50 things to do in Penang
Let Time Out Penang be your guide as you explore one of the most fascinating islands in the world
There aren’t many fruits that can incite such dramatic reactions – either a sigh of pleasure or a gag reflex followed by an expletive. Penangites claim their durians are the best; so for durian virgins, this is the ideal place to take that first taste and for fans to indulge their affection for this prickly, whiffy fruit. Take a tour to the Bao Sheng Durian Farm (p63) or organic Green Acres ( greenacrespenang.com) in Balik Pulau (both these farms offer accommodation), or the organic Freedom Eco-Farm ( freedomgetaway.org) in Teluk Bahang. Hunkering down by the side of the road eating durian from a van selling them is perfectly acceptable too.
Nutmeg was brought to Penang by the British in the late 18th century. It was one of the bastions of the lucrative spice trade which saw the fortunes of Great Britain and the Netherlands soar as they fed the European populations’ mammoth appetite for spices from what was then known as the East Indies. Nutmeg is used in cooking all over the world, but you won’t find a glass of nutmeg juice in many places. Many coffee shops in Penang offer this refreshing, if mildly astringent, drink so give it a try.
3 Ambra (buah kedondong)
This fruit is commonly made into a juice, usually with a sour plum, and has enough vitamin C to knock that cold into next week. Sometimes known as a Tahitian Apple or Hog Plum, this is a favourite Penang thirst-quencher and as it’s pretty hard to find anywhere else, try it when you hit that famous Penang hawker food trail.
4 Nyonya kuih
Nyonya cuisine is a fascinating riot of tastes and colours and as much as everyone waxes lyrical about the savoury dishes, their kuih (Malaysian sweets) aren’t too shabby either. Main ingredients include glutinous rice, coconut, santan (coconut milk), various exotic flours (sago, tapioca, mung bean), pandan (screwpine) and sugar. Although Nyonya kuih is found throughout Malaysia, Moh Teng Pheow (p44) is a popular option to get your fix with favourites like kuih talam, pulut tai-tai and pulut inti.
5 Eden on Hutton Lane
Any local will tell you this restaurant was the go-to for good value set lunches,