Vive l'amour, May Love Live Forever .....
Gracias a la Vida !

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Famous Penang Asam Laksa at Air Itam Market

A trip to Penang is never complete without a visit to the famous Penang Asam Laksa stall at Air Itam market. Actually it is very near to Kek Lok Si Temple.

After all these years, it is not difficult to locate the same old stall. 

We call this sidewalk stall, a "Tai Pai Dong" (大牌檔) but now you can also say that this is "al fresco dining Malaysian style", yeah?

There are other stalls in Penang that serve equally good or better asam laksa, but for me, this is the Penang Asam Laksa I'll always remember and cherish. My parents brought me here. So did my school friends, colleagues, acquaintances and loved ones. How many times I had sat on the stools here and enjoyed the asam laska served through the ages. Then it was their elders, now it is the younger generation who are manning the stall. It's the memories you know.

“Famous Penang Asam Laks at Pasar Air Itam”, a copyrighted post, was written for Klang, Malaysia Daily Photo blog by Autumn Belle @ http://mymalaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com on Oct 3rd, 2012.

The secret? Besides the poached, flaked and crushed mackerel fish (ikan kembung), shrimp paste, rice noodles and tamarind in the fish broth, can you see the tiny pieces of finely chopped pinkish raw torch ginger (Etlingera eliator) flowers (bunga kantan)?

The garnishing used here are mint leaves, thinly sliced cucumber,onion and chili. I can just wallop everything inside the bowl; garnishing, noodles and soup.

This dish is sweet, salty, sour, spicy and flaming HOT! There is a burning sensation on my tongue and I will always sweat and have a running nose. Its the capsaisin in the chillies! But no problem. This asam laksa is worth the 'torture'.

The antidote? Some cold desserts of course.
Its like using iced water to douse the flames!
Cendol with red bean, kidney beans, tapioca pearls and coconut milk.

Bubur Cha-Cha
- Yam, tapioca and sweet potato dessert with coconut milk,
agar-agar jelly, sago and tapioca pearls with ice-cubes.

Iced lychee drink.

Asam laksa on the double for each person.

The Assam Laksa stall is located at the Air Itam Market Pasar Road (Beside the Air Itam Market) at 11500 Air Itam Penang. It is just 5 minutes walk from Kek Lok Si Temple.

A stall selling traditional You Tiao (油条), our Chinese styled fast food fritters.
I call these Yau Char Kway (油炸粿) and Ham Chim Peng (咸煎饼).

Young coconut juice freshly prepared by hand.

Freshly pressed sugar cane drink with no sugar added.

That's the beauty and charm of PENANG.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Drive Around Georgetown, Penang

1. Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower

Georgetown, the capital of Penang state in Malaysa was founded by Captain Francis Light on 11 August 1786. It was named after King George III (1738-1820). Certain areas of Georgetown had been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Driving along the streets of Georgetown for sightseeing is like a time travel back in history to our colonial past.

2. Georgetown Dispensary

"We are not makers of history. 
We are made by history."
... Martin Luther King, Jr. 

This building that housed the former Georgetown Dispensary was built in 1923. It is located at the junction of Beach Street and China Street. During those days when it was in operation, the main entrance with the signage of Georgetown Dispensary faced the junction. The dispensary was just behind the five-foot way of this building along Beach Street side.  

The stretch of road on the right side of this photo is China Street Ghaut. There is a side entrance with the signage "George Town Chambers". The access to the doctor's clinics and consultation rooms on the first floor and the lawyers' offices was via a staircase from this side entrance.

 “A Drive Around Georgetown, Penang”, a copyrighted post, was written for Klang, Malaysia Daily Photo blog by Autumn Belle @ http://mymalaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com on September 8th, 2012.


Signages with nostalgic designs of long ago.

Images that transcends time.

Kew Leong Tong Lim Kongsi on Ah Quee Street is a Hokkien Association for the Lim clan.
Kew Leong Tong means  "Hall of Nine Dragons". You can read more here.

5. Pinang Peranakan Mansion

"History is a relentless master. 
It has no present, only the past rushing into the future.
To try to hold fast is to be swept aside."
... John F. Kennedy

6. Pinang Peranakan Mansion

"Geography has made us neighbors. 
History has made us friends. 
Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies.
Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder"
... John F. Kennedy

7. Logan Heritage

8. Standard Chartered Bank Building Penang

9. Islamic Council Building in Lebuh Downing

10. Roundabout - Victoria Clock Tower and Pinang Metal Sculpture
Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower and Pinang Fountain, a modern metal sculpture of the betel nut, the symbol of Penang.

11. Penang Immigration Office?

12. State Assembly Building



"We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last."
... John F. Kennedy

15. High Court Building?

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
... Thomas Jefferson


If history repeats itself,
and the unexpected always happens,
how incapable must Man be of learning from experience."
...George Bernard Shaw

17. Loh Si Tong Chong Seah (Loh Clan Association)

"Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history."

18. Loh Si Tong Chong Seah (Loh Clan Association)

The moment in time: December 2010. Photos taken inside a moving car.
Can you help me identify the buildings?


My grateful thanks to Sharon for the info for pics 17 and 18.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kuan Yin Teng (Goddess of Mercy Temple) Penang

 The Goddess of Mercy Temple, also known as Kuan Yin Teng or Guan Im Teng (Guan Yin Temple) to Penangites is one of the oldest Chinese temples in Penang. The temple was built by early Chinese immigrants who came to settle down in Penang island. The foundation was laid in 1728 and the building completed in 1800. During the early days, the temple catered to the needs of the Hokkien and Cantonese community, the 2 major ethnic groups in Penang island then.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dharmikarama Burmese Temple Penang

Dharmikarama Burmese Temple is located along Burma Lane in Pulau Tikus. It is reputed to be the first ever and only Burmese temple in Malaysia. The place is rich in Burmese culture and architecture.

A stone plague on the temple grounds reads:
The temple land was purchased by Nonia Betong from George Layton for 390 Spanish Dollars. It was situated in the district of Tulloh Aier Rajah, under the grant of 1162, Lot 372; Section 4, Georgetown; on the first day of August 1809 granted by Sir George Leith Baronet, Lt. Governor of Prince of Wales Island. The first Chief Monk of the temple was Venerable U. Nandamala.

A pair of white elephants guard the entrance to this Burmese temple. 

This temple is a popular venue for Buddhist Festivals, Songkran Festival, Chinese New Year celebrations and cultural events. Songkran is Thailand's traditional New Year Day.

This temple which features the pagoda was designated as one of Penang state's 15 sites preserved as a historical and tourist attraction during the Visit Penang Year 1988.

The Buddhist emblem for peace and prosperity. It was built to replace the former emblem and to commemorate the bicentenary of the temple founded on August 1st, 1803.

This and the next 3 pictures are Memorial Stupas donated by people and built in loving memory of departed loved ones.

The temple is managed by a Chief Monk. It has a main shrine, a sima hall, dining hall, monk's quarters, preceptee's lodge, Sunday school, a library and a lecture hall. 

“Dharmikarama Burmese Temple Penang”, a copyrighted post, was written for Klang, Malaysia Daily Photo blog by Autumn Belle @ http://mymalaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com on June 19th, 2012.

The Arahant Upagutta Shrine was originally a small building made of planks constructed in 1840 on the present site. This new shrine was build in 1976 and the Arahant Upagutta Image consecrated on December 18th 1978. It is believed that Arahant Upagutta has the power to help one overcome obstacles and problems, exorcism of evil and fulfilment of wishes e.g. related to examinations and health.

This is the statue of Panca-Rupa, The Gurdian Protector of the World. It is a pair of chimeras protecting the globe. The chimera is a mythical animal with features of a few different animals. In this case, the Panca-Rupa has the trunk and tusks of the elephant, the 4 hoofed legs and 2 ears of the horse, face of a lion, deer's horn, body and tail of the fish and wings of the Garuda bird.

The Wishing Pond with a Bodhi tree, tortoises and koi fishes.

The Bodhi Tree

Some of the events conducted at the temple include:
  1. Chinese New Year Ancestral Dana
  2. Chinese New Year Eve Candle Lighting
  3. Qing Ming Ddana
  4. Songkran Festival
  5. Wesak Day
  6. Invitation for Observance of Buddhist Lent
  7. Buddhist Lent Dana
  8. Temple Anniversary Dana
  9. Chinese 7th Month Dana
  10. Mid-Autumn Festival Candle Lighting
  11. Soon Dawgyi Eve Night Service
  12. Soon Dawgyi Dana
  13. Union Kathina
  14. Ordination and 7 Days Intensive Buddhist Practice
  15. Arahant Upagutta Annual Festival

Friday, May 4, 2012

Kedai Kopi New Cathay at Pulau Tikus, Penang - Breakfast at Penang Rat Island

Kedai Kopi New Cathay (New Cathay Coffee Shop), located at 425-E, Burmah Road in Pulau Tikus area is famous for its variety of delicious local non-halal Chinese street food. To be more exact, the coffee shop is at the intersection between Burmah Road (Jalan Burmah) and Kucing Lane (Lorong Kucing).

Opened for breakfast, this coffee shop is known as "Sin Kwok Tai" in Penang Hokkien or   新國泰茶室 . Here, you can find Curry Mee/Noodles, Penang Prawn Mee/Noodles, Penang Hokkien Mee, Penang Char Koay Teow, Fried Fish Meat Beehoon Soup, Koay Chiap With Duck Meat, Pan Cakes, Chee Cheong Fun, Eggs with Buttered Toast, Apom Manis and Roti Babi .

The kopitiam is always full and it is difficult to find parking.

Here's the stall that sells pan cakes.

Just look at the bunches of fresh bananas hanging beside his stall and you can guess that Banana Pancake is his best seller. The banana pancake comes with raisins and a sprinkle of white sesame seeds.

It is difficult to find an empty table here. You may need to share tables. Some customers don't even mind standing while having their meal! We waited a long time to be served because quite a number of customers were ordering takeaway too. But never mind the waiting, it was fun filling up our stomachs with the many varieties of food available here. 

“Kedai Kopi New Cathay at Pulau Tikus, Penang - Breakfast at Penang Rat Island”, a copyrighted post, was written for Klang, Malaysia Daily Photo blog by Autumn Belle @ http://mymalaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com

This is Apom Manis or Indian styled pancake made the traditional way.
The apom isn’t too sweet. It is fluffy and crispy. The taste is just right.
The best part is that it is served on a real banana leaf. I love this!

The first time I tried Penang Apom was at a stall parked in front of another coffee shop in Pulau Tikus many years ago. The stall belonged to a Chinese guy. I can never forget the experience. It tasted so good that we even "ta pau" (takeaway) some to enjoy in the car during the journey home. Thereafter after each trip to Penang, we would try to allocate some time in search of THE APOM Stall! Unfortunately, we couldn't locate the same stall anymore as we cannot remember the exact location. Now, whenever I visit Penang, I always have this craving for apom and it is difficult to leave Penang Island without tasting apom. Yes, the apom sold here is really different and special!

This apom peddler parks his stall along Lorong Kucing, beside Kedai Kopi New Cathay in Pulau Tikus. S. Ravindran and wife have been selling apom manis for more than 15 years. Their son is here today because it is a school off-day. Just look at how Mrs Ravi can manage 6 apom stoves cooking simultaneously in one go!

They use non-stick pans (woks) and the apom is cooked over a charcoal stove. The main ingredients in the batter are eggs and santan (coconut milk). The apam is served on real banana leaves and this applies to dine-in as well as takeaways. The "kiosk" or workstation is actually a modified trishaw.

The stall is opened from Monday to Saturday from 7am to 1pm.

He's still young but already helping mom and dad in the family business.
Both of them are shy but friendly.

On the way to New Cathay Coffee Shop, we passed by this beautiful landmark; Church of the Immaculate Conception just next to Pulau Tikus Convent school. This was because our car was parked at quite a distance away.

The signage in the picture below reads:

Father Jacques Chastan - Saint
4th Parish Priest of Immaculate Conception Church
From 1830-1833
21st Sept 1839 - Martyred in Korea
6th May 1984 - The only parish priest in Malaysia
Declared a Saint by Pope John Paul II.
St. Chastan, pray for us.

Pulau Tikus, meaning "rat island" is an affluent district in Georgetown, Penang named after an island of the same name located off the north-eastern coast of Penang island.  Pulau Tikus island is shaped like a rat, hence the name. 

There has been a lot of development in this area with mansions, bungalows, high-end condominiums as well as colonial buildings and pre-war shop houses dotting the landscape. Some interesting facts include:
  1. Our first Prime Minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman lived here along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (formerly Ayer Rajah Road).
  2. There are heritage buildings along Burmah Road. 
  3. The Church of the Immaculate Conception, a Roman Catholic church founded more than 200 years ago. Their website here.
  4. Wat Chaiya Mangalaram with Reclining Buddha
  5. Dhammikarama Burmesh Buddhist Temple 
  6. Buppharam Buddhist Temple 
  7. Gurney Drive along the esplanade is famous as food haven with breathtaking sea views.
  8. Pulau Tikus wet market is also a food haven.
Note: The above pictures were taken in December 2010.


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