Sunday, August 29, 2010

Penang Trip

Penang Island is almost similar to Singapore, so a short break there feels comfortably familiar with slight differences. We only managed a drive around Unesco world heritage site Georgetown and a couple of hours at massive Kek Lok Si Temple. Most of the main attractions were closed for restoration. Shopping areas were also strangely deserted as it happens to be their national religious holiday, we were told the locals are quietly praying at home during this time.

One of their heritage crafts is joss stick making. Even the smallest temples will have huge sandalwood laced fushcia joss sticks with swirling dragons. Inside the temples, devotees offer lotus shaped candles or pineapple-shaped bottles of oil to the gods.

When in Penang, we have to eat like the locals do in order to sample the most delicious food Malaysia has to offer. Familiar sounding dishes like char kway teow, oyster omelette and laksa are prepared differently, defintely worth a try. We even queued up at the street corner for the famous Penang Chendol that truly lives up to its name with the lemak gula melaka.

The local food was good enough to have me searching for local produce to bring home to replicate.

In the process, I discovered the local supermarkets carry some pretty upmarket ingredients at a bargain. I found animal shaped pasta ($3), Himalayan Pink Salt ($2.50) and corn on a cob ready for popping ($7).

We spent the rest of the time at the shopping malls that always seems to have something I want to buy, be it a hamburger lunch box, gold brick lighter or even a toy gun keychain.

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