Nicknamed Pearl of the Orient, Penang is one of Malaysia’s preferred destinations, especially for its rich heritage. Our recent visit to the Island state took us to some of its iconic places of interest. All of them steeped in the history of Penang’s colourful past. We list here some of heritage interesting places.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
A very distinctive building in Georgetown characterised by its blue exterior. The lavish manor built by merchant-trader, Cheong Fatt Tze features timber windows and doors, and a whopping 38 rooms. The mansion feature in the hit film ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Bought over by his descendants in 1989 and maintained as a private residence, the mansion now also doubles as a museum showcasing stunning architectural characters of the wealthy Chinese folks in these parts at the time. Also known as The Blue Mansion, it is George Town’s first heritage hotel. Which means that you may also choose to spend the night to experience more of the splendorous abode.
See more information on www.cheongfatttzemansion.com
Pinang Peranakan Mansion
This exquisite museum is an icon of Penang’s rich Peranakan heritage. As your tour guide takes you to different sections of the mansion, you will begin to learn more about how the lifestyle of the Babas and Nyonyas of Penang combines Chinese, Malay and British Colonial influences, resulting in a very unique way of life. The mansion is opulently decorated with fine furnishings and materials like Scottish iron, English tiles and Chinese-carved wood panels. Each room has a unique function. Even a room where their collection of precious gold and gems are put displayed. Gorgeous inside and out, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion is a delight to explore.
Find out more at www.pinangperanakanmansion.com.my
St George’s Church
Originally built in 1817 using sand and limestone cut by hand by the convict labourers from the hills of Penang, St. George The Martyr, located on 1, Lebuh Farquhar, listed as one of Malaysia’s 50 National Treasures. It fashioned after St. George’s Cathedral in Madras and features beautiful Doric columns with Senegal mahogany post for greater stability. Partly destroyed during the Japanese invasion of Penang in the 1940s and rebuilt by the British in 1945, and restored to its former glory in the late 2000’s, the church was re-consecrated by Bishop, Rt. Rev. Ng Moon Hing in 2011 and is today one of the must-visit places in Penang.
Go to www.stgeorgeschurchpenang.com for more details.
Kuan Yin Temple
Built in 1728 by early Chinese settlers from China along what is now known as Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, this is one of the oldest temples in Penang. It was built to honour the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin and dedicated also to the patron saint of the seafarers, Ma Chor Poh. Its distinctive feature is an 18-arm statue of the goddess Kuan Yin. Classic Chinese architectural styles and carvings, as well as sculptures of dragons adorn its walls, pillars and roof. It is still highly visited today, and the temple stays open from morning to late evening daily.
Grab a bite
While you’re touring Penang, why not stop for a bite? For the best gastronomic experience, you simply must try their street food. Here are three of their most iconic street foods to try:
1. Hokkien Prawn Noodles
Locally called Hokkien Prawn Mee, it’s a noodle soup dish with a deliciously rich prawn-based broth. Some of the best ones can found at CY Choy Road Hokkien Mee (Jalan C.Y. Choy, Georgetown), Old Green House Hokkien Mee (Jalan Burma, Georgetown) and Seang Lim Hokkien Mee (Jalan Macalister, Georgetown).
2. Char Kway Teow
The name loosely translates as Fried Flat Rice Noodles, and Penang is well-known for their version of this dish of flat rice noodles, stir-fried with some spring onion, bean sprouts, prawns and Chinese pork sausage. Lorong Selamat Char Kway Teow (Lorong Selamat, Georgetown) is notoriously famous, and so is Kimberly Street Char Kway Teow (Kimberly Street, Georgetown). For one of the best Halal versions, check out Sg. Dua Char Kway Teow in Butterworth.
3. Penang Assam Laksa
Sweet, sour, spicy and very fragrant, Penang’s Assam Laksa is a true delight. Some of the best ones can be found at Air Itam Laksa (Jalan Pasar, Ayer Itam), Laksa Janggus (Halal laksa at Jalan Kampung Perlis, Balik Pulau), and Kim Laksa (Jalan Sungai Air Putih, Balik Pulau).