Penang Top Five: D'Yani Ramoo
Being in the centre of every cultural event in George Town is what gives D’Yani Ramoo a buzz. Her job as the senior executive of communications for Penang Global Tourism allows her this. And having been a staunch vegetarian for the longest time makes her top five of what to do and eat in Penang all the more interesting, if not downright spiritual.
1. Flower garland shop, Street Of Harmony
I go there every day to buy flowers for my prayers. The uncle who owns the shop is so very nice. Just beside this shop is a tree where the Hindu deity, Lord Ganesh, is worshipped. Tourists also stop by to see the puja/prayers that go on daily. Also, opposite the tree is the Kuan Yin Temple. The flower shop is a very nice place to see people from all walks of life buying flowers. The sight is so colourful and vibrant. The uncommon factor about this shop is that it’s run by a Muslim uncle but the tree with Lord Ganesh is linked with his shop and he provides flowers for the devotees who go there.
2. Ko Chai Lai Vegetarian Restaurant
There is always a pure vegetarian shop everywhere in Penang because there are a lot of Buddhists here. My favourite place is on Bishop Street. The food is really good and inexpensive. For RM5, you can load up on a few dishes with a mountain full of rice plus a drink. Service here is excellent too. Their must-try includes the mee Jawa and curry mee.
3. Lily’s Vegetarian Kitchen
My other favourite vegetarian restaurant is Lily's Vegetarian Kitchen at Madras Lane, which is off Macalister Road. It has a fast food concept where you tick what you want from an order sheet, then go to the counter to pay before you get your food. There are lots of dishes to choose from here including pizza, fish and chips and chicken Maryland – not real meat, they’re mock meat made of soya. My favourites here are the soupy noodles and also their pasta cheese bake is so yummy.
4. Penang Botanic Gardens
Shamefully I admit to hardly exercising. However, when I do, my favourite place is the Botanic Gardens. I adore the lush greenery and fresh air. It's a great place to picnic and have fun with loved ones. I see people dating there too. To err on the side of caution, here are some tips on how to handle the cheeky monkeys there – don’t walk with any plastic bags or food in your hands and don’t pay any attention or have any eye contact with them. My most favourite tree is the cannonball tree due to its eye-catching, pretty pink flowers
5. Bhaktivedanta Cultural Centre
My weekends are usually spent at Bhaktivedanta Cultural Centre, a temple in Seberang Jaya. It’s located close to the Sunway Carnival mall, where many other places of worship of different faiths are. The temple is part of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as the Hare Krishna movement. Every Sunday, we hold a program from 7pm where anyone can come and participate. There's always a lot of singing and dancing to glorify the Lord, a spiritual lecture by senior devotees and delicious vegetarian food served free for all. Currently, a huge temple is being built there to accommodate more deities. It will be ready by the end of next year and will be called Sri Radha Krishna Temple of Devotion & Understanding. It's going to be a really amazing looking temple.
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