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Being a mall rat
It’s Malaysia, so you really can’t run away from large shopping malls offering everything you may need or desire. Popular ones in Penang are the Sunway Carnival mall in Seberang Perai, Gurney Plaza on Gurney Drive, 1st Avenue Mall right beside KOMTAR in George Town and Queensbay Mall overlooking the water in Bayan Lepas. What they have in common is the almost similar chains of clothing, food and beverage stores. In this instance, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. Instead, it becomes a convenient all-in-one place suitable for every age group.
However, there are more boutique malls such as the still new Straits Quay mall in Tanjung Tokong that is slowly winning hearts with its one-off stores such as Sugar that has ready-to-bake measured ingredients for individual cakes and charming baking paraphernalia and Bran et Daguet sells one-off clothing for women designed by Penangite, Brandon Tan. Also, the quirky Fresh Desire that carves bathing soaps into appetising shapes of food such as delectable cupcakes and pastries. These carved soaps in shapes of food are remarkably real looking, so be warned!
Big spender’s tip: What’s really sweet here is a little shop on the ground floor called Sentuhan. It sells handmade soaps, photographs of scenes around Penang by Howard Tan, woven bags, coffee table books and also glass sculptured bowls produced by Fuan Wong. It’s well worth popping by for quality and practical souvenirs.