Sunday, March 18, 2012

What else can you do in Penang?

For those who know where Penang is and what Penang is all about, this question will sound more intriguing. Because Penang is generally known as "Food Haven" and also a World Heritage Site (the capital city, George Town), thus besides filling your tummy and enjoying the heritage mood, you may want to ask, "what else?"

Unlike busy like a bee big cities Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia's capital city) or Singapore, Penang is unique in such a way that her pace is always focusing on "enjoyment". It doesn't mean Penang isn't as well developed rather she has the personality of "busy when you should, but never forget to enjoy life".

So I spent my Sunday, waking up early just to explore this experience - know, learn, understand, taste (including drink and eat), and feel coffee.

The trail is a carefully planned thing. Every stop is carefully arranged so we get to walk the trail like walking a path - from traditional to modern, starting with a cup of coffee that will bring you go down memory lane.

This is the typical local breakfast, especially for the Chinese (since the olden days). A cup of local black coffee (or you may choose the one with condensed milk) + 2 slices of toast (with butter and sugar/coconut milk jam) + 2 half-boiled eggs.
Most of the traditional coffee shops in Penang do serve this breakfast but my secret to you is, "find ones that serve Hainanese Bread because it is thicker, fluffier, and smells perfectly right after toasted with charcoal". Add a touch of pepper powder and some light soya sauce to the eggs and finish it while still warm (because it will taste bad when got cold), and sip the coffee to let the aroma quietly slipped down your throat.

It is always the best time to learn something after a fresh and energetic start.

According to Victor, coffee drinking is a culture.

Well of course. From types and nature of different beans, the roasting knowledge, brewing technique and sharing the passion with customers is definitely no easy job.

Knowing more about what you eat and drink helps a lot in appreciating food, especially the good ones. Although my weak stomach was feeling a little upset after sipping the syphon prepared coffee (Ethiopia & Sumatra Mandehling), I did feel good knowing there is a place in Penang where the focus of setting up such a place is more on cultivating a culture than solely making money.

Besides, it is a Car-Free day in the vicinity on Sunday so strolling on the street enjoying the historical buildings is another enjoyment.

Next stop, we visited (to me) a very strange but interesting place - a cafe named "Satorini" but serves nothing related to the original place neither decorated like one, for aspecially catered lunch - Chicken Chop in Coffee Sauce/Fried Rice with Coffee Chicken Bites and Ice-Cream in Coffee Syrup.

Our journey continued to spa at Danai Spa in G-Hotel. Yes of course, the spa is definitely related to coffee. I can't explain about this part because our group was too big and so I agreed to come back another day with a voucher. Anyway, it is a Coffee Body Scrub and Coffee Back Massage treatment. Imagine yourself soaked in the goodness of coffee and got your cellulite smoothen as well dead skin removed. How good is that?

Just when I thought I've seen enough and know all about coffee, our last stop was to get indulged in the sea of coffee souvenir - flavors and flavors of coffee powder individually packed in sachets for the convenience of giving to friends or for yourself in the office. To name a few (that I still remember) they have ginger coffee, durian coffee, power root coffee, local Penang white coffee and many more.

The place is called Coffee Tree. If you are a coffee lover and would love to challenge the versatility of coffee, do come here and enjoy the varieties of free coffee tasting!


My heartiest gratitude to Ministry of Tourism (Penang office) and Project Penang for such wonderful experience (burp!). Of course, I (keenly) look forward to more interesting exploration in near future!