Old town food

Our Penang quest for food starts at the resort with another buffet breakfast. This one caters to a range of visitor tastes. There are local guests, Malay, Indian and Chinese, those from China itself, from Western countries and from the Middle East. Lots of ladies in chadors and men in designer sunglasses.

The buffet is good, the roti canai much better than yesterday’s and some really tasty beef rendang, full of spices.

We follow food with a swim, joining the few out early.

The hotel shuttle bus drives us along the winding coastal road and past the condominiums of Gurney Drive back down to Georgetown, terminating at the Jen Hotel. Adjacent to the hotel are a couple of shopping malls, welcome for their air-conditioning rather than their goods.

They have floors selling electronics and IT goods and it is interesting to see the penetration of Chinese mobile phone brands in the Malaysian market.

Leaving the cool comfort of the malls we continue towards the old town. B spots some eating houses selling bak kuh teh, a pork stew strongly flavoured with herbs. The owner encourages Alex to try and he decides he likes it too.

Not me.

That’s okay, I’ve got my own stuff to eat. Shortly afterwards we come across my favourite apom balik cart selling small pancakes (apom balik) filled with peanuts and corn. My number one Malaysian dish.

They direct us back to Lebuh Keng Kwee, for more lunch, or post lunch given the time. It’s the same road that the Joo Hoi Cafe is located along, but this time we try a different delicious Assam laksa and chendol, this time with ordinary sugar syrup for me.

Then back past the cart (I have to stop to buy more) and onwards to Lebuh Campbell to a Chinese herbal medicine shop to buy the ingredients for B to make bak kut teh back at home.

It’s hot, we’re tired, but we still haven’t eaten nonya food. I locate online somewhere reasonably close by and we set out to find it.

Past the mosque and down to the heavily touristed but historic Armenian Road, somewhere new for us.

Eventually we locate the Nonya Delights Cafe. It’s attractive, but the dishes on offer are mostly local standards and we are a bit disappointed.

Alex, who says he is hungry again, orders nasi lemak with sambal prawns, B and I pick at lor bak, bean curd wrapped pork rolls.

We are now so full that there is no hope of a seafood restaurant dinner. We catch a taxi back to the Jen Hotel and book a ride on the bus back to the resort. Alex is delighted with this.

We head out for another swim and get wet, but a big storm cloud approaches and the pools closed due to the danger of lightning.

Meanwhile I’ve been having thoughts of catching the train to Singapore rather than flying. By the time the bookings are done it’s after 8pm. Alex says he is too tired for dinner.

We only go as far as the Long Beach food centre, but the quality is awful. Then Alex throws up on the way back, all the nasi lemak from earlier because he hasn’t touched dinner. A very disappointing end to a day of eating.

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