. But travel to other cities few days after tet will be another problem as this is a Vietnamese holiday time and many Vietnamese will travel with big family members and most of resorts along the coastal area and highland will be pack with people. With this in mind, early booking is advisable.

There are many tour companies which operate during Tet holiday. Just be aware that most of tourist site will be surrounded by local Vietnamese crowd.

Traffic Rule during Tet

This is something unofficial. If you are taking a bike or bus from one city to another, you will see many unique views of the country people. Everybody plan to go back to their hometown and wish to bring a lot of things for their family members. Craft things, toys, cloths, even vegetables and chicken are possible to bring home by bike.

Not to say, few days before Tet, you will some delivery man on the bike carrying a massive lucky tree on the back seat to their customer’s house. Some others are delivering flowers or gift to their clients too.

What to wear?

Well, Vietnamese normally will do a massive shopping for Tet celebration. At least some cloth, pairs of shoes and pant, not to say other accessories. Funeral related colour such as black and white are prohibited, and red and yellow is the lucky colour. As this year is a snake year, snake printed or motive is a good choice to wear. If you are visiting friend’s house during Tet holiday, stick with the same rule to ban black and white colour for your attire.

My personal Tet experience in Vietnam

I used to celebrate Tet in Ho Chi Minh City alone and with my Vietnamese family (I can call the as my family anyway). Tet is city is absolute boring and empty. You can even play a roller skate or skateboard on the quite street of Nguyen Hue or Dong Khoi Street in District 1 and most of restaurants and shopping mall will be closed. I remember on 2012, the massive shopping mall, Vincom Centre was closed  from few days, the same with Coop mart but luckily Parkson still open after 1st day of Tet for me to grab some instant foods.

Unlike celebrating in Ho Chi Minh City, Tet holiday in countryside is more fun. All family members will work together to clean up the house, painting the grilled door, changing curtain or maybe re-arranging things at home. In the morning of Tet, they will pray for ancestors and some of them will go to pagoda for some prayer or meeting monk for luck.

Tet 2011 with Vietnamese Family

Banh Tet, is a must have traditional food on the table, besides other Vietnamese dishes. For consecutive 3 days, there will be foods and more foods to be served.

We always see Tet is related with wealth, but sometimes we need to remember that not everybody can afford to spend and live in difficulty during the holiday season. Besides praying for our good for the New Year, don’t forget to pray for other people who are not having the same luck like us.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi | Happy New Year