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A Spice Mill in a George Town Shophouse

With a bag full of spices from our stop at Mohammed Meera Sahib, we headed out of Little India through China Street.  Right before the intersection with Beach Street, we noticed a shop on our left, where two Indian guys sat on plastic chairs, chatting the afternoon away.   The shop was so plain and unassuming that we thought there had to be something hidden in the back.

We peered through the doorway and saw antique machines on both sides of the dim room.


These traditional spice grinding machines were built in Germany and India in the 1950s. The store could easily be turned into a spice museum, but we like it the way it is - a functioning spice mill with thick, aromatic air, that immediately flashes images in your head of what Penang was like in its early history as traders from all around Asia and the world converged on the island.

Seconds before Mark jumped into the bed of drying chili powder.

Mr. S. Samy, the owner of V.Kaleespari Grinding Mill, was originally from Kedah, a northern state in Malaysia. When he came to Penang in the early 1970s, he worked in a spice shop, learning the ins and outs of the business before finally taking over this shop. 

We had to ask Mr. S. Samy how many types of spices & flour he has in the shop.  “Chili powder, coriander, cinnamon powder, briyani powder, fish curry, garam masala, dry ginger, chapati flour, turmeric powder, star anise, silvered betel..” He started naming every single one out for us. “No problem if you wish to purchase personalized blends of ground spices for your home use.”

Personalized blends?  Sounds just perfect for our kitchen experiments!


Where to spice up your life:

V. Kaleespari Grinding Mill
No 12, Lebuh China
Mon-Sat: 9am to 6pm

Continue on the Spice Route in Penang...
Head over to Season with Spice for recipes...

1 comments:

John Hunter said...

Great post, thanks. I love seeing nice old machinery that just works.