I have not been to Penang for more than 20 years. During the December holiday, I decided to go to Penang as a short getaway trip with my family. So this itinerary is family friendly and have been tested.
To get to Penang island, you can either drive, take a coach or take the plane. For us, we drove into Penang from the North-South Expressway via the Penang Bridge. This is the first bridge built into Penang island, which resembles the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge with cable-stayed concrete girder. It used to be the longest bridge in Malaysia until it was overtaken by its sister, the Penang Second Bridge (also known as Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge).
From the bridge, you will be able to see parts of Penang and the surrounding sea. The first impression of Penang was there are a lot of high-rise buildings. Given that the island mass is small, it is not surprised that most residents there are living in high rise apartments or condominiums.
We had our breakfast at Hot Bowl White Curry Mee at Rangoon Road. Named after its signature hawker food dish, this shop sells white curry noodle. The curry soup is white in colour because the chili has not been added. Without adding chili, it is just a bowl of white soup with noodle and fillings like cockles, dried tofu, cuttlefish and duck blood (you can add/minus the fillings as you please). Adding chili will make the white soup look spicy and you can adjust the intensity to your liking.
I tried eating the noodle without chili, it tasted a bit bland. However, after adding chili, it did make the noodle soup taste great and with the fragrance and aroma of a spicy soup noodle. To me, the chili makes the difference in this noodle soup. So do add chili if you are going to try this, even though you are not a chili person.
Another signature dish is the Hainanese chicken that comes with rice or noodle. What makes this dish great for kids is that the steamed chicken is de-boned. We ordered the steamed chicken with Hor Fan and it was delicious. The Hor Fan was smooth in texture and the steam chicken was fantastic.
Just a small note, it is not easy to find a parking nearby. So you have to try to go round the place or park at the small lane next to the shop, if you are lucky to get one available. Another one is the menu for ordering the curry noodle, it can be quite confusing as they try to incorporate all different combinations of the fillings in the bowl, so be patient and read them first before writing down your choice on the order chit.
Hot Bowl White Curry Mee Address : 58C Jalan Rangoon, 10400 Penang Opening hours : 8.00am - 3.00pm everyday (close on Monday)
Upside Down Museum
This museum is not too far away from Hot Bowl White Curry Mee. When we reached there, a long queue had formed. So we hesitated at first to join the line. However, one of the usher told us that they would let in by groups, not individuals. So the queue would be cleared really fast. Moreover, you could queue first, and only when you are near the ticketing counter, then only you need to pay for your tickets.
While waiting in line, you can do some selfie or take photos at the ticketing counter to past time.
While queuing, the usher would ask you to take off your shoes and put them into lockers provided or a big plastic bag. A number is attached to the lockers or bag and the usher will write down the number on your ticket.
Once a group leave the museum, the next group will be allowed to enter.
Every room you enter inside the museum, there is one crew member that will give you ideas to pose and later the same crew member will take a photo for your group using your camera or phone. After that, you wait for your turn at the next room.
There is one section where the guide will take a video of your group walking on the window ledge.
The whole process was fast and efficient. It took us about 1 hour from queuing at the ticketing counter to exiting the museum.
Do take note, parking is not easy to find, the road is crowded with people, cars, trucks and buses. Locals get discounted tickets, so do remember to bring your identification for the reduced price tickets. Remember to put your bags on the floor when you are taking photos inside the museum. The first few photos I was holding my bag so it kind of spoilt the whole imaginary upside down image.
Upside Down Museum Address : 45 Lebuh Kimberley, 10100 Penang Opening hours : 8.45am - 6.30pm Monday - Friday ; 8.45am - 7.30pm Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays
We were invited to have lunch with our relatives to celebrate baby full moon. The lunch was held in Starview Restaurant. This restaurant is a Chinese restaurant that also caters to holding wedding luncheon/dinner or any formal celebration luncheon/dinner. At the entrance, there was a usher to greet you and direct you to the table if you already made reservation.
We were directed to a private room with two tables. This room could accommodate about 20 people. The decoration is a typical Chinese restaurant grand setting for formal luncheon. The waitress was attentive and immediately asked us for our drinks preference, i.e. chinese tea, water or orange juice.
The food was surprisingly good. We had appetiser, soup, chicken, steamed grouper, prawn, vegetables with mushroom, noodle and dessert. All of them are delicious and tasty. I especially like the steamed grouper, it was heavenly and the fish was very fresh.
The ambience was very good, especially we were given a private room. The waiters/waitresses were attentive and dishes were served promptly once we had finished.
There was ample parking space outside of the restaurant. However, make sure you turn into the road BEFORE the restaurant because we were lost after making a turn after the restaurant. It took us quite a few turns before we were able to get to the car park.
Starview Restaurant Address : 341, Jalan Dato Keramat, George Town, Penang Opening hours : 11.00am - 2.30pm , 6.00pm - 10.00pm everyday
Penang is famous for its street art or art mural on the wall. It started off with a project called Mirrors George Town by George Town festival 2012. Since then, street art has been popping up on the streets and tourists and locals started to take photos and posted them on social media.
These are some of the street art that we found. If you wish to get all of them, you may want to get a map from the tourist center which indicates all the street art, just like this one here.
Street Art Address : Lebuh Armenian, Gat Lebuh Armenian, Lebuh Ah Quee
While we were exploring George Town and street art, we found an old pastry shop at the corner of Armenian street. It sells handmade traditional savoury and sweet pastries and biscuits. It also sells desserts like bean curd, soya bean milk etc. It was founded in 1979 when it was only selling handmade egg tarts on trishaw. In 2008, it set up shops to sell pastries and biscuits. Its signature is the trishaw egg tarts. Some of the popular ones are salted egg pastry, pandan salted egg pastry, pineapple pastry and bean curd.
The eggs tart was amazing, the egg was soft and silky and the outer crust was crispy, especially if you ate it fresh from the oven. The bean curd was really smooth. It literary melted in the mouth.
The shop is small but it has a few tables and chairs for a quick dine in. The shop cabinets display a lot of freshly bake pastries and biscuits, and also tonnes of boxes of pastries for you to choose from. So you can go according to your combination of different pastries with different price budget.
Just outside this shop has one of the famous street art called Brother And Sister. Do take a photo before you leave this shop.
Ming Xiang Tai Address : 26, Armenian Street Ghaut, 10200 Penang. Opening hours : 9.00am - 9.00pm everyday
Tek Sen Restaurant is one of the top restaurant in Penang according to Tripadvisor. This restaurant serves a variety of chinese food. The restaurant has basic set up, nothing fancy, no air con and it’s crowded during dinner.
When we arrived, there was a long queue in front of the restaurant. We were lucky as our relative had reserved a table for us. So we were whisked into the restaurant right away.
Some of its signature dishes include Assam Tumis Fish, Trotters in Black Vinegar (“Tu Kha Chor”) and Double Roasted Pork Fried with Chili Padi (“Char Siew Bak”).
We ordered the Roasted Pork Fried with chili padi and it was delicious. Anyone who enjoys fatty pork should not miss this dish. It was divine and very appealing to pork lovers. The flavoured dish that had a hint of spiciness was just perfect.
Other than that, we also tasted the tofu, french beans and onion eggs. All the dishes were appetising and delectable.
You should not miss this restaurant if you are in Penang. Thumbs up for its food. Some people may find the price is not cheap, but the food is worth every penny after tasting them.
Note to drivers, like all places in Penang, parking can be a problem. We found a private parking nearby that charged RM5 per entry. Make reservation before you go so you don’t have to wait in the queue. The queue can be quite long especially during lunch and dinner time.
Tek Sen Restaurant Address : 18 Lebuh Carnarvon, Penang Contact number :+60 12-981 5117 Operating hours : 12.00pm - 3.00pm ; 6.00pm - 9.00pm ; close on Tuesday