Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Entry #43: A taste of Penang.

After four long years,
At this moment, I feel like my orthodontist just cheated my feeling.
Teeth, do you love the metal so much that you're unwilling to part from it??
Would you please be obedient and behave yourselves ?
Mommy's birthday is coming soon.
Just don't open up another hole and let them remove the metal next month okay.
Don't you feel caged under the braces?
It's time to run free.
*end of endless self talk* 

I'm back after hours and hours of sleeping in the car till my butt hurts and my back aches.
Before I start on my post, throughout this entire post please imagine that my stomach is a TANK and there is five level of fullness. Five being the highest capacity.
If you've noticed the time I posted my previous post, it was around 5 in the morning,
by 8.30am, I was abruptly woken up to get ready and then get myself into the car.
The moment I was in the car and before I even leave the Subang area, I've fallen asleep yet again until we've reached a small town called Nibong Tebal.
I didn't even bother to get down from the car when the others stopped at the rest stops to take a dump and buy fruits.
If you're unfamiliar with Nibong Tebal, it is small town before arriving at Penang.
This is one of the reasons I love to travel by car with my family and relatives you know, there's always pit stops with delicious food.

For lunch, we stopped by at Restoran Kee Heng.

After lunch we walked across the street into a small alley and among the old shophouses, opposite a casket shop sits a shop called Chop Chuan Guan that's famous for its Tau Sa Piah (Mung Bean Pastry) , Peanut candy, Sesame Sticky candy and Heong Peah (fragrant pastries) .

Through the wrinkles on their face,
you see years of knowledge,
through their skillful hands,
you see bountiful of experience,
through the taste of the pastries,
you feel fiery passion.

It's quite a popular and well established shop as I saw newspaper article featuring the shop on the walls and several tourists dropping by.
The pastries and tid bits there are all traditionally baked and fresh off the oven every day.
If you're thinking of buying these Malaysian delights, Chop Chuan Guan is definitely the place you should drop by.
I tasted the Tau Sar Piah and Peanut candy and I absolutely love it.
Sometimes Tau Sar Piah and Peanut candy can be a little too sweet but not for this one.
It taste just right and also, the Tau Sar in the Tau Sar Piah is light and airy ( in chinese we would say 很松)
 no wonder this pastry shop is a favourite among the tourists and locals.
Even I'm becoming a fan.

Chop Chuan Guan
No 80 & 81, Jalan Pengkalan Rawa, Nibong Tebal, Seberang Perai Selatan, Penang
04-593 1391

After buying our share of pastries,
we drove over to 7 village to try out their kuey teow soup.

They always say don't judge a book by its cover
and I would say I was definitely fooled by its cover
cause the food here is not really something I would shout about.

I ordered a herbal jelly ( Gui Ling Gao ) (RM2)
I don't really like it.
The texture is slightly too rough and not smooth at all.
Feels very mass produced but it's cheap so if you're feeling for herbal jelly then you could give it a try.

Mom ordered a small bowl of Kuey Teow Soup.
Had a spoonful for tasting purposes and it tasted a little bland.

Also, this plate of pork's ear.
Nothing special. Processed and not absolutely fresh.

After that, we continued with our journey to Penang.
Was originally suppose to follow behind our uncle's car to get to a place that sells Beef noodles but along the way, we lost track so we went ahead to the hotel first to wait for them.
Rested at the hotel for awhile and they arrived with cendol and ABC in hand.
Settled down for a moment in the hotel, washed up and then we headed to the Pasar Pulau Tikus.

My uncle was pretty excited about this steamboat stall and it is quite interesting.
Do you know fat one steamboat in KL?
Or those usual van steamboats that you see on the streets of KL?
It's something like that.
When I arrived at the steamboat place, I was quite surprised cause I looked at the table and saw plates and plates of sticks with fishballs, shellfish, squids, tofu and the usual steamboat food.
I was like thinking HOW CAN ANYONE FINISH THAT. Is there a black hole in their stomach or something?? This is beyond human.
And then I realized, no you don't finish everything on the table, you just eat however you want and they charge you according to sticks.
Our favourite there was the cockles.
My family is a big fan of seafoods and my cousin calls us the 'si ham' killer. LOL.
And they have a specific way of eating si ham.
You dip it into the hot pot of clear soup once.
You dip it twice.
You dip it thrice.
That's the way you eat it.
Overcook it and it wouldn't taste the same.

What makes the steamboat even better.
The wide array of yummy sauces.

There are several other stalls in the area too.
The laksa is not too bad but just mediocre.

The o' chien ( oyster omelette ), one of Penang's favourite hawker food is pretty good, I would say.
Not too much flour and starch. Have a crisp finish and not too slimy.
Some stalls in Penang, especially the ones in Gurney drive serve really slimy ones.

Another thing that I must have while i'm in Penang.

Bought my muar chee, entered the car, ate my muar chee and sleep again till we arrived at St Anne Church in Bukit Mertajam across the Penang Bridge.
This is the reason why we visit Penang once a year.

To attend mass in St Anne.
It has been a family tradition since way back when my mom was a kid.
When they lived in kampungs and they'll take a taxi all the way to Penang with their father, my grandfather.
Even with my grandfather's passing,
my mom and my aunties kept the tradition alive.

The mass ended quite late at 11.30pm.
I was supposed to catch a movie with my brother at 12.30am but I was late so I had to miss out on that.
No regrets but I do feel a little guilty for the money wasted.
That's how Day One ended.

For Day Two, I started the day with breakfast in the hotel.
I simply love hotel breakfast.
Simply because you can take a plate or several plates of omelette AGAIN and AGAIN.
After breakfast, I filled my tank to Level 2.
Then I decided to take a swim in the pool.
Five laps and my tank drop back to Level 1.
After the swim and washing up, mom and aunt came back with food in their hand from the pasar.
Had a bit of this and that.
There was some really amazing food but sadly, I have no pictures and no idea how to describe it so let's skip that okay.
But my tank level went back up to Level 2.
Left the hotel for more food in Balik Pulau.
Slept in the car along the way.
Met up our Penang relatives and had tradition Hakka Food and infamous Nutmeg drinks.
6 and 1/2 dish plus a soup.
accompanied by rice.

Tank level jumped to Level 4.

Additionally, Durian and Cempedak as desserts shoot my tank Level to its maximum Level 5.
If you're thinking if this is the end of the food journey.
Nope, it definitely didn't stop here.
Next, we stopped by at a small stall that sells Siam Laksa which my cousin have been raving to me about since the beginning of the trip.
She says it's THE BEST LAKSA IN PENANG and she intends to have two bowls of it.
I was unsure of the validity of her comment but I went there with expectations up high.
Looking at how crowded the place is, it heightened my expectations some more.
So even though my tank was practically full, I ordered a bowl too.
And what can I say?
I've ever tasted.
Even with my full tank, I can't resist it and gulped the whole bowl down.
It was flavourful and they were generous with their ingredients.
It was so amazing that by 4.30pm, they were sold out.
Imagine that.
Laksa SOLD OUT !
Quite an amazing feet, huh.

You see the metal container on the floor, they sold ten of those. 
Imagine all ten of them was originally filled with laksa soup and each one was emptied.

Looks simple but it was SO GOOD. With every spoon, it just gets better.

67, Jalan Balik Pulau,
11000 Balik Pulau, Penang

After this very satisfying bowl of Siam Laksa, we entered the car once more and right from the beginning of the car ride, I told my uncle to drive slowly cause my tank literally feels like it's in LEVEL SIX which wasn't suppose to exist.
It exceeded limit and all the food practically travelled back and forth from my stomach to my oesophagus back and forth until i finally fell asleep to have a temporary escape from the suffering of too much food.
Seriously, it's like gluttony at its best.
Arrived at the hotel and my cousin immediately urged me to head to the swimming pool with her to swim ten laps.
To make ourselves less guilty about the food we eat.
and to empty our tanks a little.
A very interesting thing happened when we were swimming,
I usually don't talk about other people much but I just had to share this story.
While we were swimming and we were at our third round,
Two girls entered the swimming pool wearing SHOWER CAPS. 
If you wear shower caps, wouldn't it float the moment you start swimming? 
That raised a question between my cousin and I and my cousin suggested that maybe, they're not swimming and they're just gonna walk in the pool. 
 Literally throughout the whole time in the pool with their arms flying in the air. 
Have you ever played plants versus zombies? 
They were practically like the zombies but instead of walking on the ground, they're in the water and they've successfully made a two person traffic light in the swimming pool.
They walk across the swimming pool horizontally whereas we swim across the swimming vertically.
When they're crossing the 'road' , it's like a red traffic light and we have to wait for the green light to swim.
Traffic jam in the swimming pool ! LOL.
It's a first. 
After the swim, we entered the sauna but had to leave to wash up before we even sweat.
By this time my tank went back down to Level 3 and then, we left for dinner at Tsunami.
Dinner was so-so and I don't have much pictures.
The one thing I remembered was that the steamed praying mantis was fresh and tasted pretty good.

At midnight, we went for a karaoke session at Gurney Plaza.
Intended to surprise my lovely cousin for her Birthday but really failed terribly.
Guess I'm really bad at surprises.
Went down to buy a cake for her from coffee bean with the excus we wanted to use the toilet while she was in the karaoke box with my brother.
Didn't answer her phone calls, she was worried and walked out of the karaoke box and was right at the entrance when we were walking in with the cake in hand. I FAIL TO THE MAX.
A lesson learnt.
If you're a close friend, you would know that I'm a real lazy texter and don't really bother with my phone much and leaves it everywhere.

Despite the surprise failing so very terribly,
You've always showered me in kindness, 
Tolerated me when I sang the same song and the same verse repeatedly throughout our Japan trip,
Always taking care of me,
Listening to all my stories,
Giving me great advices,
Being such great company every time
And being such a great cousin. 
May all the happiness rain down on you.
You're the reason why family gatherings seems so much more fun.

 Day Two ended with karaoke and a failed surprise?

I'm not elaborating on Day Three.
But I will cover this noodle shop called Kang's Beef House.

This is what you get when you order a bowl of dry beef noodles.
Of course, there's a bowl of soup with cow's stomach, beef balls and slices of beef that comes with it.

This one's a bowl of beef noodles soup.

Basically, the dry and soup one is the same thing.
The only difference is that for the dry one,
They serve the soup separately, that's all.

We ordered an additional Claypot Beef Soup.

The Claypot is much more flavorful than the normal beef noodles soup so I recommend to order the dry beef noodles and pour the Claypot beef soup over it.
I like the beef noodles here.
It's very 清 but yet the taste of the beef is there.

The Herbal Claypot Beef Soup

Smells like Bak Kut Teh but it's really beef.

Kang Beef House
474 Jalan Jelutong
11600 Penang

I've been to Penang several of times before this but this is really the first time I had so much fun.
I'm really glad I was born in a family that loves to eat as much as I do.
Did you realize throughout this whole the only two things that I do is eat and sleep?
And no, my cousin didn't manage to eat two bowls of laksa cause she was really full too.
Okay, I shall conclude my post here.
I have another one day road trip to Malacca tomorrow.
I'll write again soon !
Love, kaiwenchim.

" Three days in Penang is equivalent to Three weeks of workout " -brother.

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