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All about Penang & more

Penang today is very much an amalgam of the old and the new – a bustling port, a heritage city and an industrial base. Perhaps it has more to offer per square mile than any other place in the world. For sheer variety of locales, cultures and foods, Penang is hard to beat. Here are stories about Penang and more.

A sensationally divine 6-course dinner at Salsas Penang

Salsas Penang © Adrian Cheah

Right off the bat, I have to tell you that I am going to be biased. David Kaw is a close friend of the family for ages and we are all huge fans of his culinary creations. Too many birthday dinners, wedding anniversaries and special occasions have been celebrated at Salsas Penang. And every time, David has taken great care of us making each event memorable.

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Penang's famous Kim Leng Loh Mee – a magical, gloopy bowl of wonder

Kim Leng Loh Mee © Adrian Cheah

The constant stream of customers to Kim Leng Loh Mee in Perak Road indicates its popularity among locals. Located at Joo Huat Restaurant, this famous lor mee stall is only a stone's throw away from the bustling Perak Road morning market.

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Jungles that hide Penang’s forgotten colonial dams

 forgotten colonial dams © Adrian Cheah

The dams of Cherok To’ Kun and Bukit Seraya continue to stand amid encroaching forests in secret testimony to the dedication of their builders and operators from a bygone era.

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Learn how to make authentic Nyonya Jiu Hu Char

Jiu Hu Char © Adrian Cheah

“Jiu hu” is Hokkien for “cuttlefish” and “char” means “fry”. Thus, Jiu Hu Char means “fried cuttlefish”. Although the shredded cuttlefish is the star ingredient (providing a potent umami flavour), there is more in that dish than just cuttlefish. The ingredients for this popular Nyonya offering consist of jiu hu si (dried shredded cuttlefish), yambean, carrots, cabbage, pork belly, mushrooms, onions and garlic.

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Sutera Restaurant's oriental offerings take flight

Sutera Restaurant © Adrian Cheah

When you witness the beginning of a new venture, it is with optimism. Success will follow suit if everything is organised well and executed to the best of one's abilities.

The launch of Sutera Restaurant holds great potential with a winning menu, scrumptious offerings and eye-arresting presentations. The conducive dining deco even has a beautiful mural of a larger-than-life peacock perch on a branch overlooking its diners.

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Sri Mariamman, the temple of an ancient goddess

Sri Mariamman © Adrian Cheah

Penang has a large community of Indians, broadly divided into those from the North (Bengalis, Sindhis, Gujerati, etc.) and the South (Tamils). It is not surprising then that the Penang landscape is dotted with Hindu temples, from the large and ornate to the unostentatious makeshift huts and lean-to's.

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The good ol' classic taste of Penang's Hokkien mee

Hokkien mee © Adrian Cheah

In 1989, Mr Lim Chong Beng, the only son in the family, took over the family Hokkien mee business from his parents when they were too old to carry on. A bowl was then selling for a mere 80 cents.

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Hachiban Izakaya, more than just a typical Japanese pub

Hachiban Izakaya © Adrian Cheah

Located at Jalan Kelawai, Hachiban Izakaya serves more than just sake and pub grub. "Hachiban" means "No. 8" and "Izakaya" stands for a casual venue to chill out after work for drinks, similar to that of an Irish pub or a Spanish tapas bar.

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Middle Eastern offerings at Halab in Chulia Street

Halab, Penang © Adrian Cheah

Halab, tucked in a bungalow along the bustling Chulia Street in the heart of George Town offers authentic Middle-eastern cuisine. It is no surprise that the Syrian and Arab communities in George Town frequent Halab, forming their base clientele alongside Penangites and tourists visiting the island.

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Ice kacang, Penang's all-time ubiquitous but favourite dessert

ice kacang © Adrian Cheah

Ice kacang, the mother of all Malaysian desserts, is also known as ang tau s'ng (Hokkien for iced red beans) or ABC (ais batu campur in Malay). Although “kacang” means beans in Malay, this jubilant offering contains more than just ice and beans. Brimming in a bowl, the colourful concoction is made of a tower of shaved ice swirled with a mixture of red beans, leong fan (grass jelly or cincau in Malay), creamy sweet corn, chewy tapioca pearls and translucent attap chee (nipa palm fruit), smothered with at least two types of syrup and evaporated milk. You can further top it with a scoop of ice cream (especially durian, making it even more sinful).

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Edible masterpieces at La Vie en Rose Pâtisserie 

La Vie En Rose Pâtisserie © Adrian Cheah

If the name of this pâtisserie sounds familiar, you must have recognised it from Édith Piaf's signature rendition of La Vie en Rose in 1947. This popular song has been covered by a plethora of different celebrities throughout the decades. Although it literally means "life in pink", it is often interpreted as "life in rosy hues", "life through rose-coloured glasses" or "life in happy hues".

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A luxurious omakase dinner at Maple Palace

Maple Palace © Adrian Cheah

Dining at Maple Palace has always been a satisfying experience. The elegant 6-course omakase dinner celebrating my 54th birthday was such a delightful encounter. Lavished with priced ingredients, the flavours of the scrumptious feast were top-notch!

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