Sunday, July 21, 2013

Food and Street Art in Georgetown, Malaysia

I left the beautiful island of Koh Lipe and headed to Georgetown, Penang an island in northwest Malaysia. Ever time you mention Georgetown to a traveler they respond with "Oh, the food is soooo good!" I arrived in Georgetown in the evening and the aromas of the street hawkers food was enticing. I wanted to check into a guesthouse and eat my way through the city! The proprietor of my guesthouse told me the people of Penang love to eat.  And as the saying goes, when in Rome do as the Romans do! I was planning to try it all. The proprietor of my guesthouse marked a map with the hawker stalls I needed to indulge in. His last suggestion was "find a stand with a line of locals and whatever they are serving up will be delicious!" My dinner was delicious....I was going to enjoy a couple of days eating in Georgetown.

The street food encompasses Chinese, Malay and Indian food all served in a matter of minutes! I joined the locals eating by the roadside stalls and coffee shops is an experience second to none. I joined the locals in their favorite past!

Georgetown has everything you would expect from an old colonial city- a fort, grand buildings, stately homes and assembly buildings.
Georgetown has traditional temples and Colonial buildings. 
Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia.
But the one thing that makes it stand out from other cities is the street art. I wandered the city, enjoying the art work and lost time exploring the cafes and art galleries for 2 days. Across the city were wirework artwork which told the history of the neighborhoods.

The murals, which I loved the most,  are by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic who brought color to the city as part of a project called "Mirrors George Town"

The street art was spread throughout the city, with some more hidden more than others, it was a great way of seeing the main sights. At times, I stumbled upon parts of city I may not have otherwise visited. On my last night, I stop at an Unique Penang Art Gallery on Love Lane and met Clovis and Jolie. Clovis was standing on the front porch playing a ukulele. Obviously, I had to go in. I was interested in where a he had learned to play the ukulele and to see the artwork. As I entered, he told me they teach art to 160 children. Along one wall was a display of postcards. The children draw the postcards but what I loved was you could write the postcard and they would mail it anytime in the future....2 months, a year or 5 years. The cards were beautiful and I liked that it supported teaching art to children.

Clovis invited me to have tea with him. We talked about travel and life. As we talked, he asked me to join them for dinner. We walked down to a street hawker on Chulia Lane that sold the most delicious Wan Tan Mee. We sat on their porch laughing and singing until 11 pm.

When I left, Jolie gave me a set of chopsticks she had made. She explained they were knotted with a prosperity and she wished me a long and prosperous life.  I thanked her for her kindness and told them goodbye.
I enjoyed exploring the quaint nooks and crannies of Georgetown. I feasted on delicacies from hawker street stalls, shopped at the many quaint night markets and browsed the art galleries. Georgetown was a relaxing, delicious and enjoyable introduction to the tastes and culture of Malaysia.

No comments:

Post a Comment