More exploring Georgetown and great Nyonya dinner

(written by Dave)

Today was bookended by two great meals.  Brekkie was at the hotel and again was great.  Great food and “5 fans”, one could get used to this.  The other day, I forgot to mention the 4 showers that we have in our hotel room(s)/suite.  That’s right 4 showers.  Ok, one is outside and not heated but all 3 of the others have hot and cold water.  And the outside shower is designed for post spa cooling anyway.  So far, I’ve tried out 2 of the showers – I still have a few more days to test out the others.

Anyway, back to the food.  For dinner we decided to try out a restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet called Nyonya Baba Cuisine.  Nyonya cuisine primarily combines Chinese and Malay styles/ingredients.  Nyonya are descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Indonesia and Singapore, inter-marrying with local Malays.  We’ve tried Nyonya previously but the good folks at Nyonya Baba are worth their reputation.  We had chilli chicken, stewed pork, Nyonya vegetables, BBQ pork roll, Spring rolls and Peranakan prawns.  Every dish was fantastic, not too spicy and all different with tender meat and crunchy vegetables – delicious (see below for photo of everyone anticipating the feast).

Between our feasts, we played tourists once again.  We spent a good bit of the morning at the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion.  What a great life story Mr. Cheong had.  He arrived in the 1850s from China at age 16 with absolutely nothing and worked his way to a massive fortune and great political influence.  He earned the highest level honorary title from the Chinese government and the nickname of the Rockefeller of China from the NY Times.  He passed away in 1916 and as all too often happens, his home and fortune were in a bad way in 1990 when a group acquired the home for restoration.  The resulting property is a boutique hotel with 16 rooms but you can also take guided tours.  We were glad we did as we heard many interesting stories about Mr Cheong and his exploits.

From CFT we walked across town to the Tan Jetty.  Tan jetty is one of several clan jetties that still function as homes for local clans and fishermen.  At one point these clans controlled all of Penang and were quite powerful.  Today, it feels more like a poor fishing village built on various wharfs and pilings.  Some of the pilings were made of 5 gallon buckets that appear to be filled with concrete.  Though the area was a little run down, it made for great visuals and some interesting photos.

Mid-afternoon we stopped back in siTenjun coffee shop for lunch and a coffee.  Tenjun was there and we talked more bikes.  I took another look at his Hetchin frame – it is quite nice.  I even managed to find a few for sale on the Internet the other day.  Too bad I have no space for one, let alone a job and salary to pay for it!  At least the coffee was good.

Tomorrow we have a 6AM taxi booked as we are going to try reaching the top of Penang Hill before sunrise.  Hope for somewhat clear skies… We’ll probably have an afternoon nap as well, as the plan now is to walk back down the mountain after getting some photos.

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