Penang 2019

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As I had mentioned a few posts back, we were left without any travel plans for the year when we came back from Taiwan, which is really very unlike our style. But truth to be told, we couldn't set another trip because from March onwards, I will be having lessons twice a week and also because HDB hadn't released our appointment dates.

The appointment date came out a few days before Chinese New Year, and I just told Grumpy that I had wanted to go to Penang for a weekend trip. Grumps initially wasn't that keen, and because I couldn't stand not being able to go for another overseas trip until June, I was really this close to booking a solo flight to Penang.

As a result, this trip was really a very impromptu one, and not much planning went into it, though I did dedicate one CNY night to researching what and where we should eat. In fact, it was so impromptu that we both did not even start packing until the night before we were due to fly off. ._.

Saturday 16/02/2019 (Day 1)
Since our flight would take off at 11.45 am, I figured that by waking up at 7.30 am, I would have more-than-enough time to reach the airport at 9.45 am. I ended up reaching slightly later though because my contact lenses were causing my eyes so much discomfort that I was literally tearing whenever I tried to open my eyes. T_T After 15 minutes of extreme discomfort, I decided to take them out and wear my spectacles instead, hence the delay.

Travelling during a weekend on the public transport was a lot less stressful, and the journey was made easier when my luggage was really light. I managed to get seats throughout my 1h 15m ride, which was nice.

Grumpy, for once, arrived really early though. After checking in our luggages, we headed over to McDonald's and shared a Big Breakfast Deluxe meal before clearing immigration.

Brekkie for two, since we both are trying to lose weight.

After boarding the plane, I KO-ed after that, as it was a budget flight and there was nothing much I could do due to the lack of in-flight amenities. The flight was really full though, so Grumps and I couldn't sit together. Thankfully he was in the row behind mine though, so it still wasn't too bad.

We reached Penang slightly after an hour, but were kept in the plane for quite awhile as there was nobody manning the aerobridge LOL.

Grumps got a SIM card from Digi, and I proceeded to leech on his hotspot thereafter. After booking a Grab, we headed to Hotel NEO+, where we would be staying for the next 2 nights. The place was very much bigger than our last hotel stay in Taipei, so thank God!

As we were rather hungry, we headed over to Padang Brown food centre for some lunch. Our Grab driver was also really friendly, and gave us a list of food to try from that food centre as well too, on top of the research I had done.

This yong tau foo was highly recommended on blogs, and I do recommend this too! The ingredients were really fresh and handmade. Of course, I had to get some pig intestines, and the intestines did taste clean! I got this with dong fen, which was recommended by our Grab driver. This cost us RM 17 though, a tad expensive by Malaysia's standard, but the portion was huge and I shared this with Grumps.

The famous popiah which was also highly recommended by food blogs. Grumps ordered 2 and these cost RM 4.80, which I thought was a great deal 'cos the popiahs contained crab meat in them! However, this was a lot "wetter" than the Singapore popiahs I have had, so while they tasted good, I still prefer Singapore's popiah better.

How can we not eat char kway teow (they spell it as "char koay teow" in Penang though) when we're in Penang? While this wasn't "famous", both Grumps and I thought that it was still good!

Our Grab driver recommended that we get this too, and this was really a good recommendation! Grumps got the nutella flavoured one, which I felt was quite overpowering, but the peanut with brown sugar that I had chosen was really good! Regretted sharing it with Grumpy LOL.

We had wanted to walk over to Gemas Road roti canai, but it was a failed trip because while we had known that they would only open from 5.30 pm onwards, we ended up finishing our lunch very much earlier than expected, so we had a lot of time to kill. Moreover, it was quite a nightmare walking to Gemas Road from Padang Brown because of the lack of pedestrian pathways and traffic lights. The roti canai stall was also located in the middle of ulu housing estates and I definitely wouldn't have walked down those stretch of houses if it was nighttime. Creepy af lol.

Feeling pretty drained by the hot and humid weather, we just decided to head back to civilisation and booked another Grab ride to Times Square, only to be sorely disappointed by the state the shopping centre was in. In fact, with the exception of 1st Avenue, the rest of the shopping centres around our hotel (Komtar and Prangin) all looked like ghost towns, with the buildings looking extremely dilapidated-looking and most of the shops were shuttered.

Fat pig bought himself ayam goreng from McDonald's, 'cos he said that this can't be found in SG. This was really spicy though it was quite good. Grumpy called this "life-changing", but fat boi finds anything sinful "life-changing". *rolls eye*

Hot die, so bought bbt, but found this still rather sweet though.

Much hype over this pancake franchise endorsed by Jay Chou, even in Singapore.

So we went for the safe option aka egg and scallion pancake... And oh gosh, I can understand why people like it so much! The pancake was really crispy without being overly dry. The scallion and egg went really well together. I'd totally buy this again.

Damn thirsty, so bbt from Cha Time this time round.

There honestly wasn't much for us to do, so we decided to head over to Presgrave street for dinner, where the night hawkers were. The place was really very crowded, and since we were still rather full from the tea-break we had just now, we didn't order many things, just a bowl of chendol, some friend tau kwa and a plate of oyster omelette, which contained so many small oysters omo! Cholesterol overloading in process. ._.

Only managed to take a picture of the chendol, because I was so tired that I didn't bother taking pictures of the rest of the food.


Night hawkers plying their trades.

We headed back to our hotel after dinner and had a nice good shower after being out in the hot and humid weather.

I KO-ed quite early though, partly due to me waking up early for my flight, and also because I had a slight headache due to me wearing my spectacles for a prolonged period of time.

Sunday 17/02/2019 (Day 2)
I woke up at around 8.45 am, feeling a lot more refreshed and better than last night. Grumps said that he was woken up every now and then by the noises made by drunk people at the street level, but was amazed that I still managed to sleep throughout. ._. I guess I was really tired lol. But honestly, sound-proofing was damn bad at this hotel, because I totally got what Grumpy meant. In my waking hours, I could actually hear people making a ruckus clearly on the ground floor, when our room was on the 17th floor. Damn scary leh.

We both washed up and went down for breakfast, and the best thing was that they had an egg station. I got myself a nice and fluffy omelette, which was really delicious.

I love my eggs so much!

After breakfast, we took a Grab down to Bangkok Lane's mee goreng, which was also highly recommended by many food blogs and an ex-colleague.

We shared this plate of mee goreng. Their mee goreng was more "wet" than I had expected, and it was a mish-mash of fried noodles, potatoes, cuttlefish and vadai. While it was nice, it was really spicy af as well, so for me, I'd probably not come all the way down to eat it again.

We dropped by The Chocolate Boutique as its sign touted it as a museum. We went into the area with anticipation, but left severely disappointed as it wasn't a museum AT ALL. It was just a mere chocolate shop and the so-called guide was just basically telling us how much this and that type of chocolate cost, which we of course could see with our own eyes. Anyway, the chocolates did taste cheap, so after the half-assed "guidance", we left without buying anything.

We then walked to Gurney, where we took respite from the heat at a Coffee Bean before cabbing down to where the street art was located. Contrary to what I had thought, the various street arts were actually scattered across the area and not just located in a single alley. We had to actually use Google Maps in order to suss out where these photogenic spots were.

Grumpy Cat with a cat.

Street hawker, an everlasting sight in the streets of Penang.

Kids playing with basketball.

Hi there!

Ah mah, I want food too!

I thought that this photo turned out really nice though.

We dropped by China House for some afternoon tea. This place apparently was really crowded, and many of the customers were actually tourists. This cafe is famous for being the longest cafe in Penang, but as it was really crowded, I couldn't really appreciate it much, but one thing for sure that stood out was that they had an insane selection of cakes! ._.

Grumpy's longan and cucumber drink was weird af, but my pink lemonade was really refreshing! Perfect for the hot weather!

This was just only part of the cakes they had on sale that day. The cafe was too crowded for Grumps to take a proper picture of it.

We got this early grey chocolate cake to share. I had read several reviews on TripAdvisor saying that this cafe was overrated, so I had kept my expectations low, but this cake was really good though. The early grey cream tasted clearly of early grey and didn't taste too cloying, while the chocolate cake itself was really moist and fragrant. Yummy!

After that, we walked over to the Clan Jetties of Penang, which was a few minutes walk from where we were. The whole place, while swarmed with tourists, did look really serene though.

Ferries by the jetty.

Vast expanse of the sea.

Since we had nothing much left to do, Grumps decided that we both should get ourselves a massage, and after much researching, he decided on Imperial Thai Massage Centre. We took a Grab there as usual, and got ourselves the 60-minute foot massage alongside with a 30-minute head and shoulder massage. This cost us only RM 138 each.

Our foot bath, where they had rubbed some foot salt in order to exfoliate our feet. So ticklish, but so shiok!

The massage was really shiok, especially for the foot massage, which felt very much-needed as we had wlked so much during this trip. As I did not have a foot massage in such a long while, the massage felt really ticklish to me, and was bordering on being slightly painful. However, my 30-minute head and shoulder massage felt really painful to me. At times, I had felt like telling my masseur to be less forceful, but was so afraid that she would "slacken" off, so I decided not to mention my discomfort to her.

I ended up with a rather sore neck thereafter, and Grumps could see red marks on my neck. x_X

It was past 6 pm once we were done with our massages, so we decided that it was time for dinner. We took a Grab back to Chulia Street (where the street art is).

Not my first time eating by the streets, but this was still a novelty for me. The whole experience was really very authentic, though the hawkers were quarreling and scolding each other in Cantonese. Hahaha, what an experience.

Assam laksa was delicious too, although this place wasn't recommended anywhere for assam laksa.

I don't usually fancy this style of wanton mee, and very much prefer the HK-style, but surprisingly, this was quite delicious! The seasoning was tasty and not as "jelat" as the other renditions that I have tasted in Singapore.

Chee cheong fun... Tasted quite normal, but then again, this isn't my favourite style. I prefer the Cantonese style whereby chee cheong fun is drenched in light soy sauce instead. Canto here hello!

The muah chee was really delicious though. It was so smooth and velvety, and though there was a slight salty aftertaste, Grumps and I agreed that this was one of the best muah chee we have eaten!

We went to find the famous chendol stall, but it was closed by the time we reached.

One last sweet picture before we left. Not Grumpy and I though lol.

As it was still rather early, we just whiled away our time exploring the area near our hotel and the Goma departmental store located just opposite our hotel, before finally retiring for the night.

We just missed the Sunday market by 2 hours! D; But this place did indeed look very chill.

Monday 18/02/2019 (Day 3)
We both woke up quite late, so by the time we were ready to leave, the hotel breakfast was already over. Too bad I didn't get to eat the last of my omelette boohoohoo. Grumps was adamant about eating nasi lemak before leaving Malaysia, so he decided that we should go to Ali Nasi Lemak for breakfast.

Wah so much sambal slathered on it, but this was quite shiok! Grumps got the cuttlefish and sotong nasi lemak, and added in ikan bilis, so this whole thing came up to RM 2.20. It was really cheap though, but the portion was small lah.

Grumps had this 3-layer tea too, which comprised of gula melaka, milk and tea. A rather unique combination I would say.

Of course, I couldn't leave Penang without trying their best-selling Penang char koay teow (CKT), so I had purposely slotted in a trip to Tiger CKT. And oh gosh, this was really one of the best plates of CKT I have ever had.

Since we cannot get to eat duck eggs in Singapore, I paid RM 8 for this plate of CKT with duck egg in it. The plate of CKT was really very delicious, with strong wok hei and the creamy duck egg making this plate really so shiok! Grumps was tempted to order one more plate, but since we both are watching our weight, we reluctantly decided against it LOL.

We then walked over to Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul since it was closed when we were there yesterday, However, due to the hot weather, our chendol melted really quickly, so perhaps that was why I felt that it wasn't as shiok as I had anticipated it to be.

Our sorry bowl of melted chendol lol. Perhaps because it melted too fast, I did not really taste the richness of the coconut milk and everything tasted quite diluted to me. The red beans though, were really good! I don't like red beans (with the exception of azuki red beans), but I surprisingly enjoyed the red beans here a lot!

Rojak which we didn't finish in the end, because we were just too stuffed and this was literally drenched in sauce. Too jelat for us.

Since Grumps wanted to buy his Famous Amos cookies (they're a lot cheaper in Malaysia as compared to Singapore), we took another Grab ride to Gurney, and wow, now I regret staying in Georgetown LOL. The shopping centres in Gurney (namely Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon) were so much newer and looked a lot cleaner than those in Georgetown! Ah, we were just so pleased not to be walking in run-down malls anymore! Besides his Famous Amos cookies, we bought some packets of Eureka popcorn as well. ;)

A must-eat whenever I'm in Malaysia, because it's just so expensive back in Singapore!

A damn chio and open-concept bookstore in Paragon! Reminds me a lot of the COEX library in Seoul too.

Grumps and I decided to have a late lunch at around 2 pm, and after much deliberation, we decided on Canton-i. Fatty Grumps wanted to eat 4 Fingers and Kyochon Chicken at first. =X

I never had any luck with Canton-i's egg tarts whenever I'm in JB, so I finally got my first taste of Canton-i's egg tarts here in Penang!! The egg tarts did taste good, but I guess I'm just forever biased towards Tai Cheong's lol. My next favourite egg tart is from Tong Heng. ;P

Grumpy with my barley date drink and his wintermelon tea. My barley date drink tasted weird though; it was kinda sourish. ;(

This XO fried carrot cake was dope omg?! Both Grumps and I have eaten this numerous times whenever we are in JB, but omg, somehow, the rendition here in Penang tasted so much better?! We honestly thought that the JB one was already quite good, but this one takes the cake lol (pardon the pun). The carrot cake here tasted really more "radish-y"?? Anyway, this was just so good that I felt tempted to order one more, but I need to cut down on my food portions. T_T

Grumpy's wanton mein. The char siu was so succulent and the wantons were yums!

Grumpy's favourite prawn beancurd was super yummy too. I took only one though 'cos fatty is fatty.

Since we still had time, we headed over to this "Star Coffee" at Lebuh Noordin, which so happened to be located near our hotel. Grumps drinks quite a bit of coffee, and so far, the coffee he has had (and I have sampled) all tasted rather sourish. Fortunately, this coffee didn't taste sour at all, and was probably the best cup of coffee Grumps and I had tasted in Penang.

Very unassuming, as with all other hawkers plying their trade along the streets.

Can you spot the star on top of the foam?

With this, we headed back to our hotel, collected our luggage and proceeded to the airport. We reached the airport rather early as we were afraid of the long queues at the immigration counter, but guess what? It was the emptiest immigration I have ever seen LOL. Think next time I don't want go JB liao, just go Penang sua. The immigration queues at JB are usually so horrendous that it makes me think twice about going to JB for a day trip lol, 'cos one can spend at least 1.5 hours just standing in the queue zZz...

We landed back in Singapore at around 8.20 pm, where I shared an Aston dinner with Grumps, before we headed back home.

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Thanks for always accommodating to my whims Grumpy Cat. This Penang trip was really an impromptu one because I felt that I wouldn't be able to survive 5 months without going anywhere new, but still, Grumps tagged along 'cos I really wanted to visit Penang for the longest time ever.

Really looking forward to our next trip in June heehee, although we had plans to go there in autumn instead, but oh well.

Until then, it's mugging time for me. *sobs*