Tuesday, March 03, 2015

penang 01

Penang has redeemed itself in my eyes and more. I had an awful experience the last time I was in that state about 4 years back and never returned until now. Even the seductive lure of viewing Ernest Zacharevic's murals was insufficient. That was till I received Isabella's wedding invitation who was a bridesmaid at my wedding. This time I figured I'd give Penang a second chance.

I've wanted to stay in Muntri Mews since 2011. I remember having read about Christopher Ong and his restoration efforts of a delipidated building into what he called a 'flashpacker's boutique hotel'. Fast forward 4 years later, Chris is now an award-winning hotelier with a string of highly-regarded establishments that followed Muntri Mews. I read some reviews on Agoda regarding the parking being a little tricky with regards to the hotel (if you're arriving by car). Yes and No. 

Yes, tricky:
- The parking enforcement officers are sticklers with regards to parking tickets. I suggest you purchase a daily scratch ticket from Mews Cafe for RM6 which allows you to park everywhere else around Penang the entire day.
- There are peak moments when you can't get a parking close to the hotel and may have to park at streets afew blocks away. Mornings and late afternoons seem to be the least busy period. After we found a rockstar parking smack in front of Muntri Mews we pretty much left it there and did our exploration via foot.

No: 
- You can find parking smack in front of the hotel. 
- It's relatively safe.

Oh guess what? We got upgraded to Muntri Mews Residence, the newer building opposite the original Muntri Mews which hosts their suites. Such a great start to the break! Muntri Mews Residence has 3 enchanting outdoorsy courtyards fitted with antiques and vintage paraphernalia. Stepping into the residence I felt like an Edwardian Nyonya of the house. We were even greeted with a welcome tea in the most delightful vintage tea set. I was and still am amazed with the new life Chris had given all the vintage furniture pieces and his efforts of keeping the Peranakan ambience authentic. He's a visionary. Bravo Christopher bravo!


We got an upgrade wootwoot! Hoyeaaaah thank you Muntri Mews & Agoda :D Got 3 beds to myself.

Good morning Penang. Walking by this lovely sight towards breakfast sangat menyejukkan hati (cools the heart).


The butter is so good I ate it on its own!



The inclusive breakfast at Mews Cafe was something I looked forward to everyday. The variety in the breakfast set is good. I had the smoked salmon scramble while Guy had the nasi lemak. Both of which were yums especially the butter (which came in miniature vintage chinese tea cups). When the toast ran out I ate it on its own! Now I'm so inspired to serve myself pretty breakfast in vintage tableware :)

I was told that there was another establishment of Chris': Seven Terraces that sold his collection of vintage bowls. You can also view his personal kamcheng collection there. I had not managed to check it out due to time constraints but it sure sounds exciting! 

Off to breakfast #ootd:
Blouse: Uniqlo
Shorts: Trendy Confessions
Bag: Zatchels X Hello Kitty
Scarf: Me and A Cup of Hot Chocolate

"I love having these antiques as part of the interior for the hotel. I want people to live amongst antiques. Antiques should not be in museums. A lot of people in Seven Terraces get a shock when they realise that in the rooms, there are genuine Peranakan antique furniture." Chris Ong to The Malay Mail Online

We were fortunate to be upgraded to their suite (with 3 beds) and were very pleased with the spacious living area as well as easy access to the outdoor patio. The rain-shower is awesome and we had happy hot showers (after a sweaty affair in the hot Penang sun). The basic amenities provided are acceptable though you will have to bring your own toothbrush and toothpaste (or just purchase them at nearby convenience shops, there are quite afew not to worry) as it is not provided. Only this is that the air-conditioning is not as cool as we hoped it to be perhaps due to the high ceilings but it was tolerable. The breakfast is good and you get a variety within the options provided. Muntri street is very interesting and located nearby 'old Penang' especially if you're keen to explore the murals by Ernest Zacharevic.(edit: My husband felt the bed was a little too hard for his liking but I suppose this is subjective)


64, Muntri Street
10200 Georgetown
Penang


Err... only in Penang did your newly bought motorcycle have a previous life of being a school shoe drying stand for the shopkeepers children :D

Penang is so pretty. Especially the bit of Georgetown UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of Muntri Street and Love Lane. There is beauty everywhere I turn. I saw one of the petite little houses along the lane and wished I had money to make one my own. I have to say this is such a good street except for the rodent problems (a rat crossed right in front of me one night!). I was so surprised to see so many independent little apek shops still thriving. There was an apek shop that ONLY did bag repair! C'mon a shop that ONLY repairs bags?? That does not exist in KL anymore. Penang has managed to retain its character and charm despite the inevitable modernisation which is such a comfort to know when you come from a city that is quickly diminishing in personality in the name of progress.


Sign me up for a lifetime membership!


Awkward is when your threads match the door.

They don't make these anymore: vintage Peranakan tiles.

An example of when print-on-print works.. in this case: so delightfully on point! 




Guy joining the crew with a modern-day camera. Mural by Ernest Zacharevic, in case you didn't know.

Penang Camera Museum
49 Lebuh Muntri
10200 George Town
Penang
Mon-Sun 09:30-18:30


When you purchase postcards at MoonTree 47, you can use their complimentary stationery station filled with quirky stamps and pens. After you write notes to family & friends, stick stamps on your postcards and post them out via MoonTree 47's too-cute postbox.



MoonTree 47
47 Muntri Street
10200 Georgetown
Penang
Thurs-Tues 09:00-17:00


Hello postbox! I wish you and your address were mine <3 td="">

Make a pitstop at Mugshot Cafe for pretty good bagels (especially if you're a New Yorker missing your staple) and homemade yogurt. I didn't particularly find the yogurt as good as alot of people described it but the bagels are good. Pop into Rainforest Bakery just beside Mugshot for more baked goodies. Oh and don't forget to get your mugshot taken before you leave.. it is called the Mugshot Cafe after all.


Loading up on probiotics: jackfruit and gula melaka homemade yogurt.

Their bagels live up to the reputation.

Guilty as charged!

Mugshot Cafe
302, Lebuh Chulia 
10300 Georgetown
Penang
Mon-Sun 08:00-00:00



In awe to be surrounded with architecture older than my grandparents. The building in the image above houses the Soon Tuck Association. The members have ancestral origins in the Soon Tuck district located on the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong, China. Established in 1798 with members comprising mainly of butchers and 'ma cheh' (domestic servants), the building went through a makeover in 1928 and stands proud to this day.

Once upon a time in Love Lane.

Postcode envy.

Their Prawn Mee & Loh Mee bring all the boys to the yard.

Har Mee / Prawn Mee is known as Hokkien Mee in Penang. This can be very confusing as Hokkien Mee in KL is nothing like this.

You must add-on. Must. Siew Yoke (roast pork) is a good start.

Old Green House Restaurant
223 Burma Road
10300 Georgetown
Penang
Mon-Sat: 20:00-04:00


Chef Jenny twice approved wantan mee (look out for the stall with old aunties). It is just as she described it: can you taste 1960s in that plate? 

Chulia Street Wantan Mee
Lebuh Chulia
10200 Georgetown
Penang
Tues-Sun: 19:00-01:00


My first Nasi Kandar Beratur (Queue Up Kandar Rice). Nostalgic to know that people have been queuing up for this since 1943.

Nasi Kandar Beratur opens at approximately 10pm. They share the same spot with another Nasi Kandar which operates the day shift so don't get confused. We arrived half an hour early only to find the other shop still in business and stood at a spot just 1 metre away from the food counter as we watched the the current shop clean up and Nasi Kandar Beratur lay out their goodies. Being first in line meant watching people literally flock in as the clock stroke 10 and form a line just behind me. People really want their Nasi Kandar Beratur.

So jakun that we started queueing at 9.30pm making us FIRST IN LINE! 



We tapau-ed the rice because our tummies could not take anymore on-the-spot consumption. Despite being a takeaway, the rice in all its gravy glory was a standout! Chicken great, prawn better and yummeh written all over :)


Nasi Kandar Beratur
Restoran Liqayat Ali
98, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling 
10300 Georgetown
Penang 




Ernest Zacharevic has been creating buzz (literally and figuratively) around Malaysian towns. It took a laid-back Lithuanian street artist to remind us Malaysians of the beauty in simplicity. He brought to attention the profound art of everyday life. Now I wish I came to explore years back as most of his murals have faded. Coulda woulda shoulda.

Locate the Ernest Zacharevic murals with the help of Penang Mural app. It made navigating around the little lanes a little easier.

Hello 'Wushu Girl'. At long last I've come to witness you and your friends. Aka 'Little Girl in Blue' and 'Kungfu Girl'.

Hello 'Boy on a Bike'. I am either a 'Nyonya Bond' or a 'Sumedang Girl on an Ojek'.


Hello 'Small Boy with Pet Godzilla'. Disappointed that irresponsible individuals would want to vandalise something so awesome. Don't see it? Then use your imagination. Aka 'Little Boy with Pet Dinosaur'.

Hello 'Children on a Bicycle'. Hahaha sibeh funny! faster faster Hahaha XD What an honour for the parents to have their lil Tan Yi and Tan Kern immortalized on Armenian Street! And what joy it has brought us as well! Aka 'Little Children on a Bicycle'.

Hello 'The Old Man'. Shame that our merciless Malaysian weather has caused for this piece to fade or you would be able to see Mr Ng Chai Tiam, a wooden clogs painter and Ernest's neighbour, in contemplation.

Hello 'Reaching Up'. No no no, cannot Busy Bodhi

This would have been a perfect picture. If only he remembered to lick his lips after chomping on some coconut flesh at Busy Bodhi's.



Shopping time! 


Rent a tandem bike and cycle up a storm! We had such a fantastic time exploring the little streets and lanes of Georgetown on wheels. That particular Saturday when we were there, roads were closed for pedestrians and cyclists which made for an even better experience.

Tandem bicycle is our logistics du jour! Shopping goes in front, butt goes at the back :D

That evening went by filled with nostalgic moments and laughter. The wedding reception was held in 1881 Chong Tian Hotel, a prominent cultural heritage building, and we were seated with ex-schoolmates who currently work in Singapore. The reception was simple and sweet while the food was pretty great. I enjoyed the black chicken herbal soup the most.

Such a hoot to be seated with ex-DJians Wai Kuan, Hooi Li and Shawn tonight. Congratulations Isabella & Brett! Wishing you both much love & light :)



Continue: Penang 02

Read also: #fwis / #ihavethisthingwithfloors tile collection: Penang


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