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Penang's Spice Gardens - Then & Now

pond at penang tropical spice garden
Penang's Tropical Spice Garden
In my right hand, I squeezed the orange, plastic chopsticks and lifted the koay teow noodles into my mouth. Mark slurped up the last drops of his fresh nutmeg juice and raised his eyes to my drink. I kept my other hand tightly around the glass. It was automatic when I heard that sound.

beef koay teow soup at corner of chulia street and beach street

“Can I just have a sip?”

“Nop.”

“Just a little.”

I shook my head and slid the glass of nutmeg juice closer to me. I had heard that line before. Of course, I wasn’t the first Southeast Asian in history to hear it. White guys have been following the Spice Route to this part of the world for 500 years trying to steal nutmeg.

George Town Festival 2012: June 15 - July 15



George Town Festival is back in 2012!  If you are in Penang anytime between June 15 - July 15, check out the festival schedule to see what exciting events are happening.

George Town Festival is a month long celebration of art, music, theatre, dance, opera and film that transforms George Town into a unique platform for arts, heritage and culture. GTF 2012 runs for the third year in a row commemorating the inscription of George Town on the UNESCO World Heritage listing on 7th July, 2008.

Feel The Energy of Thaipusam

The biggest festival in Penang - Thaipusam - starts tomorrow, February 6, 2012.  Here again is a look at Thaipusam from last year...

Street Scene: Raining Desserts



We are well into rainy season in Penang, and while I previously wrote about how to escape the rain on the island, sometimes it's best to get your feet wet and wait in line with the locals at Lebuh Keng Kwee for a dessert of the colorful sweet ais kacang, or the famous cendol - a mix of white (coconut milk), brown (gula melaka - palm sugar) and green (pandan flavored rice flour in a jelly form).

Don't forget to bring your umbrella...or your red hat...



The Other Side of Penang

mangosteen balik pulau penang malaysia

The new Balik Pulau Visitor Centre.  Sounds official.  It’s even listed on the Penang Tourism website.

A young guy, Eddie, picked us up at the Balik Pulau bus terminal and drove us the mile to Air Putih.  Eddie and his two friends opened a bicycle tour shop out of a rented shed at a fruit farm in the middle of nowhere and called it a Visitor Center.

Well, self-proclamation is the first step to entrepreneurship.

malay kampung houses balik pulau penang