If you are a foodie like me, then Penang will be on your radar. This island, that’s just under an hour flight, or an overnight bus ride from KL, is a quaint escape from the hustle of the mainland. Georgetown is filled with historic buildings, low key residents who are helpful, and is a picture perfect walking town (on the not so hot days).
I stayed in a 100 year old heritage home turned hostel, where the floors were creaky and there was only one bathroom with a shower over the toilet. Georgetown dies out pretty fast after the sun sets, and is pretty quiet and relaxed during the day. It’s a great place to experience what life was like in a historic Malaysia.
I read numerous foodie blogs in preparation for the few days I was hoping to drown myself in gluttony. I had issues with remembering the names of the numerous snacks and dishes, to the point that when I arrived in Penang, my mind just went blank and I simply let my nose guide me.
Where my Sri Lankan nose led me was to Penang’s Little India, which consists of a few small roads blasting Kollywood music, filled with carts selling snacks I grew up eating and fresh flower garlands galore! The comfort of being able to speak your mother tongue, in a country half way across the world from anything you know as home, is pretty mind-blowing.
And that’s what I did for the rest of my 2 days in Penang – I feasted on briyani, fresh roti, chicken curry.. mmmmmm, chicken curry… and loads of south Indian sweets and snacks. Just like in India, the street vendors are packed with men customers only. Men are also the cooks, women are only working at these stalls if they are the wife or close family member. The difference in Penang is even at 1am, at a food stall, the men are not creepy. I never felt unsafe as a solo woman of colour in this historic town.