Street Art, Paratta and Coffee in Penang


Another public holiday, another trip!

Joel and I had been trying to sort out a destination that was both close (but far enough away for a 4 day weekend) when my colleague suggested the island of Penang, Malaysia.

Our hotel of choice was Seven Terraces – a set of shopfronts turned boutique hotel with a beautiful central courtyard. The rooms were large and full of antiques. I especially loved the delicate blue-and-white porcelain at every meal and the incredible local breakfasts of roti paratta.

We spent the weekend wandering though uniquely tiled archways and alleys in search of eclectic and newly accepted street art within the UNESCO world heritage site of Georgetown. I mean c’mon – world heritage site/history and art? Nerdy Sharon’s dream.

My favorite street art was ‘Little Boy with Pet Dinosaur‘ – I loved the contrast of the realistic little boy holding on to the dinosaur with a leash where the dinosaur looks as if it was drawn by that same little boy.

The street art ranged from cats – lots of cats or all shapes and sizes – to Marge Simpson, to people on swings to Minions.

To round out the heritage feeling, the area of Georgetown is filled with tin line sculptures which give an animated history of Penang. Once again – nerdy Sharon was right at home.

Being 1000 degrees, we noticed a trend of coffee shops open more so in the afternoon to late evening. We heart us some coffee and tried as much of it as we could, including cardamom coffee.

Last and certainly not least was all of the wonderful food. As vegetarians, Joel and I can find it hard to discover some local Asian foods but not in Penang! Indian cuisine is our favorite and it was not in short supply. Paratta, curries, otak otak, oh my!

We also tried (several times) the Penang Asam laksa. It is definitely different from the Singapore laksa. Penang laksa is light – as it is free from coconut milk, but sour and sweet from tamarind and full of incredible (but not overwhelming) fish flavors from mackerel.

We loved Penang – the food, the hotel, the art – and would highly recommend it for a brief artistic and cultural getaway from Hong Kong.


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