We visited Malaysia - Ash's Dad's birthplace - for a New Year's break. Penang is perhaps the most delicious destination I've travelled to, and we'll definitely return. Some tips for you below.
164A, Lebuh Campbell, Georgetown, +604 262 1076
In operation since 1907, Hameediyah is considered the home of Penang's best mamak cuisine. Order the nasi biriyani, chicken kapitan, beef rendang and mutrabak.
Joo Hooi Cafe
475 Jalan Penang, Georgetown
A favourite among locals and tourists, this coffee shop serves classic Chinese hawker delicacies such as lor bak, char kway teow, teochew cendol and assam laksa.
Kafe Khoon Hiang
358 Jalan Dato Keramat, Georgetown
Kafe Khoon Hiang's trademark dish - ah leng char kway teow - is regarded the best in Penang.
Oriental Hotel, 105 Jalan Penang, Georgetown, +604 263 7411
Kashmir is much-loved for its tandoori chicken and naan. The service is effusive, but it's worth it.
Paramount Hotel, 48F, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, Georgetownm +604 227 4530
The beachfront Ocean Green is one of Penang's oldest seafood restaurants and is famous for its chilli crab and salt and pepper mantis prawns. Hot tip: Don't wear white!
Perut Rumah Nyonya Cuisine
17 Jalan Kelawei, Georgetown, +604 227 9917
Housed in an old bungalow, Perut Rumah is your go-to for nyonya cuisine. Order the stir-fried eggplant in sambal, pai-tee of crispy fried shells stuffed with sautéed shredded vegetables and roti babi.
18 & 20, Lebuh Carnarvon, Georgetown, +6012 981 5117
Ash's favourite, Tek Sen serves Chinese cuisine in a charming shop house setting. Their signature sticky sweet double-cooked pork is a Penang must.
Yeng Keng Cafe & Bar
362 Lebuh Chulia, Georgetown, +604 262 2177
Yeng Keng is a favourite for Hainanese cuisine, and is headed up by one of the oldest working chefs on the island. Their courtyard is a nice spot for a post-amble drink.
Jalan Chowrasta, Georgetown
This market has been in operation since the late 1800s, and continues to serve locals daily from early until late. We bought nutmeg oil, sandalwood soap, fluoro plastic hair combs, dried spices and fruit ices. A mecca for fresh food ogling.
Pengkalan Weld, Georgetown
Founded in the 19th century, the Clan Jetties are Chinese villages built on stilts along wooden piers. There are eight different clans that still reside here, with each individual jetty named for their surname. Spend a morning walking around the jetties - jutting out into the ocean, they are strange yet beautiful settlements.
Lebuh Muntri, Georgetown, +604 634 0285
The Hainan Temple is home to the patron saint of seafarers, the goddess Mar Chor, and has recently been restored. A lovely alternative to the large and touristy Kek Lok Si Temple.
Travel by tuk-tuk to Little India at twilight (we went on the way to Kebaya, more below) and take in the stalls of floral offerings, incense, saris and sandals.
Nazlina Spice Station
71 Lorong Stewart, Georgetown, +6012 453 8167
We joined the effervescent Nazlina for a day of market shopping at the Campbell Street Market (once a Muslim cemetery known as the 'Corpse Jungle') where we witnessed coconuts being ground for milk and chickens slaughtered for curry, then cooking (we learnt how to make assam laksa and chicken korma). Be sure to purchase her recipe cards upon leaving her row house school.
Lorong Kulit Flea Market
Lorong Kulit, Georgetown
Penang's sole flea market, Lorong Kulit sells a bit of everything and is particularly good for eclectic items and antiques. We bought traditional 'good morning' emblazoned teatowels, palm fibre scrubbies and children's toys. Open Saturday and Sunday, 8am-2pm.
Jalan Clove Hall, Georgetown, +604 229 4818
We loved the pared back Peranakan atmosphere of Clove Hall, a restored colonial mansion originally part of a plantation. Perfectly situated a 15-minute walk from town, with the sea, hawker markets and restaurants nearby, Clove Hall has just six suites and is run by the most gorgeous couple. What I wouldn't give for one of their omelettes for breakfast, or lychee juices by the pool, right now!
Seven Terraces, Stewart Lane, Georgetown, +604 264 2333
Restored by the same award-winning duo as Clove Hall, Seven Terraces is a conversion of a grand row of Anglo-Chinese terraces into a luxe boutique hotel in the centre of town. Our degustation dinner for Ash's birthday at the in-house restaurant, Kebaya, was one of my all-time best.