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  • Writer's pictureKay Redrup


The northern tip of Penang boasts its best beaches. The water is rough and choppy, dark and ... maybe, not as trash free as other beaches in the world. But, saying that we had recently been to one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand (KOH LIPE) and possibly the world, so very little could ever match that. But it was fun to battle waves for a bit in warm sea.

Before that a farewell to Georgetown which I think I like, very much and I am sure is because it is a home I remember. The UNESCO area started directly in front of the hotel and we mostly never left it.

We discovered a great buffet type 'coffee shop'. You queued up and, from a large rice cooker you piled rice on a plate lined with plastic and then choose what you wanted to eat from the vast array of dishes, with and without gravy, fried or stewed, all the meats and fish and a great choice of vegetables. I went for pork mostly, actually entirely. A deep fried breaded pork in sweet sour sauce and a stewed pork belly, chinese cabbage and kangkong (morning glory) and an egg. Absolutely delicious. Once you had piled what you wanted on your plate, the cashier counted up your items and charged you accordingly.

For the customers who prefer take away, the plastic that wrapped the plate is pulled together, then tied and placed in another plastic bag. If you want to eat in then you are handed your utensils and you find a seat in the coffee shop.

The coffee shop makes money from the drinks. The stalls pay the coffee shop a rental and you aren't allowed to sit, unless you buy a drink. I picked one of my favorites - a soy bean almond drink.

And teh susu is a popular choice in the coffee houses - milk tea made with condensed milk.

It took half an hour to get to Batu Ferringhi in the north and the hotel mural I thought interesting. You'd have to be English educated and brought up in the 70s to immediately understand the hand gesture in the painting.

Intrigued by the product of the stall beside the beach we thought we'd have some of his Laksa Assam. It's laksa made from mackerel stock, tamarind and no addition of coconut milk. At first I didn't think I'd finish it, finding the fish stock a little too strong but with the addition of the noodles and fresh herb aromatics it bewitched me.

Just after sunset we took a cab to Pasar Malam (night market), where more food awaited us and lots of shops selling all sorts of things.

My dinner was wonton noodles. I asked for them dry with the soup on the side. This was the way I used to order it from the coffee shop opposite my house in Singapore. The preparation was slightly different with the addition of ketchup manis (a sweet soy sauce) instead of the ketchup and chilli sauce that was served up in Singapore. This came with several wontons, roast pork, a little veg and a great soup, loaded with garlic.

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