I visited Penang, Malaysia for a few days, and it did not disappoint. I stayed in the capital city, George Town, which essentially is one big, charming UNESCO site. Everything from the architecture, to the art, to the food is influenced by Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian culture. The coolest thing about George Town was wandering aimlessly through the narrow maze of streets that were lined with Chinese shop houses, ornate temples, and the colorful domes of the cities many mosques.
The first place I checked out was the Peranakan Mansion. Beautiful, but what made it even more interesting was meeting Annie. I don’t know how old she is, but she has boundless energy. We talked for a bit, well I listened to her tell stories of how her family immigrated to Penang from China. She ended up marrying a Malay. Back in those days, when a Chinese person married a Malaysian, nether wanted to give up their identity. To deal with the problem, a new identity was created. They called themselves Baba-Nyonya. The Peranakan mansion belonged to a rich Baba.
There’s a lot of cool street art in George Town. Most of it is spread out over a couple of blocks. Some are easily found facing the street while others are tucked away in narrow alleyways. Finding them is half the fun. Like an adult Easter egg hunt.
Street food is everywhere. I had a chance to eat at one of the many hawker food courts. I ordered white curry noodles, fried ee foo noodle, and mee goreng ayam. As much as I wanted to try that rice dish being prepared, I couldn’t fit another bite into my stomach. My favorite was the mee goreng.
I had a great time in Penang, and I’m glad I made a point to visit. I highly recommend the small island.