Contrary to its unwholesome designation, Pulau Tikus isn’t crawling with vermin, but is instead chock-full of good eats and scenic sites. The suburb, one of Penang Island’s most affluent, is squeezed in between Gurney’s seafront and the northeastern part of George Town, with Burma Road forming its spine. Use this road as a referral point when exploring Pulau Tikus.
Best kopitiams in Pulau Tikus
77 Food Yard
If you politely ask for a snapshot of the simmering duck legs at 77 Food Yard, the jovial uncle in charge of the stall will gladly oblige despite teasing from his friends. ‘For Facebook?’ he asked us in Hokkien, before lifting the giant steamer’s lid and releasing thick tendrils of herbal-scented steam. Naturally sweetened with bright red wolfberries, the sublime stock will haunt you for days. It's no wonder the locals are quackers over ths soupy noodle dish. The Kuay Teow Th'ng and Curry Mee are also worthy contenders.
Bangkok Lane Mee Mamak
With a reputation of monolithic proportions, Bangkok Lane’s Mee Mamak is always in the forefront of discussions about sublime noodles and has been featured on various television food programs. Seng Lee Cafe, a coral pink coffee shop on the intersection of Burma and Bangkok streets, needs no signage, as Mahboob Zakaria’s mamak-style mee is the stuff of legends. Opt for lightly moist (mee goreng) or soaking wet (mee rebus) noodles; either way, they’ll be doused in a sweet-savoury sauce made from mashed sweet potatoes and prawn stock. Fried rojak bits, tofu cubes, bean sprouts and hunks of potatoes are a given, but you can add chewy cuttlefish or a hard-boiled egg. If your craving coincides with bad weather, fear not - simply just drive up to the stall, holler your order and they’ll have it delivered to your car. As featured in Time Out Penang's 50 things to do in Penang.
Best places for dessert in Pulau Tikus
Dessert-wise, Pulau Tikus is pretty much pancake paradise, but we don’t mean the kind you drizzle maple syrup over. Myriad apom/apong/appam stalls line Burma Road and are lauded by the locals for good reason. Run by rival brothers, Apom Chooi and Apom Guan specialise in fluffy Nyonya apom filled with sliced bananas and sweet corn kernels.
For almost five decades, Ah Guan has been flipping this crispy local confectionery for his legion of followers from his stall, opposite Union Primary School. Due to the sheer popularity of his apong, expect to wait for over half an hour for your turn as Ah Guan stirs in the batter before sandwiching it with two pieces of bananas and topped with sweet corn. There are plenty of stalls around the corner to mask your waiting time including a wan tan stall located next to Ah Guan's.
Claypot apom manis @ Kedai Kopi Swee Kong
Apom maker Ravindran and his family members have been skillfully swirling batter on claypots for some twenty decades. Unlike fluffy, cake-like apom, these paper-thin pancakes are cooked on charcoal with eggs and coconut milk – paradoxically rich ingredients for a treat that’s as light as air. Word of warning: it's near impossible to stop at one.
Things to do in Pulau Tikus
Pulau Tikus Market
Penangites view this one as the island’s most posh market (it’s located in an affluent area), but you’re not here to compare prices – visit the wet market to revel in the cacophony, sights, and scents as traders and housewives go about their morning business. You’ll also spot clothing and dry goods for sale. Walk in further for the market’s eating area, where hawker stalls prepare some of Penang’s finest street food. As featured in Time Out Penang's 50 things to do in Penang.
Inner Peace Yoga Circle
Inner Peace Yoga Circle aims to provide a sanctuary in the midst of the busy rush in George Town. They offer a variety of different traditions of yoga including meditation circles, gong baths, therapeutic healing, enlightening workshops, retreats and family events.
Kedai Gunting Rambut
Contrary to popular belief, Pulau Tikus doesn’t just cater to a white collar crowd; gems such as KST Sdn Bhd Kedai Gunting Rambut, an old Indian barbershop shoulder-to-shoulder with Pulau Tikus Police Station, serve as a humble reminder of simpler times. Get a dirt-cheap haircut (adults, RM6.36; children, RM4.24), head massage (RM5.30) or go completely bald or botak (RM6.36).
Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram
Coming to Pulau Tikus without checking out its Thai and Burmese temples is like visiting Ayer Itam and skipping Kek Lok Si. The stunning Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram and Dhammikarama Burmese Templesubstantiate the case that refugees from Thailand and Myanmar were among Penang Island’s first settlers. It’s impossible to say which Buddhist temple is more beautiful, but they’re located across the street from one another, so you might as well visit both. The former houses a huge reclining Buddha whose littlest toe is larger than a human head, but Dhammikarama’s blue-eyed Buddha inside the Sima Shrine Hall practically drips with detail.
Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple
Coming to Pulau Tikus without checking out its Thai and Burmese temples is like visiting Ayer Itam and skipping Kek Lok Si. The stunning Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram and Dhammikarama Burmese Temple substantiate the case that refugees from Thailand and Myanmar were among Penang Island’s first settlers. It’s impossible to say which Buddhist temple is more beautiful, but they’re located across the street from one another, so you might as well visit both. The former houses a huge reclining Buddha whose littlest toe is larger than a human head, but Dhammikarama’s blue-eyed Buddha inside the Sima Shrine Hall practically drips with detail.
a2 Art Gallery
a2 Gallery kicked off its first exhibition in September 2007 by two individual artists, Alfred and Jeff. Since then, this art gallery has exhibited both local and international artists, with a primary niche for contemporary modern artworks (they also feature other styles of artwork for variety). There are garden rooms located on both the ground and first floors that gives away an air of relaxation and refreshment for an intimate art visit.