Sunday, September 28, 2014

Penang 2013 - Straits Quay

Straits Quay is part of the Eastern & Oriental's Group's huge property development just north of Gurney Drive. It consists of a shopping mall, marina and luxury apartments for short and long term rental.

This development is designed to appeal to the middle to upper and expat market. The design tries to evoke Penang's Colonial past glory with pseudoclassical architectural touches everywhere.

The shopping mall is not very big, but there are lots of  quirky shops, nice cafes and restaurants to choose from. It is quite a nice place to spend a lazy weekend.

If you are planning to visit Straits Quay, make sure you get the taxi to wait for you. This area is not served by public transport at all, and there are very few taxis coming here so you could be stranded like we were for quite a while.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Penang 2013 - Pork Soup at Kedai Kopi Seng Thor

While walking around I came across Kedai Kopi Seng Thor which is one of the popular kopitiams in George Town famous for several local delights. It is at the corner of Lebuh Kimberley and Lebuh Carnarvon, with an elegant shopfront which curves around the corner.

Seng Thor is famous for their Lor Bak, Oh Chein (oyster omelette) and Lor Mee, but I felt like having something a bit lighter and went for the Pork Kueh Tiaw Soup. It came fully loaded with minced pork, pork slices, liver and some fish balls. It was very good - the broth had a very clean yet full flavour, and there were bits of delicious deep-fried pork lard inside. The pork liver was cooked to perfection and still slightly pink, and the pork slices were really tender.

If you are a bit squeamish about  cleanliness and hygiene, then these place may not be your cup of tea. But you will be missing out on some of the most delicious food on the Island.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Penang 2013 - Street Art

In the past few years street art has taken George Town by storm. It all started when Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic was invited to paint murals around the Old Town as part of the George Town Festival 2012. Since then there has been a blossoming of spontaneous murals everywhere, and Zacharevic's beautiful and whimsical murals have become must-do pit stops on the Island.

Two of Zacharevic's most popular murals.

Some of his works have been spoilt by vandals. Very sad. 

Other interesting street art around town.

Some of the artists are even having conversations with each other through street art.

And some have moved beyond 2 D into 3D.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Penang 2013 - Around the Old Town

Penang is one of the most popular destinations in Malaysia and it is easy to see why. The Old Town is very charming, the people of Penang are friendly and creative, and the food is always great. Whenever I visit I like to stay in the Old Town where just walking around is a joy. No matter how many times you have been there, there is always something interesting around the corner.

The old buildings with layers of patina is what makes the Old Town so charming.

While you may have seen these buildings many times before, it is always nice to make a re-acquaintance - like visiting old friends.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bangkok 2013 - Baan Kanitha @ Asiatique

For our last night in Bangkok we wanted some nice Thai food. Since we were at Asiatique, we decided to try out the new branch of Baan Kanitha right at the riverfront. Baan Kanitha is a popular chain of restaurants with several branches in Bangkok. The Asiatique outlet is housed in a Colonial-style 2-storey building. Since the ground floor was full, we were directed to the first floor.

The food at Baan Kanitha is traditional Thai cuisine. We ordered several of the Thai staples including seafood with rice vermicelli, pandan wrapped chicken, tom yam soup, and green curry.

The fish and prawn cakes were well executed and packed with flavours.

The fried rice with chicken was surprisingly good and served in a cute clay pot.

On the whole the food at Baan Kanitha is good but not outstanding. The pricing is quite expensive for what you get. In Bangkok you are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to good Thai restaurants, so this place is only worth considering if you are willing to splurge.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bangkok 2013 - Asiatique The Riverfront

One of the new retail and leisure development that is a bit more original in concept is Asiatique The Riverfront. This is a shopping, entertainment and leisure complex located right next to the Chao Phraya River. The  complex consists of a series of buildings designed like waterfront godowns and warehouses. Some of these accommodate shops - others cafes, restaurants and pubs. Calypso - a popular cabaret venue with nightly shows have also moved to their new base here.

The place only comes alive at night as the open-air concept would be too hot during the day. Even if you are not there for the shopping it is quite nice to stroll around the large complex as there are lots of interesting things to look at. The number of F&B outlets seem endless, and there are choices to suit all budgets.

Getting to Asiatique is not so easy as it is not directly served by the MRT. The nearest MRT station is Saphan Taksin next to the Taksin Bridge. From there you can take the normal taxi or water taxi to Asiatique. If you are staying at Anantara Riverside, you just take the hotel boat to Asiatique - very convenient.