PE­NANG: IN­SIDER’S GUIDE

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - Chris Ong

CHRIS ONG

HOTE­LIER, COL­LEC­TOR AND EN­TRE­PRE­NEUR

REST: The top ho­tel in Ge­orge Town on Tri­pAd­vi­sor is the 18-suite Seven Ter­races (Stewart Lane) and I’m claim­ing brag­ging rights. It’s an in­dul­gent de­vel­op­ment restora­tion I saved from the brink of de­vel­op­ment. Now it houses my life’s col­lec­tion of Per­anakan (Straits Chi­nese) porce­lain and fur­ni­ture across the public ar­eas and gue­strooms of this row of 19th-cen­tury ter­races; sev­en­ter­races.com.

DINE: Pe­nang is syn­ony­mous with street food. Where to start? Of the ko­pi­ti­ams (lo­cal cof­fee shops), my two favourites are Kheng Pin Cafe (80 Pe­nang Road; break­fast and lunch) and Joo Hooi (475 Pe­nang Road; 11.30am to late af­ter­noon). The must-haves at the for­mer are the lobak (pork rolls) and prawn frit­ters, char koay teow (fried flat rice noo­dles) and poached chicken rice. At Joo Hooi, do not be put off by the queue at the chen­dol stall out­side, which serves pan­danus noo­dles in co­conut milk and palm sugar. Just take a seat in the cof­fee shop and or­der for a pre­mium of 30c. For a walk into the past, go to Sin Kheang Aun Res­tau­rant (2 Chu­lia Lane), a fam­ily-run Hainan in­sti­tu­tion since 1943. Just ask for “what Chris Ong or­ders”; vis­it­penang.gov.my.

AD­VICE: Pick up a printed guide of my din­ing sug­ges­tions at Mews Cafe (77 Mun­tri Street); muntrimews.com.

ART: Don’t leave Pe­nang with­out do­ing at least part of the street art trail. Start early morn­ing or early evening to avoid the heat; tourism­penang.net.my.

AR­CHI­TEC­TURE: The range of styles is best ap­pre­ci­ated on foot, such as Cheong Fatt Tze Man­sion, known as the Blue Man­sion (Leith Street); the Khoo Kongsi Clan­house (Cannon Square), used for movie lo­ca­tions; and the Per­anakan Man­sion Mu­seum (Church Street). My favourite is the row of re­gional Guang­dong as­so­ci­a­tions, guilds and tem­ples in King Street (be­tween Church and China Streets); cheong­fatttze­man­sion.com; khookongsi.com.my; pinang­per­anakan­man­sion.com.my.

RE­TAIL: Go to Sam’s Batik House and don’t be put off by the clut­ter. There are two Sam’s Batik House shops along the same row (Pe­nang Road), run by broth­ers; sams­batik­house.com.

Chris Ong has had a life­long pas­sion for an­tiques and the restora­tion of her­itage build­ings. Af­ter a ca­reer as an in­vest­ment banker in Syd­ney, he de­camped to Galle Fort in Sri Lanka to open the award-win­ning Galle Fort Ho­tel. He has re­turned to his birth city of Pe­nang, where he has com­pleted five projects in his­toric Ge­orge Town, de­clared a UNESCO World Her­itage Site in 2008. His latest ho­tel is the 16-suite Mun­tri Grove; muntri­grove.com.

In­sid­ers editor: Graham Er­bacher Graham.Er­bacher@news.com.au

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.