You often hear this phrase, “Once a penangite, always a Penangite!” Well, it’s true – no matter where you go, your love for your city will always be there!
Being a non-penangite, have you ever wondered why people from Penang are known as the “Penang Lang?” Well, as penangite myself, I believe that most of us, especially the “Penang Lang,” truly love our beautiful island and are always proud to say that “we are from Penang!” Yes, we penangites are proud of our food, culture, heritage buildings and our hills. Not forgetting, we also love our beaches, although they’re quite polluted at times.
But still, as a penangites, we try to make the best of the situation and still enjoy swimming in the beaches we have. Yes, we’re quite the hard-core fanatics when it comes to our beaches. And one of the most famous among them is the Batu Ferringhi beach, which, to this day, is still thronged by tourists from all round the world.
As a true Penangite, you won’t mind queuing in the middle of the night just to have the traditional Indian Muslim (mamak) food which we refer to as the Nasi kandar. People die for the original taste of the Penang Nasi Kandar. Although you do find Nasi Kandars all around Kuala Lumpur and several other cities in the country, not many are aware that it all began here in Penang.
Now tell me, does that not look yummy? Give it a try, and I bet you will end up licking the plate and your fingers! Apart from the Nasi Kandar, we also have the traditional Indian restaurants located in the Little India area which is right in the heart of Penang town. Believe me, there is nothing like the taste of authentic Indian food which you will only get in Penang and not anywhere else.
But it’s not all about the Indian food.
You also have the Chinese food stalls sprawled all over the island that operate that operate from morning till midnight. These stalls serve some of the most authentic Chinese dishes that are appreciated even by tourists from Hong Kong and China. Trust me, if you haven’t tasted the authentic Penang Hokkien Mee or the famous Penang style Char Koey Teow, you haven’t tasted anything at all!
And speaking of Char Koey Teow, there is nothing like the traditional charcoal fried stuff that this uncle in Siam Road prepares. It’s spicy, tasty and palatable to even the fussiest of food fanatics that are more than willing to drive down from Taiping or Ipoh to get a load of the mouth-watering delicacy.
You have the food, and you have the festivals. In Penang, we get together the slightest chance we get to make our festivals all the merrier. And the ones we have are probably among the most colourful and eventful in the country. There is the Thaipusam “walk to the hilltop,” the colourful Wesak day celebrations in beautifully lit temple paradises, and not forgetting, the Chingay ceremony. And let us not forget the Kek Lok Si – the beautifully decorated hilltop temple which some tourists have even dubbed “the Shangri-La of the Orient.”
Kek Lok Is during Chinese New Year