Street Stories

Street Stories: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling

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Story of the Street

Pitt Street or Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling is one of the oldest roads in George Town. It was laid out after Light Street. It was named after William Pitt the Younger, the Prime Minister of Great Britain when Penang was founded in 1786. The street is called Koan-im-têng-chêng (观音亭前) in Hokkien which meant in front of the Goddess of Mercy Temple. Meanwhile, some locals call it Yâh-kha-kay (椰角街) which meant the street under the coconut grove. In the past, there was a large police station in front of the temple. Thus, Toā-ba-laí is another name of the street, which meant big police station. The street has been officially renamed as Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling since the 1990s.

The nickname of Pitt Street is the Street of Harmony as there are four different places of worship located within metres of one another along the street. The Kapitan Keling Mosque was built in 1801. While British administrators and Europeans resided at the northern end of Pitt Street, St. George’s Church was built in 1816. Meanwhile the Chinese built the Kong Hock Keong Temple, which is also known as the Goddess of Mercy Temple in the early 18th century. Then, the Hindus also constructed the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in 1833. The nickname also reflects the harmonious coexistence of various religions and cultures that have lived here for centuries.

As the Indian Muslim part of town, there are numerous of Indian Muslim eateries around the area. Meanwhile, there is also a row of Indian Muslim jewellery shops upon crossing Chulia Street. George Town’s money changers are a close-knit Indian Muslim community with about a third of them originating from the same village in India. Hence, there are a number of money changers along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling too.

Significant Buildings

Kapitan Keling Mosque

Kapitan Keling Mosque is the oldest and largest mosque in George Town. The Penang’s first Indian Muslim settlers (East Indian Company troops) built it in 1801. The Indo-Moorish structured complex is surrounded by low walls and topped with Moghul-style copper domes. The mosque was named after the ‘Kapitan’ of the Keling (a leader of the South Indian community similar to the leader of the Chinese community), Cauder Mohuddeen Merican. It was once used as Penang’s state mosque when the construction of the Penang State Mosque at Air Itam road took place in the 1970s. The mosque was originally a small single storey brick mosque. Over the years, the mosque has been expanded many times to its present scale, the largest mosque in George Town, Penang. 

St. George’s Church
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St. George’s Church is a 19th century Anglican church. It is the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia. Convict labour from East India Company built the church in 1817. The Church was built with a combination of Neoclassical, Georgian and English Palladian architecture styles. Furthermore, the interior is pastel blue with marble floors. Besides, there is an elegant Victorian style pavilion outside the main building on the church ground as a memorial to Sir Francis Light. Hence, the St. George’s Church is one of the most impressive colonial buildings in George Town. 

Goddess of Mercy Temple
Goddess of Mercy Temple (Kuan Yin Teng)  Street Stories: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling PittStreet 37 1024x684

The Goddess of Mercy Temple is also known as Kuan Yin Teng or Kong Hock Keong (Cantonese-Hokkien Temple). It is the oldest Chinese temple and also one of the most important temples in Penang. It was built in 1728 through the joint efforts of the early Chinese settlers, especially the Hokkien and Cantonese communities. Besides religious purposes, the temple is also used for social functions until the establishment of the Penang Chinese Town Hall. The temple was originally dedicated to Mazu, a sea goddess worshipped by the Hokkiens. Then, the temple’s main deity was changed from Mazu to Guan Yin when the temple underwent renovation in 1824. Additionally, the temple is also one of the most magnificent Chinese architecture style structures in northern Malaysia. 

Penang Chinese Town Hall
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Penang Chinese Town Hall was established in 1881. It was originally intended to resolve the controversy between the Hokkien and Cantonese communities. Besides, Penang’s Chinese merchants founded Penang Chinese Town Hall in order to take over the economic and social functions of the Kuan Yin Teng Temple. In the 1980s, it was rebuilt into its current 12-storey office block. Meanwhile, it also plays an active role through involvement in Chinese cultural events until today.

Sri Mahamariamman Temple

The Arulmigu Sri Mahamariamman Temple was built in 1833. It is the oldest Hindu temple in Penang. Moreover, it is a typical example of Hindu architecture, built in the south Indian Dravidian style. It is located on Queen Street and the back entrance is on Pitt Street (Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling). In addition, it is dedicated to the Hindu deity, Sri Muthu Mariamman, which is considered a motherly power figure, a goddess of mercy and patron deity of the peasants of southern India. 

The Star Office
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The Star Office is tucked within a colonial three-storey building. It was first used as a godown and a dispensary for the distribution of opium and alcohol in 1906. The property was later owned by a millionaire from Penang, Loh Boon Siew. He then opened Malaysia’s first Honda showroom within the building. In 1971, The Star (Malaysia’s most popular English-language newspaper) was founded in George Town with the building as its headquarters. Since then, the building has been known as The Star Office. After that, The Star’s headquarters was moved to Petaling Jaya and its Penang head office to Bayan Lepas. Its reporters are still using The Star Office. The building now provides space for Areca Books, the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra, a resource centre and an exhibition centre.    

Where to Stay

Broadway Budget Hotel  
Broadway Budget Hotel  Street Stories: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling PittStreet 39 1024x576

Broadway Budget Hotel is located within the Little India area and Chinatown. It is clean, tidy and includes all the necessary facilities. It offers a contemporary, quiet and comfortable place to stay. For instance, the room types cover from Standard Room to Triple Room, which could accommodate up to 5 people in a room. In addition, some of the rooms even provide views of the city or Swettenham Pier.

Red Inn Court
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Red Inn Court is a boutique eco-guesthouse located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Every stay becomes a memorable experience” characterises the hospitality one can expect from Red Inn Court. They offer two main types of rooms which are King & Queen Rooms and Two & Dormitory Rooms. However, only Queen Rooms come with an ensuite shower and toilet while other rooms come with shared showers/ toilets. 

What to See

Street Art: “Bullock Cart Wheel” Sculpture
Street Art: “Bullock Cart Wheel” Sculpture  Street Stories: Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling PittStreet 38 1024x684

The “Bullock Cart Wheel” Sculpture was installed in 2012. This sculpture at Pitt Street is based on a cartoonist Reggie Lee for the “Marking of George Town” project. The description of the sculpture is: “In the days when your money could be “as big as a bullock cart wheel”, this was a popular rest stop for the limousines of the time.”

This “Bullock Cart Wheel” sculpture provides two different historical insights. Pitt Street was where bullock carts used to park during the early 20th century. The second insight is about the ½-cent Straits Settlement coin which is an idiom in Penang Hokkien. Bullock Cart Wheel (Gu-chia-lean) means a stingy person, whose ½-cent is the size of the bullock cart wheel.

Street Art: “Tok Tok Mee” Sculpture
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The “Tok Tok Mee” Sculpture is located at the junction of Pitt Street with China Street, facing the Goddess of Mercy Temple. It is captured by a cartoonist, Tang Mun Kian in the caricature for Sculpture at Work. The description of the sculpture is: “Tok tok mee is so called because hawkers would strike a ‘tok tok’ sound to signal their presence.” The sculpture tells how the itinerant hawkers of wanton mee, which is also known as tok tok mee, announce their arrival.

Gerakbudaya Bookshop
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Gerakbudaya Bookshop is a small independent bookstore located in a row of shophouses along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling. Founded by Gareth Richards, a researcher, writer and editor, the bookstore opened in 2014. Apart from the large chain bookstores which offer popular titles, Gerakbudaya focuses on literary fiction, poetry, translations and titles from smaller, independent publishers. The team is very passionate about books that matter. Hence, they have a collection of over 6,000 titles in stock ranging from books about Penang, current affairs, politics, to arts and culture, lifestyle and even Southeast Asian studies. In 2018, the second bookshop is opened at Beach Street. The new Gerakbudaya Bookshop concentrates more on non-fiction titles.

What to Eat

Nasi Kandar Beratur

As its name suggests, there is always a queue at the stall. But do you know that the official name for this Nasi Kandar Beratur is Restoran Liyaqatali? It is one of the most popular nasi kandar stalls in Penang. This restaurant offers an extensive selection of dishes ranging from beef kurma, fried chicken to squid curry. Meanwhile, there are actually two different managements at the same stall. Nasi Kandar Beratur starts at 10pm until early morning while another team operates during the day.

Nasi Kandar Imigresen

Besides Nasi Kandar Beratur, there are a few spots that are not so famous but serve equally great Nasi Kandar in the city centre. For instance, Nasi Kandar Imigresen located at Lorong Pasar, off Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling. Just like any other Nasi Kandar, it serves fried chicken, cabbage and various curries with mild spiciness. In addition, the price is considered relatively wallet-friendly too.

Fok Kee Food Centre
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Fok Kee Food Centre is a Chinese coffee shop which was previously known as Jolly Cafe. This restaurant serves Chinese cooked meals. For instance, the dishes include fish head curry, sweet & sour pork, claypot soy sauce pork and more.

Hai Beng Lor Mee
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This Hainan lor mee stall claims to have been operating since 1957. It is located in Hai Beng Coffee Shop, which is across Stewart Lane from the Goddess of Mercy Temple. Their broth is the speciality that attracts lots of patrons in the area. The broth here is less sticky compared to those we usually had. In addition, it has a tangy and nice spiced taste.   

Bean Sprout Cafe
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Bean Sprout Cafe is located right opposite of the Goddess of Mercy Temple. This two-storey cafe has a strong rustic vibe from its exterior to interior. Though the price is slightly higher, the menu offers a wide range of western cuisines and good coffee. For instance, their best sellers include Avocado Toast 3 Ways, Avocado Pesto Spaghetti top with Avocado chips, Classic Pancake and more. Moreover, it’s an Instagram-worthy cafe to chill and hang out with friends and family.

Cafe Little Angel
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This is a nice place that offers cheap local and western food. It is a small restaurant with no outside seating, no inside frills. They offer a very wide selection of Chinese dishes such as Fried Rice, Claypot Mee, Penang Laksa, Hokkien Mee, and even English Breakfast. The atmosphere is rather authentic as many Chinese locals would have their breakfast or brunch here.

Street Stories

Street Stories: Muntri Street

Story of the Street

Muntri Street or Lebuh Muntri is a street that leads from Penang Road to Stewart Lane at the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is also the street that crosses Leith Street. The street may have been named after the Mentri of Larut, Ngah Ibrahim, son of Long Jaafar. Hence, Muntri is the old word for Mentri. However, some mentioned that Muntri was actually referring to the high ranking colonial officials that stayed in Leith Street and Muntri Street. 

Cantonese associations and guilds dominate the street. There are many associations, clanhouses and a Hainanese Temple located along Muntri Street that has more than 100 years of history. According to the locals, traditional Cantonese black and white nannies were staying here as a group. Mah-cheh (妈姐) is the name for these ladies who wore white top with black silk trousers. They are a group of very professional and reliable maids who worked in the European colonial officials’ families. Therefore, some old Chinese also called this road as Mah-cheh-kay (妈姐街). 

Lam Wah Ee Hospital Old Building street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 23 1024x684

Furthermore, the first hospital for the poor, Lam Wah Ee, was founded here in 1883. Hence, Muntri Street is also known as Lâm-hoa-i īⁿ-ke (南华医院街) in Hokkien, named after the hospital that used to be here. Another Hokkien name for this street is Sin-hái-lâm-kong-si-ke (新海南公司街), which meant new Hainanese association street.    

Muntri Street has one of the best-preserved facades of Straits Eclectic style houses. It is narrow but lined by exquisitely refurbished Straits Eclectic style double storey shophouses. In this recent decade, trendy boutique and budget hotels, modern cafes and street art has took over that adds beautiful colours and vibrance to this street. 

Significant Buildings

Hainan Temple 天后宫
Hainan Temple 天后宫 at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 51

Penang Hainan Temple is also known as Thean Hou Kong Temple. The Hainanese community established the temple in 1866. Thean Hou Kong temple is dedicated to the Taoist Deity Mazu (妈祖), who is believed to be the protector of seafarers. The temple was then moved to its current location on Muntri Street in 1895 with the fundings and donations collected from the faithful devotees.

Penang Hainan Temple street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street Thean Hou Kong Temple Penang
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In 1925, Penang Kheng Chew Hooi Kuan Clan Association (槟州琼州会馆) was formed with the temple as its headquarters. The name Kheng Chew is a reference to the village on Hainan Island where the temple’s founders originated. The association established Aik Hua School in 1955. The school was constructed next to the Hainan Temple. Then, the name of the association was changed to the Hainan Clan Association in 1991 in order to embrace a wider ethnic identity. 

The temple is built in the Hainanese style. Moreover, the elaborate stone carvings on the front of the building which were created by craftsmen were brought over from China in 1995 to mark the centenary of the temple’s construction. 

Wooi Ning Wooi Koon 会甯会馆
Wooi Ning Wooi Koon 会甯会馆 at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 52

Wooi Ning Wooi Koon is a Cantonese district association located next to Aik Hua School. Now, the ground floor of the building has been turned into a business premise, which is a textile wholesaler.

Penang Goldsmith Association
Penang Goldsmith Association at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 27

Another name for Penang Goldsmith Association is “Penang Ta Kam Hong”. It is the biggest Chinese goldsmith association in Malaysia. Besides, founded in 1832, it is also the oldest goldsmith association in Penang. The members from the association are mostly goldsmiths of Cantonese descent who came from Guangdong Province in southern China. Meanwhile, the building also serves as the guild’s temple, Voo Cheng Koo Mew. It was built in 1903 to worship the patron deity of goldsmiths, Wu Ching.

Penang Sao Lim Athletic Association 
Penang Sao Lim Athletic Association at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 19

Penang Sao Lim Athletic Association is a martial arts association in Penang. This association was established by the Buddhist monk, Monnik Sik Koh Sum. It was founded in 1956 to teach the martial arts to the locals. The term “Sao Lim” is the Hokkien pronunciation for Shaolin Kung Fu (少林功夫).

Leong See Kah Miew Old Building 梁氏家庙
Leong See Kah Miew Old Building 梁氏家庙 at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 33

Leong See Kah Miew is the clan association of the Chinese holding the surname Leong. The name translated as Leong Clan Ancestral Temple. It was founded by people surnamed Leong, who hailed from Guangdong in 1871. The old clan temple was used until 1966 when the building was too old for repair. Thus, the three-storey association premise has moved to Perak Road and officially opened in 2020.

Koo Suo Kwong Choon Tong 姑苏广存堂
Koo Suo Kwong Choon Tong 姑苏广存堂 at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 12

Koo Suo Kwong Choon Tong is a Cantonese tea shop and restaurant association. It occupies a double-storey townhouse at Muntri Street. 

Where to Stay

Modern Hotel Georgetown
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Modern Hotel Georgetown is a newly renovated hotel. It is residing in a classy heritage Art Nouveau building which was a budget hotel. In fact, this Instagram-worthy hotel includes a mixture of vintage and modern look with a classy black and white interior.

The building was built in 1920 and has served as retail shops, with one of its significant business occupied by an optician. In fact, the hotel has preserved one of its signage ‘The World Optical Co’ at the storefront. If you have ever noticed, the second floor of the building has always been ‘Modern Hotel’.

One century later, the whole building is refurbished with its heritage architecture preserved, and they had their grand opening in January 2020. The hotel offers 5 types of room, ranging from Superior Single Room to Deluxe Double Room Bathtub with Balcony. With its strategic location and spacious room, it is one of the best staycations in George Town.

The Southern Boutique Hotel
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The Southern Boutique Hotel is housed in a double-storey heritage building that was built in 1924. This contemporary boutique hotel uses white colour as their main design concept. For instance, the clean lines and classic elements give a strong vibe on the grand elegance of the British colonial era. The hotel provides 3 types of room, such as Superior Double Room, Deluxe Double Room, and Family Room.

Ryokan Muntri Boutique Hostel
Ryokan Muntri Boutique Hostel at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 44

Ryokan Muntri Boutique Hostel is a modern hostel that is housed in a colonial-style building in the historical district. Additionally, the hostel is a 8 Times Winner of Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence Award Book Direct for the lowest rates guaranteed. This hostel offers 7 types of room, ranging from private rooms, mixed dormitory rooms to only female dormitory rooms. Though the rooms are not spacious, the hostel provides great facilities and good breakfast.

Muntri Grove
Muntri Grove at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 54

Muntri Grove was originally a row of 10 modest houses built as living quarters for the Mah-cheh. These double-storey houses were built in the 19th century. Then, in 2013, restoration works started. The interior of the hotel uses minimal palettes to create contemporary lines which provide a light and airy ambiance to the rooms. However, there is only one type of room here, which are Deluxe King Rooms that cater to couples who want a littler romantic experience.

Muntri Mews

Muntri Mews is a collection of Edwardian era buildings that was transformed into a contemporary and affordable luxury accommodation located in the heart of George Town. This hotel combines both antique and modern furnishings while preserving the Straits Eclectic aesthetic. They offer three main types of room, which are Mews Standard Room, Terrace Suite, and Loft Suite. 

Muntri House Heritage Homestay
Muntri House Heritage Homestay at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 8

Muntri House sets in a traditional Chinese clan house. This homestay provides basic, comfortable air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi. Furthermore, they offer 6 types of room, ranging from private rooms to dormitory rooms. 

What to See

Street Art: “One Leg Kicks All” Sculpture
Street Art: “One Leg Kicks All” Sculpture at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 42

The “One Leg Kicks All” steel-rod sculpture at Muntri Street is based on a caricature by Tang Mun Kian. This sculpture portrays the characteristics of a Mah-cheh (妈姐), or some called them as “Amah” (阿嬷). As their jobs and responsibilities cover the whole work from cooking, cleaning to caring for children, they called themselves “Yat-keok-tet” which means “one leg kicks all” in Cantonese. 

Street Art: “Win Win Situation” Sculpture
Street Art: “Win Win Situation” Sculpture at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 53 1024x684

The “Win Win Situation” sculpture is based on the artwork by Julian “Lefty” Kam. Muntri Street was the commercial trading link between the Orang Kaya Mantri or Ruler of Larut, and the Chinese traders of Penang who controlled the mining and melting of tin ore. This sculpture portrays a Chinese trader called Tauke greeting the ruler of Larut, Orang Kaya, before making deal of tin trading.

Mural: “Little Girl in Blue” aka “Kungfu Girl”
Mural: “Little Girl in Blue” aka “Kungfu Girl” street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 24

The “Little Girl in Blue” is another name for “Kungfu Girl”. It is an amazing street mural by Ernest Zacharevic. The model for the mural was apparently an eight-year-old girl at an art school. The face expression as well as the light on her clothes and hair making it very lively. Besides, the size of the mural is very impressive and the windows are a part of the art piece too.  

Mural: “Big Mouth” by Gabriel Pitcher
Mural: “Big Mouth” by Gabriel Pitcher at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 45

The “Big Mouth” mural by Gabriel Pitcher is painted above an archway at the Ryokan Muntri Boutique Hostel. This mural is very creative as Gabriel makes excellent use of an awkward space above and to the sides of an archway.  

What to Eat

Tai Buan Porridge 大满清香粥
Tai Buan Porridge 大满清香粥 at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 57

Tai Buan Porridge serves one of the classic Teochew porridge. Teochew porridge is served as a banquet of vegetables, egg, fish and meats with plain rice porridge. For instance, some of the must-order dishes include braised pork, pork belly, braised duck, fried egg with preserved turnips, and more. As it is quite popular, the place is crowded during the peak hours. 

Gala House Restaurant and Bar
Gala House Restaurant and Bar at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 58

Gala House is a retro-themed restaurant and bar that started its business in 2013. The menu features two different sets for lunch and dinner respectively. It offers Asian Western fusion cuisines. For instance, some of their special dishes include Clams in Wine & Fresh Herb Broth, Kimchi Salmon Spaghetti, Cheddar Ranch, Orang Kaya Coffee and more.

Sri Wangi Selera Ibunda 
Sri Wangi Selera Ibunda at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 56

Sri Wangi Selera Ibunda is a restaurant that offers Malay food. The owner is a pair of husband and wife which the husband is from Bangladesh and the wife is from Indonesia. They serve authentic Malay food such as Nasi Goreng Biasa, Ayam Merah, Ayam Penyet, and more.

Emily’s Steakhouse
Emily's Steakhouse at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 50

Originated from the UK, Emily’s Steakhouse has two branches in Malaysia, one in Penang and the other one in Kuala Lumpur. Previously located at Victoria Street, the restaurant expanded and moved to Muntri Street in September 2020. With the perfect tenderness and taste, this place serves one of the best steaks in town.

Mews Cafe
Mews Cafe at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 47

Mews Cafe is most probably one of the finest cafes in Muntri Street. It serves authentic Malay food in cozy restaurant settings. They prepare their food with fresh local ingredients as well as homemade sauces and spices. However, the price is slightly expensive. Some of their must-try dishes are Nasi Lemak, Beef Rendang, Ikan Sambal, Chai Creme Brulee and more.

Hungry Chef
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Previously known as Behind 50, Hungry Chef is a newly open cafe that serves Western cuisine. The cafe has a strong rustic and vintage vibe as it’s decorated with a lot of grandma’s house antique. Hungry Chef serves Chicken Chop, Spaghetti, Burgers and more! In addition, it opens from Tuesday to Sunday, 4pm to 12am.

Seven Skulls
Seven Skulls at Muntri Street street stories Street Stories: Muntri Street MuntriStreet 26

Seven Skulls is a cocktail bar located at Muntri Street. It is a lovely and classy place where you can enjoy chilled beer and occasional live band. It is not too noisy and thus, the vibes and energy here is suitable for networking and gathering.

Mish Mash
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Just a few doors next to Seven Skulls, Mish Mash is also a cocktail bar located at Muntri Street. It provides a welcoming mood, and casual, old-school European-style vibe. Mish Mash is renowned for cocktails. On the other hand, they also serve dinner, single malt whisky as well as craft beers. 

Food Stories

Food Stories: Cafe De Ohana

Cafe De Ohana is a dog-friendly cafe that can accommodate small to medium breed canines. Ohana is a Hawaiian term meaning “family”, hence, the cafe hopes to create a warm, homey and cozy atmosphere. 

Moreover, pets are not just a source of entertainment or an addition to the household, but they are actually our family. You can’t deny the reality that there is a special bond between dogs and pet owners. Thus, it is easy to see why dogs have been dubbed “man’s best friend”.

penang cafe Food Stories: Cafe De Ohana CafeDeOhana 5

“As dog lovers and also having 8 dogs as pets, we uphold the spirit of loving dogs and also want to promote healthy eating among fidos.”

Co-founders of Cafe De Ohana, Junyang and Jia Wen

Emphasizing on the importance of providing healthy dog food, they adhere to the use of natural ingredients and handmade dog food. Furthermore, the co-founders are equipped with relevant knowledge through prior experience and training overseas.

The Interior

The entire interior focuses on clean, simple lines, minimalism and functionality. The wall painted in light, muted colours and light-theme wood as their furniture on the second floor provide a pleasant and relaxed environment. Customers are requested to take off their shoes to enter the upper floor in order to ensure hygiene. 

Besides, the ground floor is designed in a modern and simple style. Part of the dining area is decorated with picnic style and some antique which make the corner Instagrammable. In short, the cafe is separated into 2 spaces: ground floor is opened to diners while the upper floor is meant for fidos and dog lovers to mingle. 

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Some of the antiques placed at the corner for decoration.

The Menu

Cafe De Ohana’s menu covers rice bowl, spaghetti and freshly baked tartlet. Some of the best-sellers are Tri-colour Chicken Rice Bowl (stir fried chicken cubes with soy sauce, stir fried cabbage, julienned omelette), Tonkatsu Rice with Chicken, Spicy Salmon Rice Bowl, Spicy Asian Style Spaghetti, Carbonara Spaghetti and more. Meanwhile, Oreo Milo and Strawberry Creamy Fruity are their signature beverages.

In addition, there is also a healthy menu specifically crafted for dogs. Cafe De Ohana also plans to curate more healthy food for dogs with the use of Chinese medicine as ingredients in the future. 

Watch the video to get to know more!

The Info

Address: 302A, Jalan Tun Dr. Awang, South Home, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang.

Business hours: Wednesday – Monday 11.00am – 9.00pm (Closed on Tuesday)

Contact: 04-305 2564, Facebook, Instagram

Food Stories

Food Stories: Yum Cha Tea Parlour

“Jom, yum cha weyy!” Is this the way you invite your friends and family to hang out? With the concept of creating a place where diners can have a good bonding time with their friends and family, Yum Cha Tea Parlour was established in December 2019.  

“得闲饮茶” is pronounced as “Dak Han Yum Cha” in Cantonese, which means “let’s meet up during your free time”. Having prior experience in the field of western-style food & beverages, the co-founders ambition to try something different.

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“We incorporate the vibe of Eastern and Oriental, from interior design to our carefully crafted menu. We hope to create a modern and cozy space where people can gather and enjoy Chinese cuisines.”

Co-founder of Yum Cha Tea Parlour, Vince

The Interior

Tucked in the core zone of the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site, the interior design of Yum Cha Tea Parlour was inspired by Hong Kong Cha Chaan Teng. Referring to the designs and details from Britain, Taiwan and Shanghai in the 50s and 60s, the restaurant remained the classic floor tiles. 

Using retro dark green as the main colour palette, it focuses on modern yet vintage design styles. Besides, the tables are specially customised with drawers, which were inspired by mahjong tables.  

The Menu

Yum Cha Tea Parlour focuses on modernised Chinese cuisines. Inspired by Shanghainese styles of cooking, their signatures include Shanghainese Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) and Pan Fried Pork Buns (Sheng Jian Bao). Moreover, the menu covers comfort food such as rice and noodle dishes. 

For instance, some of their must-try include Shanghai Noodle Soup (rich pork broth, braised pork belly slices, thin noodles, topped with scallions), Golden Crab Noodle (crab meat, crab roe, crispy pork lard, thin noodles, topped with scallions), Minchi Rice, and Mapo Tofu Rice.

Emphasizing on bringing out the better experience of savouring contemporary Chinese cuisines, Yun Cha insists on hand-making Xiao Long Bao and Sheng Jian Bao. Furthermore, the signature beverages are H.K Style Milk Tea, Yuan Yang, and H.K Style Lemon Tea. Besides, they actually start serving cocktails at night too.

Watch the video below to know the full story!

The Info

Address: 84, Church Street, 10200 George Town, Penang

Business hours:

Monday – Friday 11.00am – 9.00pm (Closed on Thursday)

Saturday & Sunday 9.00am – 9.00pm

Contact: 011-1259 1459 Facebook, Instagram


Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out

The intangible heritage of George Town is not only a vital contributing factor to the significance of the World Heritage Site. There are so many traditional craftsmanships in Penang you should check out as most of these trades are vanishing.

  1. Traditional bedak sejuk maker
Traditional bedak sejuk maker in Penang craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out D 6 min
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Bedak sejuk, which is also known as cooling powder, is a traditional beauty product made from fermented rice. The main ingredient of bedak sejuk is rice. It has nutrients and antioxidants that help to relieve acne and brighten skin. The entire process of making the bedak sejuk takes approximately 45 days. Some people use this white, teardrop-shaped beads as face masks and rinse it off after half an hour. Meanwhile, some people rub the paste over their face and leave it on overnight. 

Lean Seng Bedak Sejuk maker in Penang craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out 20181028 PLA LEANSENGBEDAKSEJUL BALIKPULAU PENANG21 LYY TEP min 683x1024
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In Balik Pulau, Penang, the Yeoh’s brothers are still making the powder in a traditional way as they are fighting to keep the tradition alive. Lean Seng, which is currently run by Yeoh Siong Huat is the best known brand of bedak sejuk. Lean Seng bedak sejuk is now sold in four countries, such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States.

  1. The rattan weaver
Traditional handmade rattan product in Penang craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out 0031 3727
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One of the most remarkable rattan weavers left in Penang is Seang Hin Leong Rattan and Bamboo Crafts. Seang Hin Leong is located at Beach Street. It offers rattan baskets, handicrafts, rattan furniture, and even bird cage and toys. The weaving of rattan has been around for decades now and these furnitures are long-lasting. 

Rattan weaver, Sim Buck Teik at Seang Hin Leong craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out 20170609 peo rattan weaver penang 4 sam min
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Each product is carefully hand woven by Sim Buck Teik and Sim Chew Poh. Sim Buck Teik is the third generation owner and was awarded the Living Heritage Treasure of Penang 2009 for his life-long efforts in maintaining this beautiful craftsmanship in Penang. Meanwhile, the shop is currently in its 4th generation of ownership under Sim Chew Poh.

  1. The Nyonya beaded shoe maker
Handmade peranakan nyonya beaded shoe craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out Handmade peranakan nyonya beaded shoe min 765x1024
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The Kasut Manek is a Peranakan footwear with its shoe cover made entirely of hand stitched beads. The beaded shoes are traditionally worn with the Nyonya kebaya and sarong. These custom-made Nyonya beaded shoes are necessities to the traditional Nyonyas. In addition, they are compliments to weddings and important occasions. This fine workmanship is very time-consuming because of the tiny-sized plastic beads that have to be sewn together to create the designs. Creating a pair can take up to at least 3 months. 

Tan Kok Oo, Nyonya beaded shoe maker in Penang craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out unnamed min
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Tan Kok Oo is one of a few artisans in Penang making traditional handmade Nyonya beaded shoes. His shophouse is located at Armenian Street and has been making the kasut manek since the 1970s. On the other hand, Nyonya Lilian Tong is also a beaded shoe-makers. She even offers kasut manek workshops that will teach the travellers how to bead their own Nyonya shoes. 

  1. Traditional songkok maker
Haja Mohideen, the Songkok maker in Penang craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out 4720596019 b9ddd959c0 z min
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Songkok is a traditional headwear worn by Muslim men during important religious and festive occasions in Malaysia. For instance, Hari Raya, weddings, official functions and weekly prayers to the mosque. The only songkok maker left in the city is Haja Mohideen Mohammed Shariff. The 73-year-old Haja is continuing his father’s legacy as a songkok maker since 1962. His songkok shop is located at King Street. Despite most songkok providers having adopted modern machinery for mass production, Haja still keeps everything handmade with the sewing machine. 

Making a beautiful songkok is complicated. Hence, Haja is lucky to have his one and only son-in-law who is interested in songkok making and willing to help him in the business. Raja of Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail, former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and several cabinet ministers are among those who have ordered his songkok.

  1. Traditional signboard carver
Signboard carver in Penang, Lee Chee Cheng craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out Sung Dynasty Wood Carving min 768x1024
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The traditional signboards are often seen at traditional Chinese businesses. These signboards can be found at the entrance or inside of the shops and houses. The tradition has been brought over from China. The Chinese characters on the board are typically gold in color and the boards will either be black, red or green. The process requires good carving and calligraphy skills as well as precision. 

Signboard carver in Penang, Kok Ah Wah craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out Kok Ying Chow Signboard Maker 3 min 684x1024
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Kok Ah Wah is a master in traditional carved signboards. He is the last of his generation to continue the family trade. However, he has eagerly passed on his skills to local and foreign students, hoping that his craft will continue to survive in the 21st century. Meanwhile, Lee Chee Cheng is also one of the traditional signboard carvers that stands out in this era. Both cravers keep the traditional method by hand-making signboards carving to preserve its human touch.  

  1. Ancient seal engraver
Chinese seal cutter and calligrapher, Ng Chai Tiam craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out Mr Ng Chai Tiam min 1024x683
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Before the modern methods of stamping, the Chinese seal engraving stamps were used by businessmen, traders, and calligraphy artists as a form of signature. Stampings on artworks and official documents with engraved stones had been practiced in China for almost 3000 years. It is now a prominent tradition, arts and culture among the Chinese.

Ng Chai Tiam is a master in personalising seal engravings using cut-out stone. He would carve out the bottom of the stone chops that have been imported from China with precision. The process requires a magnifying glass to make sure the stamp is as detailed as possible. Chai Tiam’s handmade seals proved to be a cultural preservation of a thousand-year-old practice. In 2009, the Art of Chinese Seal Engraving was inscribed on the United Nations Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

  1. Joss stick maker
Joss sticker maker in Penang, Lee Beng Chuan craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out Lee Beng Chuan The Joss Stick Maker Penang 1 min 684x1024
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Joss stick is a type of incense. It is a thin wooden stick covered in a substance that is burned to produce a pleasant smell. In Chinese tradition, burning joss sticks in temples is a ritual to pray for blessings. Lee Beng Chuan is one of the last few joss stick makers in Penang although most joss sticks are mass-produced in factories now.

Starting in his 20’s, Lee Beng Chuan has been mastering the craft of handmade joss sticks for over 70 years. Beng Chuan learned joss stick-making on his own as he observed how the joss sticks were made in factories. As one of George Town’s famous living heritage, Beng Chuan makes his joss sticks at the pre-war shophouse located near to the Goddess of Mercy Temple. He is currently passing down his knowledge and skills to his son and daughter-in-law to ensure the tradition remains alive.

  1. Wooden clogs maker
Wooden clogs maker, Tan Yang Ling craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out str2 isclog annmarie 1 min
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Wooden clogs used to be a common item in many households in the 1970s, especially before the rubber slippers took over. It is a very old type of footwear. These clogs are known as ‘kah kiah’ in Hokkien. They were worn by Baba Nyonyas, Chinese, Indians and Malays. The wooden clogs are unisex and there is no left or right side. They are usually painted in red enhanced with flowers, thus, they are used as decorations during Chinese weddings to represent good fortune.

Wooden clogs maker, Eng Ai Tee craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out unnamed 2 min
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There are only two clog makers left in Penang. Tan Yang Ling is a professional clog maker from Bukit Mertajam. Yang Ling started to learn making clogs at the age of 12. With over 55 years of experience, he is able to produce 40 to 50 clogs per day. Besides, Eng Ai Tee is another experienced clog maker at Siam Road. She started making clogs after a trip to the Netherlands to visit her daughter in 2008. Hence, most of her crafts are not ordinary footwear but they are mini clogs for decoration.

  1. Stonemason and tombstone engraver
Yeoh Gim Huat, Stonemason and tombstone engraver in Penang craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out Teik Hin Stone Factory 4 min 684x1024
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Before the emergence of technology, stonemason and tombstone engravers struggled with simple tools such as hammers and chisels to shape the huge granite stones into the desired tombstone size. Back in the day, craving a tombstone will require at least seven to eight carvers. Now, it can be carried out by a single skilled carver. 

Today, Yeoh Gim Huat may be the last man standing in the traditional stone engraving community. He carves a range of Chinese, Muslim and Christian tombstones seven days a week. He now uses modern machines to cut the stones while a computerised sandblasting system engraves the words. Though the process is being done with technology, Gim Huat manually paints the carved characters with paint. In short, the finishing details are still done by hand.

  1. The paper oblation craftsman
Paper oblation craftsman in Penang, Loh Ah Ban craft Traditional Craftsmanship in Penang You Should Check Out MG 0304a 717x1024 min
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According to Chinese tradition, miniature paper replicas of houses, servants and worldly possessions are burnt as offerings to the newly deceased to accompany them on their new life in the afterworld. Besides, the paper oblation craftsman also makes giant paper effigies of Chinese gods which are used to commemorate deities’ birthdays and religious festivals.

Penang has a number of oblation makers. Loh Ah Ban and Gary Lee Bok Guan are among the skilled craftsmen who continue to earn a living the same way that generations before them have done. The process of making these paper effigies is long and requires extreme attention to details. Though the process is dull and tiring, Ah Ban and Gary continue to deliver top quality in every piece of their product with their hand.

City Guide

Beautiful Architecture Buildings in Penang

George Town, Penang has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2008. George Town is recognized as having a “unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia”. Besides, George Town contains one of the largest collections of pre-war buildings in Southeast Asia. Today, we’re going to share with you, some of the beautiful architecture buildings in Penang.

Sacred and Religious Sites

  1. Kek Lok Si Temple

Kek Lok Si is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. It was built in 1890, comprising a series of monasteries, prayer halls, temples and gardens. It was built over an area of 120,000 square metres. The main draw in the complex is the striking seven-storey Pagoda of Rama VI (Pagoda of Ten Thousand Buddhas) with 10,000 alabaster and bronze statues of Buddha, and the 30.2 metres tall bronze statue of Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy.

The pagoda combines a Chinese octagonal base, a middle tier of Thai design, and a Burmese crown. It reflects the temple’s amalgam of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism. Meanwhile, it also represents the syncretism of diversity of ethnic and religious in Malaysia. In addition, the bronze statue of Kuan Yin is located on the hillside above the pagoda. It is complemented with a 60.9 metres three-tiered roof pavilion. Kek Lok Si Temple is also an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhists from Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippine and other countries in Southeast Asia.  

  1. Tow Boo Kong Temple

Tow Boo Kong Temple is also known as Nine Emperor Gods Temple or Rumah Berhala Tow Boo Kong Butterworth. It is located on Jalan Raja Uda, Butterworth. In the early 1970s, the temple was just an attap-shed on a rented plot. Then, two plots of land were bought in 1974 and 1986 respectively. The temple was rebuilt to its current scale and grandeur in 2000 and the majestic archway was completed in 2009. Tow Boo Kong Temple complex comprises a series of halls and courtyards. It is standing on a land area of 4,000 square metres.

Posted by 北海斗母宫 Tow Boo Kong Temple Butterworth on Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The Butterworth Tow Boo Kong Temple boasts an overwhelming and sumptuous assortment of murals, sculptures and stucco. Moreover, the figures of dragons, mythical lions and heavenly warriors are adorning the walls, pillars, ceilings and beams. Beyond its monumental entrance archway, the complex’s elaborate passageway system features a front prayer hall, an inner courtyard, an interior prayer sanctuary and the main sanctum where the central deities are seated. The temple is open to the general public and tourists.

  1. Waterfall Temple
Exterior of Penang Waterfall Temple architecture Beautiful Architecture Buildings in Penang 4 Hindu temples in Malaysia

Penang Waterfall Temple is officially known as Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Kovil or Hill Top Murugan Temple. It is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Penang and the largest Lord Murugan Temple outside of India. According to popular belief, a sadhu (holy man) chose a spot close to the waterfalls for a shrine dedicated to Murugan. The main deity of this temple is Murugan. It was originally located within the grounds of the Penang Botanical Gardens.

The temple was then relocated on a 44,520 square metres plot of land along the Waterfall Road as the British administration took over the area to establish a reservoir. The relocated temple was completed in 1850. It is the focal point of Thaipusam in Malaysia, after the Batu Caves. The main gateway is around 21.6m in height, which is equivalent to a seven-storey high building.

Visitors entering the temple’s 70,000sq ft grounds will be greeted by a majestic 8.23m-tall statue of Lord Shiva at the foot of the hill. Furthermore, an 18-ft high crafted teak wood door is a special feature at the new Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Hilltop Temple in Waterfall Road. As visitors reach the top by climbing 513 stairs, they are bound to be amazed by the six pillars inside which represent the six main Murugan temples. The temple’s features are inspired from the era of the Chola and Pallava Kingdoms of India and the crafting work was done by Indian artisans from South India, specially brought in to Penang.  

  1. Masjid Kapitan Keling

Masjid Kapitan Keling is the first mosque in Penang. It was built in 1801 by Penang’s first Indian Muslim settlers (East Indian Company troops). The Indo-Moorish structured complex is surrounded by low walls and topped with Moghul-style copper domes. The exterior is ochre yellowed while the interior had white marble floors and a high ceiling. In addition, the interior aisles are formed by a series of horseshoe arches, crowned with King Edward’s plaques.

The lofty, celestial-white Gothic, Moorish and Roman arches create an illusion of more depth to the spacious prayer hall. The facade of the building and its interior were decorated with geometric designs and floral motifs, as human and animal forms are forbidden in Islam. The mosque was originally a small single storey brick mosque. Over the years, the mosque has been expanded many times to its present scale, the largest mosque in George Town, Penang. 

Historic Sites

  1. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is a unique blue-coloured Chinese mansion at Leith Street. It was built between 1896 and 1904. The mansion exterior and indigo-blue outer walls make it a very distinctive building, which is also referred to as “The Blue Mansion”. It is owned by Cheong Fatt Tze, one of the richest men in Southeast Asia during the 19th-century. The mansion features both Eastern and Western elements as well as designs, architecture and interior furnishings.

For instance, the Chinese “air well” courtyards, Gothic louvre windows and stained-glass windows, English encaustic clay tiles and Scottish cast iron works — a reflection of the merchant’s eclectic tastes. The mansion has 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 vernacular timber louvre windows – Cheong’s private residence, seat of his business activities in Penang

  1. Penang Town Hall and City Hall

Penang Town Hall was completed in 1883, was originally the home to the Municipal Council of Penang. It’s a symmetrical structure with beautiful quoins and semi circle pediments on either side, and a triangular pediment atop a two-storey porte-cochere. It also functioned as a venue for social events for the European elites. However, the office space within the Town Hall is not sufficient. Hence, construction of another municipal building was started right next door.

Penang City Hall was completed in 1903 after being built upon a previous existing mansion. The administrative function was taken over by the City Hall from Town Hall upon the completion. The all white, symmetrical building was constructed in the strong, grand Edwardian Baroque style complete with a porte-cochere. It combines both Edwardian Baroque and Palladian architectural styles. It has the Ionic columns on the first level and Corinthian columns on the second. Both the City Hall and Town Hall are located at Esplanade Road.     

  1. Campbell Street Market

Campbell Street Market is a small wet market with a wide range of fresh vegetables, fish and meats to supply its surrounding community. This Victorian-style market was built in the 1900s. According to some locals, the land on which the market now stands was the site of a Malay cemetery. The cemetery at the land was provided to the Indian Muslim community for the construction of the Masjid Kapitan Keling in 1800. However, the George Town Municipal Council bought the land in the 1890s and subsequently built the Campbell Street Market.

Old colonial facade of Campbell Street Market architecture Beautiful Architecture Buildings in Penang 8180903140 8f13b05f0f b
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The market was formerly known as Carnarvon Street Market as it is located at the junction of Campbell Street and Carnarvon Street. The features of Victorian style include eyebrow windows, with their curved shape above a traditional window. The facade of the market has an arch window at the pediment. Ornate and decorative designs are the hallmark of Victorian homes. 

  1. Logan Heritage Building
Logan Heritage Building at Beach Street architecture Beautiful Architecture Buildings in Penang logan heritage

The Logan Building is a double-storey historic building located at Beach Street. The building comprises shops and offices. It was one of the properties of Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee and currently owned by the Singapore-based Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC). The building was named after Daniel Logan, the son of the famous Scottish lawyer, James Richardson Logan. It was completed in 1883 and designed in Victorian style.

Beach Street in the 1890s architecture Beautiful Architecture Buildings in Penang 24186150536 440e4d1908 z
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The building was a three-storey building with cast iron balconies installed along its Beach Street side. One of the most unique features of this building is the central arch covering a granite-paved porte-cochere, which could be used by horse carriages. The building was renovated in 1930. The upper floor and cast iron balconies were totally removed as it was badly damaged besides compromising the whole structure. The parapet wall was redesigned with the Art Deco style where the building name was put up.

Meanwhile, the original design of the building and its attractive features such as the rusticated plasterwork that start from the ground right up to the moulded cornices along the parapet. Hence, the Logan Building became a two-storey building with the hybrid of Victorian and Art Deco architectural style. Today, the Logan Heritage Building comprises a foreign currency exchanger, convenience store, trendy cafes and other commercial outlets.


Ways to decorate your desk to motivate you while working from home

Physical environment affects your mood. A well- organised desk is essential for effective working and studying. We have compiled 8 ways for you to decorate your desk that could boost your productivity and motivation. Therefore, you can transform the space that could inspire you and help you to feel motivated. 

1. Enjoy your favourite colours

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Decorate your desk with your favourite colour will make the space more inviting and cozy. If you like bright colours, you may go with blue and green that help improve efficiency and focus. Meanwhile, yellow represents freshness and energy. If you’re a minimalist, you may pick white, grey, black, and even a touch of gold colour of decorative features for your table. in addition, try to avoid red and orange as these would be too intense. Stick to a colour palette and your desk would be more organised. 

2. Make sure you have enough lighting

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Place your desk near to a window so that you have enough natural light. Natural light does not only help save on energy consumption but also help boost your mood and give you energy. Moreover, try to avoid dim and harsh light that can affect your concentration. You may choose a small desk lamp to light up your workspace as lighting aids you to work and study more effectively. 

3. Show off your personality

Ways to show off your personality through desk decoration ideas work from home Ways to decorate your desk to motivate you while working from home 97414221 244263720160095 5560980928802586624 n

Putting up some accessories on your desk that suit your personality and work needs. It can be anything that you think looks really cool. For example, photos of your loved ones, small potted plants or letter art. Add a few key pieces that express your personal style no matter if you’re a maximalist or a minimalist. However, just make sure that your desk is not too cluttered.

4. Keep organised with sectioned trays

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Use sectioned trays for things that will be used multiple times throughout the day such as staplers, sticky notes, clips etc. Moreover, you may also use trays to hold things that you’re currently working on especially those document, files, memos that could mess up your desk. Make sure to have the correct measurement so that it’s able to fit your desk and to handle all of your clutter. The more comfortable, the more productive and motivated you will be.

5. Hang a cork board, pegboard, whiteboard or grid board

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A well-located pinboard can help you to stay organised by keeping important numbers and reminders within your eyesight. Furthermore, it is handy for brainstorming and practical for work and study functions. Include some inspirational or motivational quotes art. Turn this pinboard to a vision board to inspire your creativity and keep you motivated too.

6. Surround yourself with life 

Small apartment plants on desk work from home Ways to decorate your desk to motivate you while working from home small apartment plants thumb

Include a small potted plant on your desk could create a calming and refreshing mindset. Choose your favourite small houseplant that is low-maintenance and doesn’t take up much space such as succulents and cactus. Meanwhile, trees are usually used for signifying life and freshness. They have a very positive impact on the person who is sitting on the desk.  Adding a touch of greenery can boost productivity, spark creativity and reduce stress.

7. Have a good way to organise your cords

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You may neatly roll and tuck away the cables for your charges and electronic devices even if they are under your desk. You may simply use twist ties or simple clips to keep the cables, cords and wires organised in one place. The level of organisation will melt your stress away. Furthermore, tidy desk creates a tidy mind. You may also purchase fun and creative cable organisers that suit your colour scheme and could express your personality.   

8. Enjoy your favourite scents 

Reed diffuser and candle for your desk work from home Ways to decorate your desk to motivate you while working from home wholesale scented and reed diffuser gift set 5561

Aromatherapy scents are scientifically proven to improve productivity. Scents are able to affect memory, concentration, sustained attention and cognitive function to improve productivity. The scents include rosemary, lemon, jasmine, citrus, cinnamon, peppermint, lavender and more. Likewise, different scents come with different functions. You may burn a scented candle, have essential oil diffuser or display diffuser reeds.

Street Stories

Street Stories: Transfer Road

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Story of the Street

Transfer Road or Jalan Transfer is one of the major roads in George Town. It was named as “Transfer Road” in order to commemorate the transfer of Straits Settlements from the Government of British India to the administration of the Colonial Office in London in 1867. Tek-sūn-chhù-piⁿ-ke (德顺厝边街), which means street by Tek Soon’s house is the Hokkien name for the street. It was the area of early urban Jawi Peranakan communities. Jawi Peranakan is a community that combined ancestry of Indian Muslim man and Malay female.

During the early 19th century, the urban development of George Town was happening at the border of Prangin River and Transfer Road Ditch (today’s Transfer Road). There was a canal linked Transfer Road to the Prangin River. It was called Titi Papan (Plank bridge, after the bridge over the Prangin Ditch), which allowed boats to come up to the area.  

In the 1950s and 60s, Transfer Road was one the places offering accommodations to visitors to Penang. For instance, the hotels include Embassy Hotel and Hong Aun Hotel. Transfer Road is again a choice location for small to moderate size accommodations as there are a number of hotels opening along the road in these few years.

Significant Buildings

Embassy Hotel Building
Embassy Hotel Building at Transfer Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Embassy Hotel Building 1024x671
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The Embassy Hotel & Restaurant was first built in 1957. Then, a coffee shop occupied the ground floor for several years. It was changed to HP Hotel for a few years when a new owner takes over. After that, the building housed an automobile showroom and followed by a Korean Home furniture shop. In the recent years, the building was refurbished and return to an identical name with its origins, Le Embassy Hotel. The hotel now features a design concept that introduces a nostalgic throwback – a classic good old yesteryear with a sense of sophistication, quirkiness and upper class.

Hong Aun Hotel Building
Hong Aun Hotel Building at Transfer Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Hong Aun Hotel Building

Hong Aun Hotel Building is an Early Modern Style building. It was designed to look like one building with a mixture of commercial and residential unit. Hence, it is a typical Straits shophouse. There’s accommodation on the upper level with an open ground-floor public eating space. 

Penang Police Headquarters
Penang Police Headquarters facing Penang Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Penang Police Headquarters

The Penang Police Headquarters was build with an Art Deco Style before the World War II. This style of building has more fashionable architectural details affected by the western business building type, especially the facade. During the war, it has suffered from some serious damage but was subsequently repaired. On a side note, the Police Headquarters occupies an entire city block surrounded by Penang Road, Dickens Street, Transfer Road and Phee Choon Road.

Dewan United Muslim Association (UMA)
The building of the United Muslim Association (UMA) street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Dewan United Muslim Association UMA

The building of the United Muslim Association (UMA) is the oldest association’s building at Transfer Road. The community of the Kadayanallur Tamil Muslim formed the UMA in 1929. In other words, UMA is a Muslim association in Penang. Its office is at Dewan UMA and was a centre for community service and martial arts classes. 

Dato Koyah Shrine
Makam Dato Koyah at Transfer Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Dato Koyah Shrine

Dato Koyah Shrine is also known as Makam Dato Koyah or Keramat Dato Koyah. It is a shrine to a Muslim saint, Syed Mustapha Idris or more commonly known as Dato Koyah. From the Malabar coast in southern India, Dato Koyah came to Penang to become a laborer to earn a livelihood in Penang. He was respected as a spiritual leader and teacher by the Malayalee and Tamil Muslim community. Although he has some misunderstandings with the British authorities at that time, eventually, he won their respect. Hence, when he passed away, his followers erected Keramat Dato Koyah at the exact spot where he used to live. The authorities honoured him by naming that street after his name.

Cheah Tek Soon’s Five-Storey-Mansion (abandoned)
The former Shih Chung Branch School Building street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Cheah Tek Soon   s Five Storey Mansion abandoned

This mansion was built in the late 19th century with an eclectic mix of styles. It has various names such as Goh Chan Lau, The Chinese Residency, The Raffles-by-the-Sea, and the former Shih Chung Branch School Building. The mansion is located along Northam Road while Transfer Road is at its side. Hence, Transfer Road is also known as Tek Soon Chu Phi Kay, which means side road to Tek Soon’s house.

Wisma MCA
Wisma MCA at Transfer Road, Penang street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Wisma MCA

Wisma MCA is the office of the Malaysian Chinese Association in Penang. It is located next to Dewan UMA.

Where to Stay

Le Embassy Hotel
Le Embassy Hotel at Tranfer Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Le Embassy Hotel

Le Embassy Hotel is housed in the building at the corner of Transfer Road . It is a luxury hotel that combines nostalgic and classic scenes in the early 20’s with a sense of sophistication and modern design concept. Le Embassy Hotel offers 33 rooms with 3 distinctive designed room categories, which are Attache, Counselor, and Ambassador Room. Besides, Escobar Signature that tucked inside the hotel is an all-day dining restaurant bar. It features a mix of local and international cuisines.

Tido Penang Hostel
Tido Penang Hostel at Transfer Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Tido Penang Hostel

Tido Penang Hostel is a budget hostel that caters to a niche youth market and also budget travelers. It is located at the junction of Argyll Road and Transfer Road. It offers Dormitories with 8 beds to a room, and Double Rooms. There are mixed dormitories and female-only dormitories which hold up a total of 72 beds.

Hotel Regal Malaysia
Hotel Regal Malaysia at Transfer Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Hotel Regal Malaysia

Hotel Regal Malaysia is a 6-storey building at Transfer Road, near the junction of Northam Road. They offer 4 room categories, which are Standard, Superior Single, Superior Double, and Deluxe. 

What to Do

Batek-Lah Collection
Batek-Lah Collection at Transfer Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Batek Lah Collection

Batek-Lah Collection has been managed by Lim Trading since 2012. It emphasizes 100% handmade genuine batik with its own manufacturing and production line in Penang. They offer both hand-drawn and block-printed designs that are made into a variety of men’s and women’s fashions as well as souvenirs.

What to Eat

Roti Canai
Famous Roti Canai at Transfer Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Roti Canai Transfer Road
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Transfer Road Roti Canai is one of the famous spots for Roti Canai in Penang. It is located in front of the Dato Koyah Shrine. The business is so good that people have to queue up for at least half an hour. It is very crowded every morning from 7.00am to 11.00am. 

Nasi Padang
Nasi Padang at Transfer Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Nasi Padang Transfer Road
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Restoran Nasi Padang Minang is always crowded with customers especially during lunch hours. Nasi Padang is a cooking style that came from Minangkabau (Western Sumatra), Indonesia. Chilies, lemongrass and turmeric are the main ingredients for Nasi Padang. Restoran Nasi Padang Minang is a stall operating in Kedai Kopi International Hotel. They serve excellent and vast varieties of dishes. If you are going to eat there, do not forget to get the deep fried mackerel stuffed with sambal.

Moody Cow Cafe

If you are looking for cakes at Transfer Road, you’ve got to go to Moody Cow Cafe. They serve one of the best cakes in Penang, particularly their specialty cheesecakes. Each slice of the cake is so dense that it is enough to feed around 3-4 people. Make sure to try their Drunken Madness (rum and raisin), Cempedak King (cempedak), etc.

Wanton Mee
Wanton Mee at Tai Wah Coffee House street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Wanton Mee Transfer Road 1024x689
Image source

Wanton Mee in Tai Wah Coffee House is one of the oldest Wanton Mee established in Penang. Though this coffee house is located at Argyll Road, it is near to the junction towards Transfer Road. It has been operating for more than four decades and serves one of the best Wanton Mee in Penang.

Roti Benggali
street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road Roti Benggali

Ismalia Bakery is the first ever Roti Penggali bakery. Maliia Bakery takes over the business until today. Roti Penggali means bread shareholders in Tamil. But, many people mispronounced the word “penggali” and then it evolved into “benggali” over the years. Maliia Bakery is one of the biggest bakeries in Penang that makes Benggali bread.

Penang Zhu Char – See Kong Ooi Restaurant (西公园饭店)(permanently closed)
See Kong Ooi Restaurant at Transfer Road street stories Street Stories: Transfer Road See Kong Ooi Restaurant
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See Kong Ooi Restaurant serves Hokkien and Hainanese dishes. Unfortunately, this iconic 84-year-old has closed down due to the pandemic-ridden economy in May 2020.


6 Awesome Youtuber Videos about Penang That You Must Watch

The Covid-19 outbreak has been a very stressful period for many families. Our travels have been limited with the Movement Control Order, which we have to stay at home most of the time. Although we might have plenty of time to rest, but being stuck at home for 24 hours a day for more than a month can be tiring. There’s lack of face-to-face communication with the community. Our body movement has been reduced to very minimal, sometimes just sitting on the chair and couch for the whole day. Meals have been very boring, moreover if we do not possess the talent to cook good food.

With the amount of time that you have now, you might want to start planning for your next holiday trip after the outbreak is over and when the situation is safe for traveling. If you have plans to Penang, here are some awesome videos that Youtubers have shared about Penang.

Jasmine Lipska

Jasmine is a Creator and Life Coach currently based in Bali. She love sharing her passions for travel, self-love, growth, and conscious living through her creative spirit.

Check our her Instagram as well.

Night Owl Cinematics

Night Owl Cinematics (NOC), founded by Ryan Tan and Sylvia Chan in 2013, is a production company based in Singapore. 

They also create some funny and interesting contents in Instagram too.

Discovery Dream Studio

The Discovery Dream is created to encourage people to find their dreams through video recording of lifestyle. They share stories highlighting Malaysia as a country with beautiful places.

Explore their Instagram feeds.

Divert Living

Jimmy and Tah, American and Thai Millennials left the career in military and finance to become travelers, documenting our memories along the way.

They also have nice photos on Instagram.

Jack and Gab Explore

Jack and Gab, a goofy American couple traveling the world one spectacular country at a time. In June 2019, they quit their jobs, booked a one-way plane ticket, and set out to travel the world with a carry-on suitcase.

Check out their Instagram here.

World Nate

The dream to travel and live all over the globe is turning into a reality, and Penang is one of the places.

Do you have any more cool videos about Penang to recommend? Share it with us!

While you are planning to visit places, don’t forget to put into your itinerary to buy these “Must-Buy Penang Local Products” when you are here. Or you might want to survey some cool boutique hotels in Penang for your stay?


Local stuff that you must buy when you travel to Penang

Souvenir is a memento of your visit to a place as most souvenir is a physical representation of the place it originated from. Some people get it for their friends and family, some people get it for themselves. Here, we have shortlisted some local stuff that you must buy for your friends when you travel to Penang!


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Image of nutmeg products from Google

Nutmeg is a type of tropical fruit commonly planted in Teluk Pahang and Balik Pulau, Penang. Nutmeg is rich in natural antioxidants, improve digestion, relieve throat irritation and reduce flatulence. Nutmeg products such as oils, creams, balms, juices and syrups are on the list of must-buy souvenirs in Penang.

Where to get it:

  1. Cheong Kim Chuan: 99-B, Lorong Selamat, 10400 George Town, Penang.
  2. Lim Wah Thai: 3-A, Jalan Gottlieb, 10350 George Town, Penang.
  3. Tean Ean Local Products (M) Sdn Bhd: 90, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 George Town, Penang.
  4. Ghee Hup Nutmeg Factory: MK3, 202A, Jalan Tanjung Bungah, Kampung Sg. Pinang, 11000 Balik Pulau, Penang.

Rojak Paste

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Image of rojak paste from Google

You can find fresh fruits almost anywhere but some of the best Rojak sauces can only be found in Penang. Rojak is the best defined as fruit salad dish and the word ‘Rojak’ means mixture in the Malay language. The dish is a combination of various fruits such as guava, jicama, pineapples and others. And, the Rojak paste is the main component of the dish.

Where to get it:

  1. Cheong Kim Chuan: 99-B, Lorong Selamat, 10400 George Town, Penang.
  2. Lim Wah Thai: 3-A, Jalan Gottlieb, 10350 George Town, Penang.

Crushed Peanut Candy

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Image of crushed peanut candy from Google

It is also known as ‘kacang tumbuk’ or ‘kong th’ng’ (in Hokkien). With the scrumptious taste of peanuts and sugar, this crumbly traditional snack is the snack that people will bring to watch Chinese street opera shows. On a side note, eating it with popiah skin wrapped is the perfect match and also the traditional way.

Where to get it:

Ang Seng Heong: 326-U Ground Floor, Jalan Perak, Taman Ara, 11600 George Town, Penang.

Ghee Hiang Sesame Oil

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Image of Ghee Hiang sesame oil from Google

Ghee Hiang Bakery is a 150-year-old brand, which is famously known for their sesame oil among other products. Sesame oil is highly nutritious and assists in quick recovery for confinement mothers. It also has many illness-defending and rejuvenation qualities that enhance a good health. Tourists and even Malaysians are absolutely in love with it.

Where to get it:

Ghee Hiang Bakery: 216, Jalan Macalister, 10400 George Town, Penang.

Pickled Fruits

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Image of pickled fruits from Google

Jeruk Madu Pak Ali (sweet pickled fruits) is best known for its distinct aroma and taste. The company produces various type of pickles such as mango, cherry, garlic, papaya, nutmeg, bamboo sprout and kelubi. The company has 18 outlets throughout the country and is definitely a worth-buying souvenir of Penang for tourists.

Where to get it:

Jeruk Madu Pak Ali: 423 & 425 Jalan Penang, 10000 George Town, Penang / 24, Jalan Pantai Jerjak, Pantai Jerjak, 11700 Gelugor, Penang.

Tau Sar Piah

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Image of Tau Sar Piah from Google

Tau Sar Piah means mung bean paste biscuit in Hokkien. It is a round-shaped Chinese pastry and is one of Penang’s most famous food souvenirs. Him Heang is an iconic pastry manufacturer in Penang that offers a wide range of local pastries. Over the years, its Tau Sar Piah has been publicly acclaimed by many locals and tourists.

Where to get it:

Him Heang: 162A, Jalan Burma, 10050 George Town, Penang.

Beh Teh Saw

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Image of Beh Teh Saw from Google

Beh Teh Saw in Hokkien means ‘horse hoof crispy biscuit’. The biscuit is thicker on one end and resembles a ‘horse hoof’. You can get it from Hock Lok Siew Biscuit Trading that produces a variety of products such as Tambun biscuits (think skin with sweet mung bean paste filling), phong pneah (think flacks crust with sticky maltose and sugar filling), mini moon biscuits and many more.

Where to get it:

Hock Lok Siew Biscuit Trading: 120, Lebuh Noordin, 10300 George Town, Penang.

Penang Batik

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Image of batik from Google
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Image of Penang Batik Factory from Google

Batik is an Indonesian technique, a type of textile art that uses wax and dye to produce patterns on a piece of plain cloth. Batik is very popular design for clothes and its is considered as a very unique gift. We recommend going to the Penang Batik Factory at Teluk Bahang where you can have the first insight in the making of Batik and shop for Batik souvenirs.

Where to get it:

Penang Batik Factory: 669, 11050 Tanjung Bungah, Penang.