The weekend prior to Hari Raya, we went up to Penang for a little staycation getaway at Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa. The trip was quite a special one for me for reason that may be different from most. Close to two decades ago, I worked at the very same hotel as a casual worker and used to think “what if I was a guest there one day…”, and that day came true.
The Spice Market Cafe at Rasa Sayang, Penang
I will write about the hotel and our experience staying there next, but today let’s talk about their huge dinner buffet at Spice Market Cafe located at the Garden Wing (the “right” side).
seafood on ice, baked salmon
Dinner starts at 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm every evening and it’s the all you can eat affair. Priced at RM 185 nett for adults, it is also the buffet that offers one of the biggest selections of dishes on the island.
You have a choice of indoor seating that requires fewer steps to get to all those dishes, or alfresco dining area right next to the unique free-form swimming pool surrounded by their huge garden complete with giant rain tree by the beach.
Indian & Malay cuisines, selection of salad
The dishes include authentic ethnic cuisines from diverse cultures – including Chinese (with chef from China doing freshly made “knife slice noodle”), Indian, Nyonya, Japanese, Thai, Malay, and Western.
freshly made noodle, slipper lobster, local dishes, juices
Some of the must-tries are the slipper lobsters either as-is, or covered in sauce, sashimi, roast beef, and snow crab. We also really enjoyed their selection of cheese, but the number one favorite for all three of us for the night though, was their deep fried soft-shell crab, it had just the right amount of seasoning that reminds me of some of the best banana leaf side dishes I’ve had the pleasure to taste.
desserts, ice cream, fruits, and even roast beef
If you just try a spoonful from each dish, you’ll probably need at least several visits to sample everything, the selection is huge. Unlike most buffet places that only serves water, there are also a selection of juice to go about.
mom, Haze, KY & Kit the F&B guy at Rasa Sayang
If your wife or girlfriend can’t decide what to eat, this is not a best place to be. There bound to be something that’ll tickle her senses. I know my mom was more than satisfied.
Address: Spice Market Cafe Rasa Sayang Batu Ferringhi Main Road, Kampung Tanjung Huma, 11100 Batu Feringgi, Pulau Pinang GPS: 5.478865, 100.254181 Tel: +604-888 8888
While Penang is synonymous with char kuih teow, laksa, and curry mee, one of the least talked about awesome hawker food from the island has got to be mee goreng. Sure, you can find mee goreng just about anywhere in Malaysia at 24 hour mamak stores, but once you had it in Penang, you’d think that you life has been a lie.
mee goreng stall at Tanjung Bungah, Penang
When it comes to mee goreng, one of my favorites is the little unassuming stall parked at the Yok Fong kopitiam in Tanjung Bungah where the old Hin Bus station used to be, or about half way from Tanjung Tokong to Batu Feringghi.
just a squeeze of limau lipis is all you need
The mee goreng here is manned by Indian stall owner who is actually not the “original” owner, but thank goodness the trick of the trade isn’t lost to this next generation operator.
A plate cost RM 5 and comes with the usual fritter, squid, potato, egg, bean sprout, and a bit of greens. If you want it hot, ask for more “cabai”. Squeeze the limau lipis just right before you dig in for that extra umph. The noodle is very wet in comparison to the usual versions, so much so you can eat it with a spoon.
we ended up ordering another plate
If you’re in Penang and crave for something slightly out of the usual hawker fare, this is one to try out. Also, this would be suitable to bring your Muslim friends along.
Address: Mee Goreng at Yok Fong Kopitiam Jalan Chan Siew Teong Tanjung Bungah, Penang GPS: 5.465812, 100.279872
This is one of those write-ups that was somehow kept in the draft mode for way too long, but never late than never, and this is especially true when it comes to awesome food that can be enjoyed by everyone – so today, let’s talk about Ikan Bakar Adnan bin Hassan in Penang island.
selection & price list plastered on the wall
To start with, you have to appreciate the location where Ikan Bakar Adnan bin Hassan is located. At the tail end of the island, you’ll have to travel for probably close to 45 mins to 1 hour from the heart of the island to reach this place, depending if you actually get lost or not.
The restaurant itself is of a medan selara sort of set up, and Adnan bin Hassan is the corner shop offering the most selection of any stalls there.
Ikan Bakar Adnan bin Hassan, Kampung Teluk Tempoyak
There are usually quite a few selection of seafood to be chosen from, ranging from siakap, kerapu, bawal, ikan merah, janahak, udang, and ketam. Price list is clearly stated on the wall as well, which is always helpful. The fishes are supposedly supplied by local fishermen.
better get your share before your friends finish them all
I liked the way they fish is grilled here, split down the middle with ample sweet and positively hot sambal plastered within the center, and more spicy & sour sambal served on the side just in case you can and want to handle more hotness. The seafood was plenty fresh when we were there as well.
Squid from the neighboring stall wasn’t nearly as satisfying though, so choose your poison carefully.
For those of you who complained that there isn’t any halal food entry for Penang, here’s one yah! Happy dining!
We’re also traveling to London on the 9/10/15 to 12/10/15 for a short 3 day 3 night trip, flying with Malaysian Airline, I will be meeting up a local foodie, Karen fromlavenderandlovage.com, it’ll be exciting!
Address: Ikan Bakar Adnan bin Hassan Jalan Teluk Tempoyak Kampung Teluk Tempoyak 11900 Penang GPS: 5.277497, 100.288262 Tel: 019-413 2572 Hours: 6:30 pm to midnight (Closed on Mondays)
Earlier this month on the 1st of September 2015, Malaysian Airlines officially welcomed the start of its new company Malaysia Airlines Berhad. As with many of you, my first ever flying experience was with our national carrier, with what has happened in the past 18 months or so, I personally felt that this is a significant step to the right direction for the company to once again proudly graze the Malaysian skyline.
Flying with Malaysia Airlines Berhad on the first day of business
Together with a few other writers, I was invited to take a short day trip with the new MAB to Penang.
To be honest, last I flew back to Penang was almost two decades ago when I took a flight (and was upgraded to business class, my first business class experience!) back to my hometown, down with dengue.
To commemorate the occasion, the customers on this particular flight was given a cute little pilot bear.
Malaysian Airlines Berhad CEO Christoph Mueller on Sept 1st, 2015
The CEO of Malaysian Airlines Berhad, Christoph Mueller, was on location to make sure everything runs smoothly, and to salute the aircraft before we take off, it was a proper sent off, albeit only to a location 45 mins away.
breakfast at 1997 kopitiam, Paya Terubong, Penang
Upon touch down in the Pearl of the Orient, we first took care of the most important business – breakfast!
We headed to Paya Terubong and jumped right into 1997 kopitiam. The restaurant is named after the year in which it was established. To be fair, I’ve never been here (as I left Penang in 1996 for college).
The loh mee I ordered turned out to be more than satisfying, I particularly love the super spicy sambal. and of course the availability of those soft & smooth pork skin didn’t hurt at all. The char kuih teow we shared was pretty decent, and kuih teow soup received positive remarks too. It was a pretty good start of the day.
heading up to Penang Hill
After breakfast, we went up to the highest peak of the island – Penang Hill.
There are two ways to head up to the hill – by the new & improved cable car from Ayer Itam, or use the Number 11 bus (your 2 legs) and walk your way up from the road next to Botanical Garden. Of course, we chose the easy way up.
Not to be outdone by Paris’ love locks, Penang Hill has our very own section of the same thing too, I found it pretty cute. If you didn’t bring your own locks, they’ve got a stall manned with traders who are quite eager to sell you a few models of locks, rather enterprising.
the old cannon’s still there, but the cable car is now much faster
I walked up to the highest peak and made sure to take a photo next to the cannon, reminiscing a similar picture taken at the same spot when I went up there with classmates at the age of 10 or so, time flies man.
Oh, make sure you take the lowest car on the way down, the faster speed makes for quite a pretty thrilling ride, I love it.
the famous Ayer Itam asam laksa
After Penang Hill, it was time for lunch, and since we were already at Ayer Itam, the famous laksa right next to the morning market made for an obvious choice.
I’ve had this laksa from when it was sold for RM 1 per bowl, and glad to say that it still tastes the same as it was from decades ago. Check out this old blog post of the place from almost 10 years back.
Fort Cornwallis, where Sir Francis Light first stepped foot on Penang
Fort Cornwallis was our next destination. This was the place where Sir Francis Light, the founder of modern Penang first set up camp on the island. The historical site isn’t overly interesting to be perfectly honest, but if you’re hungry (unfortunately we weren’t), the mee sotong at the adjacent food court is excellent.
Peranakan Mansion, I’ve never been to this place even though I’m from Penang
We then moved to Peranakan Mansion, a typical mansion for affluent Baba & Nyonya from a century ago. This mansion was super impressive and definitely worth every sen of the entrance fee. There are over 1000 pieces of antique & collectibles on display. I am quite embarrassed to be a Penangite who only stepped foot in this building for the first time.
If you go to Penang, be sure to pay a visit to this place.
Masjid India, the oldest mosque in Penang, and the nasi kandar next to it
Continuing the tour of Georgetown, our Muslim tour-mates took the opportunity to pray at the oldest mosque on the island – Masjid India.
As for the rest of us, it was an excuse for nasi kandar. I had nasi tomato from the Nasi Kandar Masjid stall (next to the famous Nasi Kandar Beratur which opens only at night). As with most nasi kandar in Penang, the curry was thick and flavorful, but it didn’t have as much umph as I had wanted, I guess I expected just a bit more.
Penang road cendol and rojak
For tea break, we headed to Penang road to have some cendol. There are two stalls operating across the road from each other, and to be honest, they both tasted as good as each other. Some may argue that one is “definitely better”, but I can’t tell.
Oh, the rojak is pretty good as well.
a visit to Chew Jetty before we head back to KL
Chew Jetty was our last destination before heading back to the airport. The famous residential jetty now has about half the houses converted to make-shirt shops of sort. In a way it was perhaps slightly less charming? I don’t really know what to make up of it.
My grandparents stay very close to one of these jetties at Weld Quay, so as a kid I used to roam around the different jetties with no shoes, carelessly side stepping open nails and barely secured planks. There was definitely a sense of nostalgia.
Oh, by the way, I also tapao 10 packs of laksa back to KL, and happy to report that airport security did not think it was a bad idea. 😀
Those of you who have followed this blog or my Instagram/FB channels for a while know that I’m quite a big fan of Penang Curry Mee, whenever I see any place that claims to offer them, I’ll give it a try.
Curry Mee at Tong Fong restaurant, PJ Seapark
So when Haze pointed out to me that there’s this stall offering Penang Curry Mee at Tong Fong kopitiam at Seapark while we were buying battery for the car, it became the de facto lunch choice for that day.
Tong Fong kopitiam is situated right behind KFC at Seapark, other than the rather popular beef noodle, there weren’t many hawker stalls worth mentioning, until this one.
coagulated pork blood and raw cockles, the most important ingredients
To be perfectly honest, this stall does not offer 100% pure Penang Curry Mee. While having coagulated pork blood, cockles (two of the most important ingredients), cuttlefish, tofupok, and mint leaves, it lacks prawns, and comes with a few pieces of shredded chicken as well as some green beans. So in terms of ingredients, it was about 80% Penang, 20% KL, a bit of a mixed marriage.
there’s no prawns in this curry mee, but I’m not complaining
The good thing though is that it works, the broth was rather fragrant, and the sambal, while a tad on the oilier side, provided a pretty good kick. I can excuse the lack of prawn in this case.
If you can wake up before 9 am, Restaurant Okay’s version may still be a bit better, but this place serves till lunch, and I sure hope the stall stays.
Address: Tong Fong restaurant
46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS: 3.110142, 101.621673 Hours: breakfast and lunch