Penang Laksa And Cendol @ Joo Hooi Cafe

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, April 30, 2014 | Published in


Penang is a food paradise to many people. So during my 4-day trip to Penang last year, I made sure that I get to taste as much of the yummy Penang food as possible.

Weeks (or was it months?) before I left for Penang, I had already booked Penang food blogger Ken to bring me around on a food hunt. He also invited lifestyle blogger Constance Ann to join in which was really a good thing, since 3 people would definitely be more fun than two!

After checking in at Evergreen Laurel Hotel at Gurney Drive (will blog about this hotel in a future post) on my second day in Penang, Ken (and Ann) came over in his car to fetch me for our food hunt.

They brought me to Joo Hooi Cafe at Penang Road to try the Penang Laksa and cendol.

The asam laksa was yummy! The soup had a good mixture of spiciness and sourness and I could find a lot of fish meat in it! But what differentiate this asam laksa with those in KL is that spoon of thick dark shrimp paste they provided with every bowl!

Although Joo Hooi is called a cafe, it's really more like a normal coffee shop with no air conditioning. Beside the shop along Lebuh Keng Kwee lane were two famous cendol stalls facing each other. If not mistaken, the stall beside Joo Hooi Cafe is known as Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol and the other stall is simply called Penang Road Famous Cendol.

I was not sure from which stall we ordered our cendol from, but my bowl of cendol tasted really good!

Unfortunately, my tummy was not feeling very good that afternoon, so I decided not to finish up my bowl of cendol. It's OK, I will definitely return in future to try out the cendol from both stalls so that I can make a comparison!

Most people would stand by the stalls to eat their cendol, but if you are willing to pay extra, you can have the cendol inside Joo Hooi Cafe. I did not know how much extra we paid, but I think it's way better to have our cendol inside than standing outside in the hot sun, don't you agree?

Having an upset tummy while on a food hunt was really bad timing but surprisingly, I still managed to eat quite a lot of stuffs that day without any ill effects! And for that, I have to thank both Ken and Ann for bringing me to all those yummy food places and accompanying me the whole day!

Ok, that's the three of us doing a selfie at the floating temple which we visited later. Haha! As usual, I have to pixelate my face to keep myself anonymous. Sorry, but I need to remain private! :)

It was my first time meeting these two bloggers and all I can say is, it had been fun. Do brace yourself for more Penang food posts coming up!

My Visit To Fort Cornwallis

Posted by : foongpc | Friday, April 25, 2014 | Published in


Fort Cornwallis is a famous historical tourist attraction in George Town, Penang.

During my second day in Penang, I visited this fort which is the largest standing fortress in Malaysia. It is located near the Esplanade and next to the Victoria Memorial Clock. Some people may think it's not a place worth visiting, but I feel that I must visit it at least once in my life.

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If it is your first time in Penang, you should also give Fort Cornwallis a visit. Entrance fee is only RM2.

By the way, Fort Cornwallis is named after the late 18th century Governor-General in Bengal, Charles Cornwallis. The design of the fort is therefore similar to other British forts in India, albeit at a smaller scale.

Originally built by Captain Francis Light for the British military, Fort Cornwallis however, has never engaged in any battle.

This is the entrance drawbridge to Fort Cornwallis. It was originally surrounded by a moat as most forts are, but the moat is no longer there. Perhaps they have covered it up for some reason.

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In the distance, I could see the Fort Cornwallis Lighthouse. It is the second oldest lighthouse in Malaysia - second only to the lighthouse in Tanjung Tuan, Melaka. Interestingly, the lighthouse resembles a ship's mast, and it is the only lighthouse in Peninsular Malaysia not serving any navigational purpose.

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Inside the fort, I could see an old white colour building - it's the Gunpowder Magazine.

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I went into the Gunpowder Magazine to take a snapshot.

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The steps leading back outside.

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There were several bronze cannons lining the perimeter of the fort.

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But the largest and most famous cannon is the Dutch cannon called Sri Rambai. Some locals believe that this cannon possess magical powers - women who place flowers on the barrel will improve their fertility!

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Standing there, I could imagine firing this cannon at ships coming in from the sea.

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Another smaller cannon inside the fort.

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I walked towards the lighthouse but it was all locked up. I thought I could climb the lighthouse but I guess I was not in luck.

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A statue of Captain Francis Light in honour of the man who built Fort Cornwallis.

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There was a tourist information kiosk, a history gallery and a souvenir centre here but I did not take any photos of them.

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I had no regrets visiting Fort Cornwallis, but climbing the steps up to that lighthouse would have made my visit more complete.

Walking The Streets Of George Town (Part 2)

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | Published in


Continued from Part 1

Walking along Love Lane, I soon reached the junction of Farquhar Street. On my right I saw a church. It's called the Church of the Assumption.

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Crossing over to Light Street, I saw the Convent Light Street on my left. It is reportedly the oldest girls' school in Penang and in Malaysia.

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This is the Court Buildings along Light Street. By the way, Light Street was named after Captain Francis Light, the founder of George Town.

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Further along Light Street, I reached the Logan Memorial, a monument erected in the memory of James Richardson Logan.

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James Logan was a lawyer who championed the rights of the non-Europeans in Penang.

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This is the Supreme Court building on the opposite side of the road.

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Leaving the Logan Memorial behind, I turned left into Jalan Padang Kota Lama.

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Here, I saw the Town Hall building which faces an open field known as Padang Esplanade.

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Next to the Town Hall, I saw this weird looking structure.

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The structure, made from bamboo poles, resembles a ship. Or does it look more like a wicker basket?

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I soon learnt that it was an art installation called The Theatre Of Ships by Indonesian artist Joko Dwi Avianto. It celebrates the glorious past of theatres and the performing arts in Penang. It's also part of the George Town Festival 2013 project to commemorate the inscription of George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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I took a closer look at the bamboo structure. Quite unique looking, no?

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It was actually built over the City Hall's canteen between Town Hall and City Hall.

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Do take note that this structure may be gone by now as these photos were taken during my Penang trip back in July 2013. Any Penangnites reading this know if it's still there?

Next to the Theatre Of Ships is the City Hall of George Town. There seemed to be some kind of renovation going on.

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In front of the City Hall building is the gate entrance to Padang Esplanade.

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MPPP stands for Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang or Municipal Council Of Penang

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Nearby at the Esplanade, is the Cenotaph, a war memorial erected by the British to remember those who died in World War I.

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Did you know that the Cenotaph was destroyed in World War II and was rebuilt after the war?

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I walked along the esplanade enjoying the sea view and the waves lapping on the shore.

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The weather was a little hazy. And I thought I had escaped the haze in Kuala Lumpur!

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A solitary boat in the sea.

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I visited the nearby Fort Cornwallis, a tourist attraction in Penang, but since that will involve a whole post by itself, I will not mention about it here.

After leaving Fort Cornwallis, I walked towards Pengkalan Weld. I passed by the Swettenham Pier.  It is the berthing place for cruise liners that call on George Town.

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I could not believe I walked the whole stretch of Pengkalan Weld! Well, not really the whole stretch but a big part of the stretch. Soon, I saw another pier - the Church Street Pier.

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Built in 1897, the Church Street Pier is a heritage pier.

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Beside the pier is a Nyonya and Hainanese cuisine restaurant. Did not step into this restaurant - wonder if it's any good.

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There is a marina connected to the Church Street Pier - it's known as Tanjong City Marina. However, I think it was no longer in use. Wonder what happened to it.

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Opposite Tanjong City Marina is Wisma Kastam, previously known as the Malayan Railway Building.

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There is a very interesting story behind this building and it's something to do with feng shui. It appeared that when the British built the Malayan Railway Building, it blocked the sea view from the Kuan Yin Teng Temple, thus disrupting the prosperity of the Chinese community at that time.

And to make things worse, a clock tower was built atop the building facing the temple. This was a very inauspicious sign to the Chinese, as if telling them that their time is up!

This green colour building attracted my attention. It's Wisma MTT which houses the income tax office if I am not mistaken.

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It was almost time to check out of my hotel so I had to stop admiring any more buildings in George Town and rush back. I did not know how I ended up at Magazine Road, but there I was, taking snapshot of a row of shophouses.

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No, I was not leaving Penang. It was just my second day remember? I had to check out of my current hotel at Kinta Lane and check in to another hotel at Gurney Drive for a change of scenery. LOL!

It had been an enjoyable morning walking around the streets of George Town. There were still a lot of places that I had not covered. If I ever visit Penang in future, I will not hesitate to do this all over again!

Walking The Streets Of George Town (Part 1)

Posted by : foongpc | Thursday, April 17, 2014 | Published in


I spent the early morning of my second day in Penang walking the streets of George Town.

My intention was to go on a hunting spree for those famous Penang street art like the murals and steel rod sculptures. But along the way, I also saw a lot of interesting buildings and landmarks in this charming capital city of Penang.

Starting from Hotel Sentral where I stayed, I walked along Kinta Lane and turned left to Macalister Road. I passed by this grey coloured church along Macalister Road.

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St. Paul's Church is a Chinese language Anglican church. It has a 5-storey annex on its right.

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Directly opposite this church is another church, known as Church Of Our Lady Sorrow.

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Situated just next to a national Chinese primary school, this church is a Roman Catholic church for Chinese speaking parishioners. Beside the church is a tall bell tower.

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Walking further I reached the junction of Macalister Road, Dato Kramat Road and Penang Road. Here, I saw the GAMA Supermarket and Departmental Store.

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I did not go in as it was definitely not opened yet (it's only about 8.30am) but who would want to go shopping inside a building in the early hours of the morning? Interestingly, GAMA is said to be the first supermarket cum departmental store in Penang, starting its business way back in 1980. I wonder how many renovations they did since then?

Across Macalister Road from GAMA is the famous Komtar building but I did not take any photos. This photo below is the one I took the evening before when I was passing by on my way to Prangin Mall to try out the Fooyo fried ice yogurt.

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Did you know that this 65-storey building was once (very briefly) the tallest building in Asia?

But that was only during the height of its construction. By the time it was completed, the title was taken over by Korean Life Insurance Building in Seoul, Korea. But Komtar was still taller than any building in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, at that time. I guess Penangnites must be pretty proud back then. LOL!

After passing Komtar, I continued to walk along Magazine Road (what a funny name for a road, don't you think?) and reached First Avenue Mall.

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I had on the evening before, went up to the eighth floor of this mall to visit the open air balcony for a panoramic view of George Town, but to my disappointment, the doors to the balcony were locked. Any Penangnite reading this knows why were visitors not allowed to go to the open air balcony?

From First Avenue Mall, I turned left into McNair Street and continued straight to Carnarvon Street before seeing this interesting building on my right. It houses the office of George Town World Heritage Inc., a company that was set up to manage, monitor and promote George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Located at Acheen Street (or Lebuh Acheh), which is within the World Heritage Site core zone, this nice looking building was previously known as Penang Heritage Centre.

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One of the oldest mosques in Penang can be found at Acheen Street. This mosque is called the Acheen Street Mosque or more popularly known as Masjid Lebuh Acheh. Built by an Acehnese clan leader, the mosque is also known by the name of Mesjid Jamek and Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh.

Next to the mosque is Ben's Vintage Toy Museum.

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I wanted to enter the museum but it only opens at 10am so it was way too early! Oh well, I guess I had to be contented just looking from the outside.

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I could see some of the toys on display at the opened windows on the first floor.

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Maybe I will visit this museum on my next visit to Penang.

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As I turned into Cannon Square, I saw a row of charming looking shophouses.

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In between, I saw the entrance gate to the Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, one of the most amazing Chinese clan temples in Penang. Unfortunately, it was not opening hours yet, so again I had to be contented just looking from outside.

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However, I managed to visit this clan temple the next day so I will blog about it in a separate post.

This is the road where I spotted the famous 'boy standing on a chair and reaching up' mural by Ernest Zacharevic. Can you see it?

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The road is called Cannon Street and I will always remember it because of that landmark minaret that belongs to the Acheen Street Mosque in the background. It was said that a cannon was fired during the Penang riots in 1867 and passed right through the minaret!

Read More > Discovering The Murals Of George Town 

There were more interesting looking shophouses along Cannon Street.

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I was attracted to two dragon carvings atop the roof of a building.

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A closer shot of the dragons.

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I was quite sure that the building must be a temple of some sort and I was right! It was the Yap Kongsi Temple.

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Located at the corner of Cannon Street and Armenian Street, this green coloured temple has some very exquisitely carved dragon pillars.

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A close shot of the dragons from the front.

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I did not enter the temple though. My main priority that morning was to hunt for murals before the sun gets too hot, so temples would have to wait. Haha!

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Is Penang the only state in Malaysia that juices the nutmeg fruit? I had come to Penang to try their nutmeg juice, so when I saw this sign outside a shop advertising their home-cooked nutmeg juice, I was excited. But of course, it was not opened yet at that hour!

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No worries though as I got the chance to try Penang's nutmeg juice during my trip and even bought some home! : )

Walking along Armenian Street, I saw this very beautiful arch leading to a narrow passageway.

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It was the entrance to the Cheah Kongsi Temple or the Cheah Si Sek Tek Tong.

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I love the intricate and ornamented carvings of this arch!

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But I soon discovered that the front part of the temple is actually facing Beach Street. There seemed to be some kind of renovation going on.

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This is the beautiful and grand front gate of the Cheah Kongsi facing Beach Street, with two lion guardians at the sides.

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Soon I found myself at Victoria Street (Lebuh Victoria) and saw this Ming Xiang Tai pastry shop. Almost wanted to go in and get myself some cakes and egg tarts but I did not. Why I did not I could not remember. Maybe too busy searching for murals to bother about food? LOL!

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Hunting for the murals soon led me to Queen Street and it was here that I stumbled upon the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, one of the oldest Hindu temples in Penang. 

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Look at those intricate carvings on the gopuram - the tower above the front entrance. How many deity statues can you see on the gopuram?

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The front entrance was also flanked by two guardians. What animals do you think they are?

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This temple is located at what is known as Penang's Little India.

I did not have time to enter the temple as there were still so many places I needed to visit. And don't forget I was still on my mural-hunting spree so everything else would have to take a backseat that morning.

But isn't it amazing that on that very morning alone, I visited two churches, a mosque, two Chinese temples and a Hindu temple?

Do not miss Part 2 as I continue to explore the charming streets of George Town!