Kek Lok Si is claimed to be the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. It is quite spectacular even though it was a hot day for walking around. There were shady places in pagodas and gardens.
By one accounting, Penang is one of the 10 places in the world that one has to see in one’s lifetime. In every article about Penang, the excellence and diversity of the cuisine always gets equal billing with the physical attractions. Not wanting to miss out on this facet by narrowly focusing on places and people, Laura and I have devoted substantial effort to sampling all of the foods of Penang, although only to gain more insight into the place. We have had duck in one form or another almost every day, plus chicken-rice, the national dish, dim sum, kangkung (spinach) in oyster sauce, satay in spicy peanut sauce, tandori chicken with naan and dal, ABC (Air Batu Campur – mixed ice) which is shaved ice, palm seed, red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly, peanuts and condensed milk.
We have dined in restaurants and at food stalls and we tend to prefer the food stalls. There are collections of stalls everywhere. For example, there is an outdoor food court that is a 15 minute walk from the marina. In this food court, there are 40 or so stalls, each about 5 feet wide, serving a different food cooked for you at the time you order. A quarter crisply duck with rice and duck soup is Ringgit 9 ($3). In each food court there is only one vendor selling drinks. Laura always orders the carrot susu ais, fresh carrot juice with sweet milk on ice. I tend to get different fruit juices every time. All made fresh. There are plastic tables set up in the center of the food court that not assigned to a stall. We start by walking around the perimeter of the food court looking at whats cooking, ask some questions, order and point to a table. In five minutes, the food arrives.
There is a very nice restaurant 50 meters from the boat inside the Straits Quay Marina Mall called Cheeky Duck. We have had the duck and dim sum there and it has always been great. The bottom line is, Penang is justifiably famous for its food.