I drove down early today (started at 4.30 am) but left KL only at 6.00 am. Headed into the North-South Highway via LDP. The road was clear, the mist was thick and my car was steadily chugging an average of 150 km/h northwards towards the Pearl of the Orient.
Hmm…the “Pearl of the Orient”? Of late, one sees less and less of that term being used for Penang. I wasn’t expecting much from the trip as it was quite a rush trip with us spending only 2 nights and 3 days in Sunway Hotel. The reason why me and my family went down there was because…well, just because.
We reached Penang in slighly under 4 hours (including a 30 minutes stop along one of the fine R&Rs). The thing that drive me nuts was that Penang drivers are slow. They would drive their vehicles below the speed limit and the road boundary lines mean nothing to them. It was as if the lines were there because Penangites didn’t want their roads, with gravel and tar, to sport an ubiquitous dull black look. So they painted in some lines and they have a secret conspiracy among Penangites to ignore them. For instance, consider the following situation:-
a) Motorcyclist is at my left side
b) He/She/It wants to turn right
c) He/She/It cuts in front of my car to turn right
d) Not wanting to kill him/her/it, I apply my ABS breaks and my tires screech to a halt
d) He/She/It gives you the “die-non-Penang-driver-die!” look
Besides that, Penang was good. The first thing that we did was to go for food. We went to Ayer Itam for the famous Asam Laksa stall only to be told that required another 10 minutes to be ready. Seeing that there are other stalls there as well, I finished off a bowl of Hokkien Mee. Hmm…heaven. Patiently, I went back to Asam Laksa stall and waited the remainder of the 7 minutes. When they were ready, I ordered one first, having in mind to get 2 more bowls later. When it arrived, the Asam Laksa didn’t taste as good as my memory can recall. In fact, it was rather bad. If you like the taste of Mark’s Laksa in 1U, don’t even go for the Ayer Itam Asam Laksa at all. Compared to Mark’s, it was bland, watery and frankly, quite tasteless.
Immediately after lunch, it was apparent that my mother wanted to do some shopping. She has this fixation with brooms that are sold in a particular sundry shop in Ayer Itam. If I had a bigger car, she would have purchased 10 instead of the 5 that she got.
Next, we checked into Sunway Hotel.
Now, I must say this:- if you like Penang food (as much as I do) then for your next trip to Penang, you should check into this hotel. The smorgasbord of Penang hawker food along the road is incredible! From Hokkien Mee to authentic Curry Mee (the one with the white soup and chili oil), from Char Kway Tiow (with crab meat) to Char Kway Kuk, from Pig parts porridge to Almond tea, this is the place to be!
So, total count for the day:- 1 Hokkien Mee, 1 Asam Laksa, 2 Curry Mee, 1 Char Kway Teow, 1 Almond Tea, 1 Leng Chi Kang, 2 Lor Baks, 1 Oh Chean, 1 Hum Chin Peng….hehehe!