FAMILIAR FACES IN PENANG
In your opinion, what makes Penang so unique?
Penang is a quirky, creative island with its colourful pre-war houses, beautiful carvings, the street art, lush green hills and beautiful beaches. If there is absolutely just one place in the world you must visit that has everything, it has to be Penang.
It’s obvious your fragrance range is influenced by your heritage and roots. What made you choose to return to Penang and create these scents?
All my fragrances are a reflection of my life, the places I’ve been, cultures I’ve experienced. George Town by Josh Lee was inspired by the listing of George Town as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2008; it’s a tribute to my hometown. I wanted to evoke the nuances of the island, from the sea to the heritage landscape using spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom, and floral notes like hibiscus and rose; I wanted to capture what Penang really means to me.
What are your favourite places to eat?
When I’m back in Penang my mum will cook and we eat as a family. Penangites are a lot like Italians, we always say mum’s cooking is the best. The next best thing is hawker food of course! Breakfast is a bowl of Hokkien mee at Seang Lim’s stall at the Pinang Delicious Food Court, while for lunch I have my favourite char kuey teow at Ah Leng’s in the Tong Hooi coffee shop. Tea time favourites include assam laksa and Chinese pancakes (with different toppings) at the Lok Pin coffee shop. And for dinner, Auntie Gaik Lean’s on Bishop Street is famous for lor bak, assam fish, kerabu and that truly Penang drink, nutmeg juice.
Could you recount a truly Penang moment, an event or something that just made you think, ‘Only in Penang!’?
For me, truly Penang moments are when we have our festivals and cultural celebrations like the Penang Jazz Festival, George Town Festival, Wesak Day or any public holiday really. We gather our family and friends, sit outside, under the stars, gossiping, chatting. We host the city folk, kick off our shoes, talk loud, eat, drink, laugh! Moments like that... only in Penang.
JOSH LEE Perfumer