Penang Top Five: Kien Lim
A folk-rocker who writes and sings his songs with the assistance of gritty guitars, he lives in Petaling Jaya, has spent some years in London gigging in bands as a guitarist and solo performer but currently works at The Canteen in George Town each weekend. He has a penchant for haunting melodies and his music is a cross between Led Zeppelin and Gillian Welch but here he sings to a different tune with some of his favourite things to do and eat in Penang.
1. Driving on Jalan Batu Ferringhi
The winding stretch of road that begins at Batu Ferringhi boasts stunning vistas at every bend and once past the stretch of hotels and adrenalin rush of having avoided collision with on-coming kamikaze motorcyclists and bus drivers, the ascent to Teluk Bahang and it's fruit farms and dam is serene. Take in the greenery of tropical rain forests that line the route and descend to explore the secluded beaches of Balik Pulau before, once again, hitting the main road back into town.
A secluded beach of Penang
2. Hokkien Noodles on Lebuh Armenian
My favourite Hokkien prawn noodles is on the corner of Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Cannon. Mee and beehoon for me, accompanied by a teh peng, sure hits the spot. The bisque has a ‘clean’ taste and not too ‘prawny’, and every ingredient is as fresh as the prawns that come with it.
For a breather from my place of work on Lebuh Pantai, I stroll to the Esplanade. Padang Kota Lama and City Hall bestow me with a sense of space and beauty. Walking along the embankment restores me further and I eventually settle down quietly under the low shady tree by the bicycle parking area to people watch and listen to the local banter.
Hokkien mee from Armenian Street coffeeshop
4. The Fourseason Bakery at Straits Quay
This is a place I frequent. My favourite is the custard tart. It simply melts in the mouth, and gets messy in my hands as I salivate in anticipation.
5. Koay Toew T’ng at Lebuh Carnarvon
When I crave a bowl of this flat rice noodles drowned in clear soup, I head for the corner of Lebuh Kimberley and Lebuh Carnarvon. The stall is open from morning to just after lunchtime. Get there early, as it is popular. I once had to wait a whole 30 minutes for my bowl of steaming goodness.