Honeymoon Part 3 – In search of the illusive ‘Penang’ Curry!
Firstly I need to apologies for such an overdue post – unfortunately I lost the notes I wrote on my honeymoon so I had to start from scratch again. (In fact, who am I kidding, my new wife ‘tidied up’ and it somehow magically ended up in the bin!) Oh well, water under the bridge….!
After such an amazing time the week before, Penang was always going to struggle to match Thailand in terms of luxury accommodation and service – but that wasn’t the attraction for me. I’m massively into geography and history, and was really excited to discover the cultural history of Penang; both from it’s more local influences to European influences from the British & Portuguese. I think it almost goes without saying that I was excited about the food, but there were two things in particular I was looking to discover.
1) Sample as much hawker food as I could get my hands on (and my stomach could take)!
2) Find (and I’ll come back to this point later!) and try the famous ‘Penang curry’ that I always seem to come across in just about ANY Malaysian / Thai restaurant in the UK
Before I got straight into trying some local food, I was keen to get out onto the streets of Georgetown sightseeing…. although it ended up being quite different to what you would expect! When we arrived at our hotel we were told that we could have a free trishaw ride around Georgetown, showcasing the local sites and culture history. Now this all sounds great – what the hotel didn’t tell us was that it was only a trishaw for 1 person (either that or we had both eaten far too much curry!). You could practically hear the driver groan as we both squeezed onto this thing! Despite it being a bit of a squash, it was an excellent experience and it was great to really learn something about where we were staying.
There is only so much sightseeing a man can do…. so next on our to do list was to eat. We were so tired that we literally went to the nearest place we could find, a little soup shack (is that the right word?) just around the corner from our hotel – I wish we could get soups this easily in the UK!
That evening we thought we would visit Gurney Drive as we’d been told by numerous people (both in Penang & elsewhere in Malaysia and Thailand) that it is the best place to sample local food…. and we weren’t disappointed! The thing that surprised me most about the stalls was the variety of food available – I think I (rather niavely) assumed there would only be variations of soup, rice and noodles…. what an idiot!
One of the best things I ate all holiday was some chicken served on pandanus leaves, although I was really suprised by the variety of the snacks, and they were pretty damn tasty too! I wasn’t surprised when I heard that many Malaysians actually travel to Penang just for the wonderful street food! As far as I was concerned – task 1 complete.
Task 2 was much harder to accomplish – by the last night I still hadn’t found the famous Penang curry that I was so desperate to try. So the search began… and I really did search everywhere! I asked locals, taxi drivers and hotel staff – they all suggested that we tried little India! We jumped in a taxi and looked at a few menu’s and none of them seemed to have the curry I was looking for, although coming from Bradford I can tell a good curry when I see one, and they were good! After over 30 minutes of searching we went for a fantastic curry – but couldn’t help leaving slightly disapointed.
Susie did rather smuggly make the point that a Penang curry in Penang would probably just be called a ‘curry’ but I wasn’t convinced. It was only when I got home and I searched on Google that I realised that the curry I was looking for was the ‘Panang curry’ – a favourite from Thailand! No I’ve had a look on the internet and can’t establish whether or not this Thai curry originates from Penang or not? I’d really appreciate it if any of you reading could shed some light on this?
Anyway, that’s all for now – in the next post I’ll be blogging about our time in the Perhentian Islands and ‘drinking tea’ in the Cameron Highlands.