Penang 2D/1N Kwong Wah Yit Poh Launch Part I: Gurney Drive Vermicelli Noodle Steamed Fish, Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol, Da Shu Xia Seafood House, The Bund Speakeasy Hidden Bar

I was in Penang for a collaboration my company has with Kwong Wah Yit Poh recently. We stayed for a night at The Wembley @ St Giles and indulged in the famous island food scene. We flew in slightly before lunch so we headed straight to eat. Sam mentioned there was a rice vermicelli noodle served on top of steamed fish in Gurney Drive so we hunted for the restaurant.

This is har cheong fried chicken wings. It’s chicken wings dipped in prawn paste before deep frying. It’s crunchy and savory and came piping hot. Delicious!

This is their signature bee hoon steamed fish. It’s important to note that this isn’t a noodle dish. It’s a steamed fish dish, but they pile rice vermicelli on top before serving. I have no idea why they do that – probably for added texture. It’s good though – the noodles go well with the coriander-sugar-soy sauce mixture for the fish.

There’s also an obligatory plate of vegetables.

There’s also house style tofu with mushrooms on top, which was delicious.

However, the outstanding dish for lunch is this claypot pork ribs with yam and burnt garlic. The gravy strapped my ass on a jetpack and launched me straight to Flavortown at Mach 1. 🚀 Fuiyoh! 😱 It was lip smacking good! I loved the smoky burnt whole garlic cloves. The tender, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs was succulent and combines well with the slightly chewy texture of the sliced yam. Insanely delicious!

We headed to Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol after lunch for some cooling cendol…

…and a plate of rojak to share.

The cendol is good but they’ve open so many branches throughout Malaysia that eating at the original has lost some of its lustre. The operation is very commercialized nowadays.

Dinner that night was at Da Shu Xia Seafood House. They have a spread of fresh seafood you can choose from. I’ve eaten here many years ago as well and they’re quite good.

This is butter prawns. They’re deep fried to golden perfection – crispy and hot.

We also ordered a tom yam soup in a coconut that tasted yummy. The thick broth was more like gravy and goes very well with rice.

Of course, there’s the obligatory vegetable dish. I believe this is potato leaves.

This is steamed fish Teochew style with tomatoes, tofu and

This is sweet chilli crab! The crab had a super hard shell and I got splattered on my face while trying to crack open the shell. I love the thick, starchy sauce.

We also had an order of clams (lala). This was the item I ate the most of since it was just in front of me. Haha.

It’s a satisfying dinner! We headed to The Bund. This is a hidden bar e.g. speakeasy design where the front façade is locked and you need to access the drinking hole through an obscure side entrance.

The ambience inside is nice and chill.

There are also two decent singers performing. I got them to sing a Chinese song that’s been stuck in my head recently. Haha.

Part II coming soon!

✈️ 10 Hours in Penang: Chef Wang Fusion Kitchen, Super Tanker Hawker Food Center

I’m heading to Penang again tomorrow so I thought I better post about the delicious meals I had during my previous trip there last month. This was a whirlwind work trip where I only had 10 hours on the island state. We headed straight for lunch at Chef Wang Fusion Kitchen after arriving at the airport.

Chef Wang Fusion Kitchen is a private kitchen setup where you need to reserve the tables and order the dishes in advance. I believe the chef is from China. The food here is really good. I was impressed. Our business partners pre-ordered the dishes and we occupied 2 tables. We were the only ones at the restaurant.

The pork rib soup was mild tasting and almost refreshing. It’s served in a claypot and tasted like something my maternal grandmother would cook. It’s less intensely flavoured but goes very well with the strong-tasting dishes that followed. Rice was also served in a steel pot.

I really liked their asam fish. The sour and sweet notes are very appetizing. They also have shredded raw green mango on top to add a crunchy dimension. The fish is reasonably fatty too, which is a good thing. Lean fish doesn’t taste very nice in these dishes. You need good omega oils to add mouthfeel and taste.

Next up was kiam chye pork with prawn. This is salted vegetables stir-fried with pork and topped with peeled prawns. The gravy looks sinister but doesn’t really taste as intense as it looks. This is a milder tasting dish, but still good. The salted vegetables are not just one dimensionally salty, but sourish.

You can’t eat in Penang without running into the perennial Hokkien favorite tau yu bak. Pig trotters are cooked with soy sauce to make this slightly sweet and savory dish. It’s one of my favorite things to eat. Chef Wang’s version was pretty good too.

I found their belacan fried chicken to be an unusual twist to fried chicken. I hear it’s pretty common in Penang to marinate fried chicken in belacan before frying though. It tastes really good this way! The salty and prawn-y belacan elevates this dish to new levels. The chicken was fried well too, and the meat was juicy and tender. It’s served with chilli sauce.

The deep-fried whole prawns in oyster sauce was really delicious too! The shells of the crispy prawns were fried long enough to be eaten. I love the head butter inside these babies too. One of the best dishes of the meal.

A dish of homemade tofu rounded up the meal. This was quite mild tasting and inoffensive to balance out the stronger flavors of the other dishes. It works well.

The morbidly obese waitress also brought out a dish of tong sui for dessert. This was a concoction of taro and sago pearls in a sweet syrup. It was decent but savory dishes are this establishments strong suit.

We had a presentation and meeting with our media partners before we had to fly back to KL.

Before that, our Penang branch manager brought us to Super Tanker to indulge in some hawker food.

I ordered a very dismal bowl of asam laksa. It tasted dilute and tepid. I was surprised I could find such a terrible implementation of asam laksa in Penang. I had to force myself to finish the bowl.

Luckily the char kueh tiaw I ordered was excellent. Smoky and delicious, this was a really good example of how Penang does CKT right.

Sam also ordered some o chien (oyster omelette) to share. This was really good as well. I like the Penang style of mok mok (soggy) o chien better than our Sarawak crispy o chien.

I managed to tapau some chai kueh for Mandy too.

It’s actually more for me, since I like eating chai kueh. Haha.

We also got some apam balik to eat on the way to the car. The apam at Super Tanker is remarkable too! Crispy, hot and delicious! We had to rush to the airport and nearly missed our flight due to the traffic jam in Penang. We made it though. I’ll be going again in a few hours!

36 Hours in Penang 🇲🇾: Macallum Connoisseurs Coffee Company ☕, New Siam Road CKT 🍝, Sup Hameed 🍲, Moody Cow Café 🍰, Nasi Kandar Beratur 🍛, Lorbak @ Kheng Pin Café 🍢, 92 Armenian Bird’s Nest Delicacy 🐦, Ang Bak Kia Durian 😋, Air Itam Market 🥩

I was in Penang for a business trip last week. 🏝️ It’s the land of food so I made sure to properly plan my meals so I could maximize the amount of delicious hawker food I could indulge in during my short time on the island. I made a list of the must eat foods within close proximity to Cititel Penang (the hotel I was staying at) and walked to most places so I could work up an appetite.

The first meal I had was at Macallum Connoisseurs Coffee Company. ☕ I had a work lunch meeting here so I took a Grab straight from Penang Airport. This is a converted warehouse that serves primarily coffee (and gelato) as well as a selection of hot food. I went for the Macallum’s Coffee Spaghetti (RM 23) and an iced latte.

The coffee spaghetti was made with creamy coffee sauce and chorizo pork sausage. 🍝 It tasted surprisingly good. I originally expected this to be more of a novelty dish but it was rich and delicious, with an aftertaste of roasted coffee beans and pepper. The latte was excellent too! Our business associates picked up the bill – thanks for lunch!

I checked in the hotel after lunch and worked for a while before heading out for some char kueh tiaw. I wanted to eat at the esteemed New Siam Road Char Kueh Tiaw. 🍳 This is probably Penang’s most well-regarded CKT, better than the tourist-overrun Lorong Selamat CKT. There was a sizable queue even at 4 pm in the afternoon.

I waited about 20 minutes for my plate of CKT. You need to queue up before you can get seated. They don’t take orders and deliver to the table. Check out the huge industrial blower they have going! 🔥 This is still made on an old school charcoal stove and the blower supplies the wind to keep the heat high.

I love the CKT here at Siam Road. It’s easily the best CKT I’ve eaten in Penang, which makes it the best CKT in the world. The wok hei flavors come through really well, providing a smoky aroma that goes perfectly with the charred lap cheong (Chinese sausage), soft cockles, and crunchy beans sprouts. 💨 It’s exceedingly delicious! 10/10.

I could still eat after that so I went to Sup Hameed beside my hotel for a snack. I’ve eaten the sup torpedo here 10 years ago. That’s bull penis soup. 🐂🍆 I remember enjoying the gristly and gelatinous bovine dick. I wanted to try something different this time so I ordered their famous Sup Kambing (Goat Soup).

All their soups use the same base, it’s just the protein that’s different. You can see the different cuts of meats and organs they have on the soup prep station. 🍖

This is what their goat soup (RM 7.30) looks like. 🐐 People usually eat it with thickly sliced bread (RM 0.80). Their bread has a charred, bitter edge that goes very well with savory soup dishes. There’s not a lot of goat here though, but I didn’t expect much due to the price. It’s mostly bones with a bit of meat sticking on them. Not a bad snack though!

I had to rest for a while after all that food. The next destination was a good 4 hours later at night. I’ve heard of a place called Moody Cow Café which serves slices of cake priced RM 42 and above. 😱 I thought that was a shockingly expensive price tag for just a slice of cake! I was very intrigued. I had to go and see what they’re about.

Moody Cow Café is one of those Instagrammable cafes with a beautiful interior and seating arrangements. 📷 I love their vintage high-backed chairs and quiet environment. It is very dark inside though. I think that’s why they’re named moody – the temperamental lighting is a conscious ambiance cue.

I ordered their flagship Cempedak Madness (RM 42) cake. 🍰 They have several different premium ones, including a chocolate rum concoction but the owner recommended this as their bestseller. The RM 42 slice was generous, tall and thick. It’s made with tons of real cempedak fruit. It’s an extremely rich cake with lots of butter and cream and tropical fruit and I had to struggle to finish the slice.

The cake slices here are definitely meant for sharing. It’s too cloying for a single person to eat. 💀 I did enjoy the Cempedak Madness cake though. I know I’ll have enjoyed it more if I were hungry. It’s very expensive but worth a try if only for the sticker shock kudos you’ll get from social media.

Nasi Kandar Beratur is another Penang institution that I wanted to try. This place is famous for opening at 10 pm at night! 🌙 I went at 11 pm and there was a queue coming out the front. Luckily it moved quite fast. It’s popular among the locals for some late night noms.

They have a selection of freshly cooked dishes to pair with rice. I opted for a fried chicken leg, which I hear is a must have. I also added on prawn curry and sotong (squid) curry as well as a personal bag of papadom. 🍛

My meal cost RM 22.50. 💸 The fried chicken leg is very small, likely from a free range kampung chicken. I wasn’t too impressed by it. The squid and prawns were decent but nothing special. I prefer the dishes at Nasi Kandar Line Clear. I’m glad I tried this though.

I went to Kheng Pin Café the next morning for some Penang lorbak. 🍢 This is a very famous stall that’s right beside my hotel. It’s run by a friendly husband-and-wife duo. They’re really busy in the mornings – every table I saw had a plate of lorbak.

The lorbak is freshly deep fried before being delivered piping hot to you. I opted for a selection with everything plus century egg for RM 8. 🦆

This the second-best meal I had in Penang this trip, after the Siam Road CKT. The prawn fritters are particularly delicious and I love the ngor hiang too. 🍤 It goes very well with their house chili and lu dipping sauce. 10/10.

92 Armenian Bird’s Nest Delicacy is a café specializing in all things bird’s nest. 🐦 Mandy made a special request to tapau their bird’s nest egg tarts so I walked here after my lorbak breakfast to order some egg tarts.

This café has the best packaging I’ve seen. They lovingly bundle up the 2 egg tarts I ordered into a fine, red box and put that into a high-quality custom paper bag. The egg tarts are attached securely via custom holders and there’s a nook that fits a small vial of bird’s nest beside them. Very impressive. 🍮

The egg tarts are priced at RM 9 each. 🥚 You drizzle the bird’s nest soup over the egg tarts before you eat them. I wouldn’t say they’re very delicious but they’re not bad and the packaging is superb.

Next meal was herbal duck drumstick mee sua. 🍜 My Penang colleague picked me up and we wanted to go to a popular hawker center for lunch but he couldn’t find parking. It was close to our next meeting so I told him we can just eat anywhere there’s parking. It was pretty good – a nice, blander change to my heavily seasoned normal meals.

The next time I could eat was after work commitments, when I popped into a roadside durian stall to indulge in a durian. The durian seller said he only has 1 local durian and the others are from Thailand. 🇹🇭

I was told this is Ang Bak Kia – a local Penang breed. 😋 However, I’m not so sure as the Penang durian season is yet to start. This is likely a Thai durian.

It was RM 22 for this Ang Bak Kia durian. It satisfied by durian craving but I have serious doubts about the provenance of said durian. 🤔

I was in the Air Itam area for work but unfortunately the famous Air Itam Laksa was closed on that day. The local favorite Bisu Laksa @ Air Itam Market was also closing by the time I finished with work so I couldn’t eat there either. 🤫 I ended up patronizing a random CKT shop and had CKT with duck egg. It’s not as good as Siam Road, but sufficient to tide me over till my next trip.

I forced myself to scarf down one last meal before I flew back to KL. It was at a lor mee / prawn mee stall at Air Itam Market. After seeing my hesitation in deciding, the seller suggested mixing the two soup bases together. Big mistake. The unholy marriage tasted quite appalling. I didn’t enjoy it at all. 🤮

Before booking my Grab to the airport, I stopped by a local bakery down the road called Sin Ka Onn. The shop was the perfect place to wait and I’ve heard good things about their store made kaya. 🥥 I also grabbed a half-loaf of soft, pillowy bread to pair with the spread.

I thought that half loaf would be too much for the two of us. Wrong! I only ate two pieces before Mandy inhaled the rest! She really enjoyed it. 🍞

Penang Durian Trip 2016: Black Thorn, Hor Lor, Red Gold Dragon, Red Prawn

Durian Penang

It’s durian season in the best durian producing state in Malaysia! Yes, I’m talking about Penang. They have some of the highest quality durians around. My better half wanted to head up north to eat the King of Fruits so we made the trip over the weekend. We managed to eat four (4) different kinds of local durians at four different stalls scattered across the island state.

Black Thorn (Orchee, Duri Hitam)

Black Thorn Penang

This durian first came on the scene in late 2012. I was the first to blog about Black Thorn and couldn’t find any information except from what I was told by the durian sellers. This is an example of a durian marketed right, it has really blown up and name recognition and demand has spiked since its debut. It now goes for around RM 60 per kg in Penang and it’s one of the premium durians out there. I paid RM 77 for this 1.54 kg durian.

Ochee Durian

My better half has never had Black Thorn before. It was a little early in the season so I went fully expecting to be disappointed but was surprised to see a few stalls offering it it Balik Pulau. This one had two Black Thorn durians for RM 50/kg. I took the smaller one and it was a beautiful example! Black Thorn has a concave spikeless bottom with a black thorn sticking out (thus the name) and it’s very distinctive with a thick, round stem, longkang (drain) running down the middle like a Teka (Green Bamboo) and reddish orange fruit.

Duri Hitam

The Black Thorn we had was ultra creamy, sweet with a very mild bitter aftertaste. There’s almost no noticeable fibre component (unlike D2 Dato Nina durians) so it makes for good eating. These are organic durians with no pesticides and such so you can see a caterpillar trying to get at the flesh. Haha. Organic durians taste so much better. This is the second best durian we had in Penang. I like Black Thorn but if you want complexity in flavor, you can’t beat a Red Prawn.

Hor Lor (Labu)

Hor Lor

The name Hor Lor actually means “gourd” – so called coz it looks like a gourd. We had this in the middle of town, right beside Macalister Road. It’s RM 30 per kg, cost us RM 40 for this 1.3 kg durian.

Labu Durian

I like the shape of Hor Lor durians. The hourglass figure pleases my eyes as well as my sense of symmetry. The durian was slightly dry and one-dimensionally sweet. You’ll love Holo if you like sweet durians.

Hor Lor Durian

The seeds are small and flat too. Passable, but not the best.

Ang Kim Lin (Red Gold Dragon)

Ang Kim Lin

This is a rather unusual durian which we found at a random stall. It has 4 segments instead of the usual 5, which I found rather interesting. This is similar to Sarawak jungle durians – the green and soft spiked variety we call durian isu. The durian also had taste characteristics which was similar to durian isu, which startled me.

Red Gold Dragon

The Red Gold Dragon durian cost RM 25 per kg and was very hard to open due to the large amount of impenetrable skin at the seems. You have to slice into this durian and wedge it open, there’s no easy way to open it without a knife, even after it’s open. You know how you can just push down on the sides and it’ll peel away? Not this one…just look at the seemless middle.

Ang Kim

This durian was quite strong tasting in a green way, but not from being unripe. The flesh was quite soft and wet and comes off the flesh easily. It really tastes a lot like durian isu, but not as intense. This still had durio zibethinus characteristics. It’s an acquired taste. I’ll have to eat a lot more before I’ll start liking it, but I’m really glad I tasted it.

Red Prawn (Ang He, Udang Merah)

Red Prawn Durian

This is the best durian Penang has to offer. Some say Black Thorn has usurped the #1 spot but I’m sure most seasoned durian lovers would prefer the complexity of a Red Prawn. I certainly prefer a good Red Prawn to a Black Thorn durian. I spotted the dusty brown color and short spikes characteristic of a Red Prawn and asked how much it was. I got this durian for RM 84. It’s RM 50/kg and this is a 1.6 kg fruit.

Udang Merah Durian

It was perfect! The durian opened up to reveal beautiful salmon pink flesh and the crescent curve which contributed to its name. I’ve heard a lot of false etymologies concerning the name, the most plausible one is likely to be that its said to look like a red prawn by its side.

Ang He

This Red Prawn tasted really delicious, complex and bitter and sweet. It has so many levels of flavor going on. Delicious stuff! All the durians we had in Penang were super fresh too. They just fell from the tree the previous night, and the stalk shows no signs of cutting (unlike many durians you find in KL) nor were there split bottoms, indicating an old durian. It’s perfect, silky and smooth tasting heaven.

Penang Durian

We’ll love to go back for another feast later in the season when different durian varieties ripens!

The Six Hunan Ramen, M Mall Penang

Seafood Ramen

The Japanese actually consider ramen a Chinese dish. Udon and soba are the two most popular Japanese noodles while ramen was imported from China. However, since Japan has done it a lot better since the Meiji era, ramen is nowadays thought of as Japanese. Thus, it was a bit of a surprise to see a ramen restaurant that actively advertises their proud Chinese roots.

The Six Hunan Ramen

The Six Hunan Ramen is located in M Mall. It specializes in ramen from Hunan and the spicy food from the region. One of their bestsellers is Ramen with Braised Pork Rib (RM 16.80) which comes with a generous side of glistening pork rib. I originally wanted to order two different bowls of ramen but my better half was quite full so she had something light instead.

The Six Penang

I believe this is a relatively new restaurant since I couldn’t find any reviews online. The interior décor is also very pristine. I love how atmospheric the entire place is, from the wooden menu boards handing from the ceiling in string to the warm ambient lighting. We decided to pop in for dinner. This was the only non-hawker food place we went to in Penang.

The Six Ramen

Our waitress was a friendly girl dressed in traditional Chinese garb. All of the staff is dressed the same way, male and female. It’s a nice touch to complement the flavor and look of the place. Everything from the hanging green plants to the giant paper fan on the wall makes this feel like an oasis of calm. I like the way the sun comes in from the shuttered wooden blinds too.

Premium Ramen

I had the Premium Ramen with Fresh Abalone (RM 26.80). It looks quite impressive on the menu and I’m happy to report that it looks exactly the same when served to us. There are two large scallops, a couple of prawns, shark’s fin analog (pretty sure it’s not the real thing at this price), Shiitake mushroom and beautiful tiny dried abalone. The in-house made ramen is very toothsome and the clear broth was good.

Shanghai Steamed Pork Dumplings

My dear had the Shanghai Steamed Pork Dumplings (RM 12). The Six Hunan Ramen also serves various smaller dishes, appetizers as well as rice meals. We both ordered fruit juices since it’s priced so affordably. The watermelon and honeydew juice was just RM 5 each. The bill came up to RM 59.25 for the two of us, which is very reasonable.

Hunan-Ramen

The Six Hunan Ramen is an interesting place to have a different take on ramen. It’s not the usual Japanese franchise or local halal attempt at replicating ramen. This is a Chinese lamien (拉麺) establishment that specializes in the spicy cuisine from Hunan. I tried the house blend chilli and it was quite spicy (in a dry and salty way). I’ll come back again next time we’re in Penang to try the other ramen offerings.

Goldfish (Kim Hu) Durian

Goldfish Durian

Goldfish Durian is known locally as “kim hu” in Penang. Kim Hu is the Hokkien word for Goldfish. I have no idea why this durian is called Goldfish, maybe due to its large and round shape. smirk I had wanted to eat this right after the Susu Durian but was too full so I came back later at night with my better half and the kids.

Durian Goldfish

The Goldfish Durian is a big fruit with a short, thick stubby stem that weighed in at 2.4 kg. It was slightly cheaper at RM 16/kg so this one cost RM 38 (RM 46 inclusive of a bunch of rambutans). The durian tasted sweet to bittersweet and the flesh was nicely wrinkly with completely no fiber. The skin just comes off and it was very, very creamy.

Kim Hu Durian

I had specifically come to Penang for these varieties and wanted to have Ling Fong Jiao, 604, 600 durians etc but they’re all early season durians and Susu Durian, D15 Durian and Ganja Durians are the late season durians that were left. Most of the varieties here are available in George Town and meant for local consumption only. I was quite pleased at the chance of being able to sample the Kim Hoo Durian (Goldfish Durian). It was good – although the kids wouldn’t touch it, my dear liked it too. :)

Durian Susu (Milk Durian) in Penang – it really tastes like milk!

Susu Durian

Susu Durian! This literally means “Milk Durian” (Susu is the Malay word for milk) and it was one of the durians on my To Eat list in Penang. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this durian and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it.

Susu Durian Penang

However, I was a little wary about the durians I came across since they all didn’t have a stem. This is usually a VERY BAD sign – especially since all three (3) of the Susu Durians were missing their stem. The likelihood of all 3 falling on the stem (it happens, but rarely) is quite small so a durian missing its stem can mean a range of nefarious things – it was cut before it was ripe or a chemical agents were used to induce ripening.

Durian Susu

Nevertheless, since I’ve never had a Susu Durian before and this was the only stall carrying it, I took a chance. I really wanted to try the famous (among durian connoisseurs) Susu Durian. The husk can range from green to yellow and doesn’t seem to indicate ripeness, I chose my own for this one. This cost RM 18/kg and weighed in at 1.7 kg for a total of RM 31 for the durian.

Susu Penang

The Susu Durian was slightly overripe in some places, slightly under in some places and absolutely perfect in some. I want to emphasize the slightly bit – the over/under is barely noticeable, it just so happens that I was alone and had this durian to myself so I could think and savor at the same time. This could be due to its unusual shape or to possible abovementioned roguish intervention. I can’t really tell, to be honest.

Durian Milk

Amazingly, it has several different tastes in the durian – one segment was bittersweet to bitter and one *perfect* segment was intensely sweet, with only sweet tones and that one smelled and tasted remarkably like milk (which, I gather, is why it got the name). The flesh really tasted so much like cow’s milk that I was quite taken aback. A very nice durian, among the best I ate this year.

Milk Durian

There’s little to no fibre in the Milk Durian and the snow white flesh rates as one of the creamiest durian I ever had, in the literal sense. It’s as creamy as a good Black Thorn with some of the stickiness you’ll find in a Ganja Durian (also known as D158 Ganyao/Kan Yao/Tangkai Panjang). I highly recommend a Penang Susu Durian if you come across one. :)

Twin Report: D15 Durian and Ganja Durian (D158/Ganyao) from Penang

Durian Ganja

I had the chance to eat two unique Penang-bred durians when I was there last week. This is where I had the D15 Durian (known locally as chap goh hor – a Hokkien word meaning “Number 15 durian”) and Ganja Durian. The latter is actually the D158 clone and originated from Thailand, where it is known as Ganyao/Kan Yao. However, all the durians here are planted locally in Georgetown – these are true Penang durians.

Yen Penang

We were at the Gurney Drive hawker centre and I saw a durian stall owned by the friendly Yen. She had two types of durian on display – the D15 durian and the D158 durian and I wanted to eat both so I got one of each. They’ve both very different in terms of taste and texture, I personally preferred the Ganja durian more.

D15 Durian

D15 Durian

This is an odd shaped durian – as you can see from the photos, they’re very asymmetrical with a dusty yellow husk.

Penang 15 Durian

The D15 Durian goes for RM 18/kg and the fruit I chose weighed 2.1 kg. That comes up to a total of RM 38.

Durian D15

It has a tapering shape that goes from wide to narrow, like the top half of an hourglass. The thickness of the husk and the middle is noteworthy, as it makes it easy to recognize the D15 durian. The flesh is a pleasant orange hue the locals call ang bak (not to be confused with the durian, the term means red flesh).

D15 Penang

The taste of the durian is slightly bitter, with almost no fibre. The top part of the fruit (the widest section) yielded rather delicious flesh but the bottom part is too narrow and the seeds from there were mostly hard and inedible. This isn’t the same durian as Green Skin 15, which seems to be a variant or hybrid of D145 Green Skin. The D15 Durian is a decent late season durian that’s still available end of July/early August.

Ganja Durian (D158/Ganyao/Kan Yao/Tangkai Panjang)

D158 Ganyao

This strangely named durian actually means cannabis. The Sanskrit word ganja is local slang for weed and it’s said that this durian got its name from the addictive properties of its flesh. smirk I, for one, can attest to the awesomeness of this particular durian strain. It’s also RM 18/kg but heavier at 2.5 kg for RM 45.

Long Stem Durian

It’s quite likely that the Ganja Durian got its name from a mispronunciation of the original Thailand name for it – Ganyao or Kan Yao. Ganja is the same durian as Ganyao in Thailand but this is planted in Penang. It’s the D158 durian clone and you’ll recognize it straight away due to the extraordinarily long stem. The stem of this durian is easily more than 6 inches long and sticks out like a sore thumb.

Ganyao Durian

You can see the stem jut out longer than the actual durian in a lot of cases. The round nature of the durian and the large fruit makes it easy to identify as a D158 durian. It’s almost shaped like a heart – not the anatomical organ but the simplified <3 shape with two equal parts. It has golden white flesh with red seeds (!).

Red Seed Durian

I love the taste of the Ganja Durian. The flesh is sweet and very, very sticky – like peanut butter. It’s the first time I’ve ever had such a sticky durian, and the texture lingers in your mouth for a long time before it gets swallowed, again like PB.

D158 Durian

My better half though it was very fibrous but I really don’t think its fiber in the traditional sense when describing durians. It’s more like a matrix that’s spaced out so thinly that it holds the sticky flesh together. I don’t know if that makes sense but one thing’s for sure – there’s A LOT of flesh with a relatively small seed.

Kan Yao Durian

The Ganja Durian from Penang is soooo good it’s one of the best durians I’ve ever had. I’ll rate the D158 durian higher than Black Thorn or Musang King. There’s so much sticky flesh that I was happily eating each fluffy, pillow-like seed until I was licking my fingers. Highly recommended end-of-season durian, it truly deserves the name of Ganja.

Wonton Noodles @ Restaurant Pun Chun, Bidor

Wonton Noodles

This is the first place we stopped on the way up to Penang. We, in this case, was a bus-load of 25 people, all related, going on the largest family trip I’ve ever participated in (or seen, for that matter). Restaurant Pun Chun is famous for their wonton noodles – the huge wontons are made with a little bit of pork mince and a HUGE prawn.

Restaurant Pun Chun Bidor

Their wonton noodles has been hyped up way in advance by the rather dodgy looking tour guide (provided with the bus, don’t look at me). I’ve actually eaten here before, not here as in Bidor, but at a branch of this particular café. They’ve expanded to Klang Valley and their franchise in Kota Damansara is very close to where I live.

Pun Chun

Restaurant Pun Chun is also famous for their duck leg noodles, which is what we usually eat in Kota Damansara. It’s a soup based dish (although the noodles are served separately) but since we went so early in the morning, they didn’t have drumsticks/leg. The only cuts were breast and thigh so I passed on this. The soup is pretty good though, it’s what we call pek tin yok – a combination of 8 different herbs.

Wonton Mee

We had both the dry and soup version of wonton mee (RM 6.30 per bowl/plate) which comes with four (4) wontons per serving. The dry version has noodles tossed in soy sauce while I thought was nicer. The large prawn inside each wonton is a treat to behold – juicy and succulent, truly delicious when paired with some of their pickled green chillis.

Shrimp Wonton

It looks like a bit of a tourist trap with the aisles of chicken biscuit snacks and other popular munchies from Bidor but their wonton noodles are really quite enchanting. I would stop here again next time I drive up this way.

Short Mention:

Oh ya! I totally forgot to bring my Invisalign for this trip. I’ve been behind coz I forgot to bring them back to Sibu too (damn last minute packing) but the good thing is, you can still wear your current ones until you go back to your orthodontist. It’s not ideal but here’s a tip for anyone on Invisalign or planning to get on the treatment and travels a lot like myself – if you forget to pack your aligners, just wear your current one until you get back e.g. I’m on my 9th set of aligners and it’s the last one I have at home.

That means I’ll have to drop by Imperial Dental Bangsar to get my next few aligners. Since I forgot to pack them for this trip to Penang, I can just take a short 4 day break and wear them as soon as I get back home. If it’s been longer than a few days and the current ones won’t fit, go back one set i.e. start wearing your *previous* aligners (8th in my case) for a few days before going back on your current set of aligners. That’s why it’s important to keep your past aligners! :)

‘Volkswagen On Tour’ comes to Penang

volkswagen us

I caught up with the inaugural ‘Volkswagen On Tour‘ brand showcase that took place in Penang last week. We actually went twice coz it was so much fun! Admittedly, the first time was a bit of a short session coz I had to sort out my hotel and other things after I got stuck on the Penang Bridge after running out of gas. Haha!

bicycle popcorn

There is popcorn, test drives, and a play pen for the kids. This all comes at a rather reasonable admission fee – it’s free! Yup, it’s the classic Volkswagen hospitality in action here, which I’ve experienced to my delight on a trip to Germany last year.

polo r wrc
The Polo R WRC that just won the FIA World Rally Championships 2013

Volkswagen On Tour‘ will literally tour the entire nation – there are 13 stops all over Malaysia, so it’ll be coming to a place near you soon! It’s an invitation to everyone for an exclusive brand experience right at your doorstep.

volkswagen tour penang

It’s a lot of fun, I managed to catch the press conference where Ms Petra Schreiber (Director of Marketing & Communications, Volkswagen Malaysia) was holding court and fielding questions from the media.

driving gti simulator

I went back again the next day. I wanted to collect all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that forms a coaster. There are a lot of activities you can do at the ‘Volkswagen On Tour’ roadshow – my favorite being the Golf GTI simulator.

gti simulator

This isn’t something that you can get to see in arcades – the setup is so realistic that your *entire bucket seat* moves and you really get thrown around a bit if you drive into gravel beside the virtual track at high speeds. I know people who set up expensive steering wheel and pedal combos to play racing simulation games at home.

driving simulator

Prepared to be blown away! You’ve never seen anything like this. There are even pistons to move your seat around the 3-screen immersion Golf GTI simulator – you really get the exhilaration of driving on track that I actually flinched when I made a fast and tight corner. :)

gti puzzle

You get a piece of the puzzle that forms a coaster after you experience each station.

popcorn challenge

There is another interesting one called Popcorn Challenge which uses a clean source of energy (namely, you) to power a popcorn machine. A stationary bicycle is hooked up and your kinetic energy from pedaling the bike makes the corn pop.

popcorn

You can have the satisfaction of eating the popcorn that you’ve just made with your own energy after that too!

shout out loud

There is also an interactive station called Shout Out Loud where you can rally four (4) people to speak into each of the microphones at each corner of a model city to light it up. The louder you are, the more intense the blue light becomes.

think blue wall

It’s a brilliant way to showcase their ‘Think Blue.’ philosophy which is all about fuel efficiency and educating the public on carbon emissions for a sustainable future, as well as how Volkswagen is applying it to their award-winning automotive technology for a better tomorrow. Guess which one is the message we wrote?

ISOFIX

There are exhibits where you can familiarize yourself with Volkswagen’s advanced safety technology like their range of child safety seats and ISOFIX (child seat anchor). This would be of interest to parents with small children or people who’re planning to have kids!

kids station

There is a place for kids to learn and play too, which is great for parents with small children. The kids can have age-appropriate fun and learning while you get your own fun and learning in…test driving the latest Volkswagen models!

test drive

It’s the most popular station so remember to sign up early while you wait your turn.

volkswagen test drive

There’s also a ‘Volkswagen On Tour’ photo contest where you can snap a photo of yourself with a complete coaster puzzle.

interactive stations

You can get each piece of the puzzle by going to each of the stations (Popcorn Challenge, Test Drive etc) and after you’ve completed it, the redemption counter will give you a free gift for completing all the stations.

Volkswagen On Tour

You just need to post a photo of yourself with the complete coaster with the #VolkswagenOnTour hastag on either Instagram or Facebook and tag @VolkswagenOnTour or the Volkswagen Malaysia Facebook page respectively (remember to follow the accounts first) and stand a chance to win one of nine prizes, including an extended two week test drive with any of your favorite Volkswagen models!

coaster puzzle

It’s really a lot of fun for the whole family and you get to experience the latest (and eat some popcorn you made with your own energy while you’re at it).

volkswagen tour schedule

We had a blast and we’re looking forward to the Selangor stop of the tour! ‘Volkswagen On Tour‘ will be heading to 13 locations nationwide between now till March 2014. Get more details about the stop nearest to you at www.volkswagenontour.com.my.



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