Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My 32nd Gastronomical Birthday Adventure in Penang

Before I start, let me warn you that this is a picture-loaded entry. I initially wanted to split this post into two, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it because it meant splitting my birthday celebration into two. So bear with me please, and I sincerely apologize in advance. 

Since we were going to be travelling up the North-South highway to Ipoh my Papa's birthday and my brother's wedding (separate blogpost!), my neighbours and I decided to take the opportunity to travel on a road trip up North to Penang for a gastronomic adventure. We were all ardent foodies, so everyone had something that they wanted to try in Penang. Unfortunately we only had (two days) one night in Penang, so we had to cram everything in that limited time we had - hence the title picture; The Best of Penang in One Night.

Our convoy left Cahaya SPK at 630am (30 minutes off the promised time!) and made a pit stop at the Rawang R&R for breakfast. Since we bundled Aiden and Ian into the car with pyjamas and all, it was quite a challenge to get them all excited about breakfast. After a quick meal (I started the destruction of my diet with nasi lemak), we continued our journey until Ipoh. Made a quick stop to drop my sister off (she hitched a ride with us as she missed her train home), then continued to Juru. By then, it was close to lunch so we proceeded to our first gastronomical food stop:

1) Warung Kelapa Sawit, Jalan Tok Kangar, Juru

When we arrived, I got a tad confused because their specialty was ikan bawal goreng. Erm, can I not just do that at home??!! Heh, I was dead wrong. The fish arrived sizzling hot and very crispy, you can practically crunch the bones, and when you dip it in their famous sambal kicap cili....... *sigh* just be prepared to ask for nasi tambah. Their gulai deserves a special mention as well. Pair these with a glass of refreshing air kelapa - I can certainly see why people flock to this gerai

We were lucky we arrived slightly earlier than the lunch crowd, and since we occupied at least 4 tables, we had the luxury of people coming to take our orders. If not, you would have to queue up for your meal - self service style.

We must have ordered at least 8 pieces of ikan bawal goreng, so they didn't even bother with plates. Ours was delivered in an aluminium tray!

Memang tamak, each of us ordered one whole fish each. But fret not, everyone finished their fish to the last piece of bone!

2) Ferry into the island

Next, we continued our journey to the island via ferry. This was Aiden's second time on the ferry. The first time we went, he freaked out. This time around, being older and surrounded by his peers, I guess he manned up and actually enjoyed the ride!

The kids enjoying the breeze in their face.

The ladies.

Silhouette in the sun. 

After exiting the ferry, we drove to our next stop, the hotel:

3) Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences, Persiaran Gurney, Georgetown

This was our first time at the said hotel. Since we brought our maid along, we opted for the two bedroom suite while the rest chose the studio suite. The upgrade costs only an extra ~RM120, but not only did we get an extra bedroom, we also got a much bigger room complete with living hall and pantry (pictures below) and 2 additional breakfast vouchers (to make a total of 4)! Highly recommended, especially if you are travelling with extended family. This is not a brand spanking new hotel, mind you - but the room and the price certainly makes up for the old fittings and all.

Ian killing time while waiting for the check in process.

The view from the front door. Living hall and even a dining area. Door to the left heads to the master bedroom while the door on the right heads to the second bedroom.

View from the master bedroom. Pantry on the left. If only the other neighbour had gotten a connecting room (door beside TV), we could have opened the door and made more space for the kids to run around!

King size bed with ensuite bathroom.

But really, the best part about the room is the view. When you open the curtains, the vast sea greets you. It feels like your room is floating in the air. Breathtakingly beautiful!

Spacious bathroom.

Even comes with a jacuzzi (not kidding you!) and a separate shower stall. The view from the jacuzzi was absolutely beautiful.

Second bedroom (queen sized bed) and the guest bathroom in the common area.

Pantry and the view of the huge swimming pool from our living hall window.

4) Imitation beach at Gurney Hotel

Initially we wanted to head to the beach at Batu Ferringhi, but then dark clouds appeared so we decided to simply head down to the imitation beach just beside the hotel swimming pool. The imitation beach was surprisingly very spacious and the sand was very clean. There were also tables and chairs for the adults to rest, so we ordered food from the hotel snacks menu. We ordered club sandwiches and fried kuey teow to share. Both were very tasty but unfortunately service was quite slow. Best part was we could just charge it back to the room so there was no hassle of handling money or anything like that.

Check out the strong wind blowing the trees down! Also the imitation beach area beside the pool. You can even leave the kids making sandcastles while you work up a sweat at the outdoor gym.

Aiden had a great time while Ian was quite hesitant about the sand on his toes.

In the end we simply plopped him onto the sand. There were a couple of times we caught him trying to eat the sand!!!

View from our bedroom at night.

Aiden scrubbed himself clean in the jacuzzi after an afternoon of making sandcastles.

5) Pasembor at Padang Kota Lama Food Court

How can you go to Penang and not have pasembor? Apparently Hussain Pasembor is the one to head to in this food court. But since we had 7 adults and 5 kiddos to feed, we decided to sample pasembor from two different stalls. However, our resident expert in pasembor decided that both were not up to mark. She claims that the pasembor at the Gurney Drive food court is much better.

On hindsight, I didn't really enjoy the ambiance at this food court. Since we were a big crowd, it was quite hard for us to get seats and worse still was being ambushed by the stall workers eager for us to order from them. But worst of all was when we discovered that just because we were not locals, they cheated us! Cheated how? Well, Hubby ordered sotong kangkung and specifically asked for the small size to sample. When the dish arrived, the platter was so big, it could feed at least 4 adults eating that and only that. Which was a shame because we wanted to try out so many other dishes! When we asked why the platter was so big, they claimed that that was the smallest size. Of course, the price was belas belas ringgit lah. And how did we discover that we were cheated? Since we couldn't finish the whole platter, Hubby brought the dish back to the stall to tapau. Right in front of the stall was a display of the various sizes, the smallest being only RM7!

Pasembor from two different stalls. The left has a sweeter sauce while the right is more spicy.

The darn sotong kangkung, and sotong kering.

6) Pasembor at Gurney Drive, and the seaview

Unhappy with the pasembor, we collectively decided to tapau the pasembor at Gurney Drive to eat at the hotel. So one family headed to Gurney Drive while the rest waited by the road overlooking the sea. What did we do while waiting? Pose for pictures and take selfies, of course!


Posing by the roadside.

Selfie with Hubby.

7) Nasi Kandar Beratur, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, George Town

Once we got our hands on the pasembor, we decided to drop the kids off at the hotel (with my maid's supervision, of course). Then, one couple split off somewhere else to get dessert, while two couples went ahead on the next gastronomical adventure - Nasi Kandar Beratur!

Nasi Kandar Beratur is located just beside Masjid Kapitan Keling and claims to only open at 10pm. (Saja nak buat orang gemuk, makan nasi malam malam!) We arrived just twenty minutes after and there was already a long line! Despite the queue, we only waited for about 15 minutes (although the guy in front of us actually ordered 15packs of nasi kandar)!

Similar to Nasi Kandar Line Clear (which Hubby swears not to go ever again because of a food poisoning incident), Nasi Kandar Beratur is a simple stall by the alley just beside a restaurant. Patrons get nasi kandar from the stall, but order drinks from the restaurant. There are plenty of seats inside the restaurant, but limited seats outside in the open air.

We found out later that Nasi Kandar Beratur is actually open all day. The restaurant where you order drinks is the one that opens at 10pm. But then again, having nasi kandar without drinks is not a good idea too! *sigh*

The queue in front of me, and the queue at the back of me.

Such a marketing gimmick..., it says "dibuka pada pukul 10 malam"!

Choose whatever you want to accompany your nasi kandar. We opted for fried chicken with kuah campur. Next time must try their ayam ros!

Gangster gila posing Hubby order! And that's the view of the inside of the stall - not for the faint hearted, okay!

8) Birthday celebration and supper at the room dining area

Since everyone was watching their diet, we bought only three packs of nasi kandar - one pack for each family. *grin* (Trust me, don't replicate us because by the end of the meal everyone wished they had bought more!) Back at the hotel, everyone regrouped at the dining area in our room and laid out the food spread. It was time for supper!

Sharp at 12 midnight, Hubby and Aiden sang the birthday song for Ian and me. Awww... just last year I was in the labour room pushing Ian out!

Sweetest moment ever. Group birthday hug from my two boys.

Meanwhile, these ladies were busy plating dishes. Check out the two huge plates of pasembor from Gurney Drive.

Nasi Kandar Beratur. Must go again!

Group picture!

Singing happy birthday for Lisa (far left, birthday just a day before mine), and for Ian and me.

Cutting our birthday cake with a spoon! Poor Ian, we dragged his sleeptime past midnight, hence the long face.

9) Swimming at the Gurney Hotel swimming pool

Since the birthday celebration ended well after 2am, we crawled into bed and forgot to draw the curtains close. Woke up to sunlight pouring into the bedroom! Which was a blessing in disguise because we nearly missed breakfast! 

Breakfast ends daily at 1030am, so we took a quick shower and headed down. The spread was quite commendable (for the category of the hotel). Food was delicious and Hubby especially enjoyed their croissant and assorted pastries. After breakfast, we headed down to the swimming pool! Aiden really enjoyed himself at the kids swimming pool because it was very big and even has two slides!

The view that greeted us that morning.

Foosball table by the adult pool

Loving the infinity adult pool!

Finally, clear weather at the kids swimming pool.

Since it was his birthday, we laid out a special towel for Ian to sit on.

Morning stretch!

Aiden posing with his sandcastles.

Back in the room, we plopped Ian in front of the TV while everyone showered and packed for check out.

10) Mee Udang at Restoran Aur Gading, Sungai Dua

After checking out, we headed to the last of our gastronomical adventure - mee udang! The famous mee udang is located in Sungai Dua which meant that we had to leave the island. Since we took the ferry in, we decided to take the bridge out. It was a very scenic drive. Very scenic until both kids fell asleep as soon as they sat in the car! *grin*

We arrived at the said restaurant at about 2pm. There were not many people in the restaurant. Unfortunately, despite the low patronage, service was horrible! We ordered four mee udang in separate bowls but what arrived was one huge bowl filled with four servings of mee udang! We specifically ordered nasi goreng pattaya without the sauce on top of the egg (for Aiden), but they deliberately ignored our request. We asked for extra bawang goreng but it never arrived, we ended up walking to the kitchen for some. They even mixed up our orders! If that was all that was wrong with their service, I could have probably closed one eye. But what made me pissed off was that they laughed off and even blamed others for their bad service. How hard is it to apologize to your customer? Instead, when we complained, the servers had the cheek to laugh and claimed that it was another server's fault for not taking our orders properly. Eh hello, I don't care who took our order - the least you could do is to rectify the situation!

But! The mee udang was damn good that I would probably close two eyes at their horrible service and return for second helpings of that mee udang. The kuah was good and the prawns were huge, firm and succulent - definitely fresh!

Beautiful Penang bridge.

The outside of the restaurant. 

My two boys fast asleep.

Price for a mee udang starts at RM3 (just for the noodles!), and then the dish is charged by the weight of the prawns.

Each plate of mee udang came with three juicy prawns.

Last group photo!

Look at the size of those prawns!

Farewell Penang, it was a certainly memorable birthday up North! Next trip, I am adding these to the gastronomical food list:
  • Roti Bakar Arang and telur goyang at Transfer Road. The bread is actually toasted with real charcoal! 
  • Char Kuey Teow Sungai Dua "Telur Dibasuh" near the exit of Lebuhraya Utara Selatan Sungai Dua. I'll probably go just for their tagline "telur dibasuh"!!! *grin*
  • Laksa Janggus, 338, MK1, Kampung Perlis, Balik Pulau. Apparently the kuah laksa is added with daun janggus, hence the name.
  • Mee Goreng Sotong Hameed Pata at the food court beside Fort Cornwallis, Padang Kota Lama.
  • Dessert at China House, 153, Lebuh Pantai, Georgetown. We visited this during our last trip to Penang and we just loved their dessert spread!
Do you have anymore to add to the list?? Please share! *smile*


  1. Hi Lizzie, I stumbled your blog just recently and loving reading them.
    Went to Penang last month and topping up your gastronomical food list :

    1- Padang Brown foodcourt for pasembur. Seriously good and cheaper (not as sky high price as Padang Kota Lama) but this foodcourt doesn’t come with view.
    2- Teow Chew Cendol @ Penang Road – my husband tapau 2 cups and declare a cheat day!
    3- on the way home, we exited at Taiping Utara and drive another half an hour for Mee Udang Mak Jah @ Kuala Sepetang.. sedapppp!

    And thanks for sharing the above list. Definitely a keeper for our next Northern Trip

    1. Hi! Thanks for stumbling into my blog and thanks for reading too. Glad you enjoy reading my posts, and thanks for the yummy recommendations. I am looking forward to trying them - your second recommendation sounds absolutely delish. If your husband declared a cheat day, it must be really really good! The mee udang sounds good too... there goes my diet! Hehehe

  2. byk nyer tpt2 yg bes tuk mkn. every year blk kmpg husband 2 kali tp xpenah sekali pun pegi tpt2 yg sis pegi nie. seronok nyer. in fact SIL duk penang, tp xpenah pegi. nk kene pegi nie.

    1. Hahaha biasa la tuh - kalau kita dari kawasan tuh, usually kita tak berminat nak explore cari tempat makan baru. Bila jadi tourist baru nak google cari tempat makan yang interesting. Dulu, kalau I balik kampung Ipoh, tak pernah terpikir pun nak try Nasi Vanggey tuh. Hehehehe


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