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All about Penang & more

Penang today is very much an amalgam of the old and the new – a bustling port, a heritage city and an industrial base. Perhaps it has more to offer per square mile than any other place in the world. For sheer variety of locales, cultures and foods, Penang is hard to beat. Here are stories about Penang and more.

Da Shu Xia Seafood House – sumptuous and fresh seafood in Penang

Da Shu Xia Seafood House © Adrian Cheah

Penangites just want it all – fresh seafood, delicious flavours, beautiful presentations, a cosy ambiance, great service and above all, cheap prices!

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Ah Leng's supreme Char Koay Teow

Ah Leng Char Koay Teow © Adrian Cheah

Taste is very subjective and since Penangites are spoiled with choices, their discerning palate is indeed well-tuned to great food. Should you wish to see them enraged and in full disgust, just serve them a plate of something ordinary, or if you dare, something horrible. This only goes to illustrate how passionate they are about food, especially the local delicacies.

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The Saanen Dairy Goat Farm, a hidden gem to visit in Balik Pulau

Saanen Dairy Goat Farm © Adrian Cheah

Stories related to goats cut across cultures and geography, conjuring up myths and beliefs that have flowed through millennia right up to this present day. I find these vivid and dramatic tales utterly captivating.

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Jia Siang Cafe, seafood at its freshest

Jia Siang Cafe © Adrian Cheah

Being more than half a century old, I have learned to watch with my own eyes and note down the "gloriousness" that is everywhere around me. As an artist and a photographer, this singular duty of being aware has helped me capture photographs that forge the narrative in my projects and creative endeavours.

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Never Forgetting Balik Pulau – exploring an alluring, rustic village in Penang across time

Josephine Choo
Photography, design and layout by Adrian Cheah

Never Forgetting Balik Pulau © Adrian Cheah

"Never Forgetting Balik Pulau" is part memoir, part guide. The author, after spending her entire youth in the village, accumulated a bagful of tales. Exploratory trips back gave credence to past memories but gradually, a comprehensive guide with maps to the village evolved.

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Church of the Holy Name of Jesus – a historical church in a sleepy hollow

Church of the Holy Name of Jesus © Adrian Cheah

Introduction

Old churches are fascinating buildings. Aside from their obvious roles as houses for worship and community gathering, old churches are also well known for their sublime architecture and illustrious histories. The Western continent has some of the finest and world-renowned churches, the mind immediately recalling structures like the early Gothic-styled Notre Dame in Paris (1163), St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican (349AD) and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City (19th century). Equally fascinating ones also include the Santa Maria Maggiore (430AD) and Santa Prassede (780AD) in Rome and the Saxon Brixworth and Escombe churches in England (around 670AD).

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Feringgi Grill, redefining haute cuisine

Feringgi Grill © Adrian Cheah

Feringgi Grill, one of Penang's premier Western-style grill restaurants, has won numerous awards and accolades since 1973, delighting some of the most discerning diners. It is one of my favourite restaurants to celebrate a romantic evening or to mark a special occasion.

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Church of the Assumption, among Penang's historical landmarks

Church of the Assumption © Adrian Cheah

George Town, located in the heart of Penang, has perhaps one of the most diverse religious communities in Malaysia. Here, almost every religion has its own distinct religious architectural abode to serve believers.

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Hometown Vietnam Taste Restaurant, a quaint eatery serving pho-nomenal Vietnamese food

Penang Vietnamese food © Adrian Cheah

I love criss-crossing Penang on my motorcycle because it avoids two major headaches –  traffic jams and parking problems. Thus, it is easy for me the head down to Hometown Vietnam Taste Restaurant (formerly Que Huong Toi Enterprise) to slurp up a bowl of delicious phở bò (Vietnamese beef koay teow soup). 

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Bedak sejuk, a trusted beauty secret of our grandmothers

bedak sejuk © Adrian Cheah

At dusk, when women with white sceptre-like masks ventured out of their homes to purchase a snack or visit neighbours, children would gawk while adults would shrug their shoulders in indifference.

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Festive Kuih Ee – glutinous rice balls in syrup

Kuih Ee (Thong Yin) © Adrian Cheah

Traditionally, Kuih Ee ("Tong Yuen" in Cantonese) is served on special occasions such as during weddings and the Winter Solstice Festival (between 21-23 December, about a month or so before Chinese New Year). Nowadays, Kuih Ee is available daily in Penang from certain hawkers in the Pulau Tikus and Ayer Itam markets in the morning.

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Emperor Villa's "kochabi" set meals good for lunch or dinner

Emperor Villa © Adrian Cheah

Emperor Villa, a family-run business offering accommodation and dining first opened its doors to the public in September 2019. It took two years to complete the construction of its rustic villas complete with a spacious swimming pool, nestled among nine acres of greenery in the hills of Sungai Ara, Penang.

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