lundi, août 31, 2009

Meeting Friends and Penang Food Galore

Mom, CL & Babies at Snake Temple in Penang

On this trip back I got to meet a bunch of really nice fellow bloggers, namely SIG from Daily Affairs (aka Queen of the daily Bento), Dutchess from Lekker (just as regal in person), Petite Fleur from Rojak Rendezvous (her cute daughter is a mini-her :-)) and Edith from Precious Moments (we got to taste her new Bangkok Kaya Cake!). It wasn't easy getting the dinner organised and I have helped the least since I didn't have internet connection.

Dinner was seafood at Hua Yu Wee and I really liked the fact that we got to eat in a colonial-style bungalow. Only damper was Baby Girl not feeling well for some reason and therefore spending the whole evening whinging and not eating or playing with the other children who got on amazingly well with each other.

I also got to meet a few Singaporean ladies married to Italians and living in different parts of Italy. Funny of course that we should meet up in Singapore - it being more difficult to meet up in Italy. Lana had been a real dear, very warm and enthusiastic and I'm sorry I couldn't collect the foodstuff she got me due to lack of time.

But in my 2 months in Singapore, the few people I bumped into by chance were the lady bloggers Dutchess and SIG, and Shirlina from the Italy group - and all at Wisma Atria. Why didn't I bump into any of my friends from Primary school up to University or even my former colleagues when Singapore is so small? But wait, I did bump into my former University lecturer Dr Cibulka one morning and that was all the more amazing since he now lives in the Middle East and was only in Singapore on holiday.

View of Georgetown from our hotel room

Tianhou (Heavenly Queen) Temple near the hotel

The fattest meet-up took place however in Penang. I gave up my initial idea to go Peranakan in Melaka because Brother C and CL have returned to Penang and had dangled an invitation before they left Modena. What better time to visit the food paradise when you know people who know about their food? Plus the Babies were really excited about meeting up with JM again and I am, as you all know, an indulgent mom.

A colonial building in Penang

Flew Tiger and spent 4 nights in 2 different hotels (Cititel Penang and Copthorn Orchid Penang) so that we could have a view of both the city centre and the beach. Must say thank God CL drove us in and out because it didn't look as if they had much public transportation on the island. By the way, Penang is a Unesco World Heritage City and for that you can enjoy the sight of beautiful colonial buildings everywhere. There is this former school that is now lying in ruins and I had visions of restoring it and making it my home...and me lounging about in my East India Company cotton kebaya tops. Which reminded me that I've forgotten to buy a few of those kebaya pins to fasten them with.

The hawker centre

Part of the spread

If I had to sum up what I did in Penang in one word : Makan. Brother C tried to bring me up to the beautiful coastline filled with boutiques and restaurants but had to make a u-turn because I was carsick. We had to stay on the lowlands - and eat. The famous Penang Char Kway Teow, Wan Ton Mee, Japanese food, vegetarian and half of this big hawker centre we were brought to one evening. Assam prawns, fried oyster omelette, mee goreng, sambal clams, tim sum, prawn noodle soup (ah, the broth!), BBQ sting ray...the list goes on. I ate so much I don't think I want to see Penang for a while. Now that I think about it, it was probably part of their design :-).

View of the sea at Tanjung Bunga (from Copthorn Orchid)

After years of eating simpler and less tasty Singaporean Hawker fare (due to the health scare?), I must say that Penang food is very rich and takes some getting used to. The 1st plate of Char Kway Teow I had was really good - as were the 10 pieces of fried lard that were found in it (and I couldn't help it, ate them all!). My mom looked at the really big prawns in it and was very happy - until she remembered her coming appointment at the hospital where they'll be reviewing her cholesterol. Well, can't have everything.

Famous Penang Char Kway Teow

JM as usual blossoms everywhere she goes. She has already won prizes at school (remember she is now learning English, Chinese and Malay) and was singing away in Mandarin everytime I saw her. CL said it's because she was born in Singapore - and has kiasu-ness in her blood as such. I should have returned home to give birth to Eldest Son.

JM and the Babies in the hotel pool

It was a good trip and I must thank Brother C and CL for their hospitality once again. Please remember that pizza, pasta and parmigiano await you if you should return to Modena. Bis bald!

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