I kinda felt like having chicken rice for my last meal in Malaysia, but I wasn’t particularly keen on walking in the sweltering heat to a restaurant that probably would have been closed thanks to Chinese New Year.
I happened to be passing by a hawker centre in Penang while a special ceremony for Chinese New Year was happening. It involved dancing and drums; when one of the proprietors noticed my interest, he came over and explained it to me.
Chinese New Year threw a huge monkey wrench into my Penang plans; something like 75 percent of the restaurants I tried to go to turned out to be closed.
But in the case of Tong Lek 8 Cafe, I’m not even mad. I randomly found it after the place I wanted to go to turned out to be closed; I’m so glad I got to try out their amazing food.
Yes, it’s fairly grim, but checking out cemeteries while travelling is oddly compelling.
I wasn’t planning on going to Kafe Ping Hooi, but the restaurant I wanted to go to turned out to be closed (thanks again, Chinese New Year!), and it was right there. I figured I’d give it a shot.
When I had the chendol from Penang Road Famous Chendol, the vendor across from it was closed because of Chinese New Year (Thanks, Chinese New Year, for making sure basically everything was closed during the bulk of my trip to Penang. Thanks. I was hoping that most of the places I wanted to try would be closed. You know, just to spice things up).
There are “cafes” all over the city in George Town that are essentially like little food courts. Each one has three or four vendors, usually specializing in one thing. And like a food court, you order, then walk your food over to one of the nearby tables.
Not to be confused with Mary Brown’s, a Canadian fried chicken chain, Marrybrown is a Malaysian fried chicken chain (seriously: how is this a coincidence? I don’t buy it) that’s been around since 1981.
Being in Penang during Chinese New Year’s is a bit of a bummer, because basically everything is closed. There is, however, a pretty huge Indian population here; if you want to eat out, your two choices are Indian or a chain restaurant.
The room I’m staying in happens to have a great view of The Top, Penang’s tallest building. Apparently that building puts on an annual fireworks show for Chinese New Year.