George Town, Penang: How to get there, where to stay, what to do and where to eat


George Town was one of my favourite stops on our Malaysian trip and I wish I had stayed for longer. We opted for two nights but I really think that three nights would be best. It's such a fantastic place to spend a few days soaking up the atmosphere and dipping in and out of the brilliant cafe culture.

How to get there
You can't fly direct to George Town from the U.K so you'll have to fly into Kuala Lumpur first. You can either then catch another internal flight or you can choose to use the train like we did. I really enjoy getting trains in foreign countries plus it helps to reduce your carbon footprint. We ordered our tickets online in the U.K via KTM Train and printed them off before we left. Book a train from KL Central to arrive at Butterworth in Penang. It will take 4.5 hours but the trains are air-conditioned with decent toilets. The journey flies by but make sure you bring some snacks and water with you. You will be harassed by taxis as you step out of the train station but keep following the signs to the ferry terminal. Here you can get a ferry - for the equivalent of 20p! - over to George Town. It's a quick 15 minute journey.

Where to stay








Our first choice of accommodation was fully booked and boy am I glad. Betel Nut Lodge was the best place we stayed our entire trip. I don't think I have ever experienced service like it, it was impeccable. We paid around £50 a night which included breakfast and a four poster bed! Check in was seamless and we were very kindly brought up a pot of tea and a couple of sweet treats to help us settle in. The room was spotless and the bed provided a very good nights sleep - so comfortable! When we arrived we were given three maps to help us navigate around the city. One had a list of all the Penang specialities, one had a map of all the street art and the other had handwritten notes in with personal recommendations. We based our trip around the latter map and I honestly believe that is why we had such a fantastic time. It's a brilliant location in the UNESCO centre and everything was within walking distance.

What to do





Blue Mansion
One of the most iconic buildings in George Town is the 'Blue Mansion' and they offer English-speaking tours twice a day - once at 11am and again at 2.30pm. It's now a hotel so you can't just turn up and wander around, you must be booked on to a tour. For just under £4, you'll be taken on a tour by a very enthusiastic guide full of knowledge about the building. It certainly has a colourful history!





Street art walking tour
George Town is famous for its cool street art dotted around. The best way to explore this is to arm yourself with a map, a camera and keep popping in and out of the many cafes when the heat gets too much. It was my favourite things to do. Pop out early in the morning unless you are prepared to queue to take a photo. Tour buses come into the city for street art tours so it can get very busy!




Chew Jetty
The Chew Jetty is is largest and most intact of the clan jetties in George Town. It's a nice place to have a wander. The evaluated wooden walkways are full of souvenir shops and food stalls with a temple, people's houses and community hall.






Khoo Kongsi
This Chinese Clanhouse was probably one of the most beautiful buildings I've seen. It was so stunningly designed - no wonder it is the grandest clan house in the whole of Malaysia. Clan Houses were built by the Chinese as meeting centres, they became a place for immigrants to go when they first stepped foot in Malaysia so they should gain a sense of community in a place so far away from home. The British has no idea what used to go on in them and used to call them secret societies. As the years went on the clan houses became more and more impressive as the different clans tried to out do each other to show off their wealth.

Where to eat

Street food
The best places to eat in George Town are the hawker stalls dotted around. It takes a while to get used to eating at the side of the road with cars whizzing past. Here you'll find meals for a £1 or less so they're great if you're sticking to a budget.



The Jetty Food Court
I'd really recommend this place if you're not in town for long and really wanted a hawker stall experience. It's located opposite Chew Jetty and only open in the evening. You find a seat - sharing is more than acceptable so ask to perch on someones table if they have room. Someone will come over and take your drinks order. Make a note of your table number and wander around the stalls to decide what you want. Tell them your table number when you order and they will bring it over when it;'s ready. You pay them when they bring it over, they always have change so there's no need to have the exact money.


China House
Consisting of three buildings all knocked through, China House is the perfect place to stop for a slice of cake and drink to refuel. It's not cheap but the slices of cake are huge and very delicious. It's very hipster and a really cool place to people watch. It also consists of shops, a theatre, library, restaurant and bar. It does get very busy so be prepared to queue.
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5 street foods you need to try in George Town, Penang


1. Char Kway Teow
When we checked into our guesthouse they told us we absolutely had to try this dish, even if we didn't try any other street food specialities. So who were we to argue? Char Kway Teow is a stir-fried flat noodle dish in a dark and light soy sauce with either chicken, prawn and egg. You can opt for all three or go without which ever one you don't fancy. It is absolutely delicious and one of my favourite dishes we tried. We had the dish at Kafe Ping Hooi - look for the stall where the owners wear an orange t-shirt. It is only open until 1pm so pop along for an early lunch so you don't miss out. It cost us around a £1 for this dish but you can get it cheaper if you have it without the meat.


2. Wan Tan Mee
This was the first dish we tried in George Town after yet another recommendation from our tour guide. This Cantonese noodle dish is a hot broth filled with prawn dumplings and topped with roast pork and some sort of greens. I couldn't tell you what it was! You can also opt for it dry which means it comes with a soy sauce rather than a broth. We had a great experience eating this as we shared a table with four locals who talked to us about the area and gave us a little insight into the history. We opted for a large bowl to share but I'd recommend you get the smaller size so you can try lots more food. It's pretty filling! We ate at Mother and Son Wan Tan Mee where a large bowl cost us just over a £1.


3. Penang Assam Laksa
I discovered that Laksa is one of my favourite noodle broth so was keen to try the special Penang version. This spicy dish reminded us of mint sauce! Made using tamarind and using a fish base, it has an unusual tangy taste and it certainly an acquired taste. It is a great one for those who don't enjoy too much spice as it was pretty mild. We tried it at The Jetty Food Court.


4. Popiah
Our friends had raved about this but we struggled to track it down until we got to George Town. Hawker stalls always sell out of stuff so sometimes you don't get what you want. Popiah is non-fried fresh spring roll filled to the brim with vegetables such as carrot, bean sprouts and lettuce. We found our stall at The Jetty Food Court near the Chew Jetties. We picked it by random but it was a fantastic choice. They have so many different stalls so there is something for everything. I think we paid less than a £1 for the Popiah - maybe about 80p!


5. Hokkien Mee
This was another dish that our guesthouse recommended for us. Boasting two different types of noodles (rice and egg), this dish with a bit of a kick originates in Penang. Prawn is the main ingredient but you'll also find a hard boiled egg, pork slices and bean sprouts. The hawker will give you some sambal on a spoon which you can mix in. We tried it in a little place opposite the Chew Jetties. You'll know the one as this is the only thing that it sells. It has a few tables inside. There's a stall next door that does some cracking Chinese sausage and spring roll which you can see to the right.

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#52recipes - numbers 1-5


So I mentioned earlier on in the years that my New Years resolution is to try 52 new recipes this year to help make me more adventurous in the kitchen and finally use those hundreds of cookbooks I have collected over the years. I said I would blog about them every time I had achieved five so here we are! I have mostly been cooking from Meera Sodha's Fresh India book and I'm obsessed. We're trying to eat more vegetarian food and for me, I find curries one of the most flavoursome ways to make vegetables taste good and not feel like I'm missing out by cutting meat out. So what have I rustled up in the kitchen so far?


1. BBC Food's Sage and Onion Stuffing Balls
My best friend did us Beef Wellington on New Years Day. I had some left over sausage meat in the fridge from Christmas so decided to attempt stuffing balls for the first time. They were so easy and so tasty! I'll never buy shop bought ones again.


2. Bengali Coconut Dahl from Fresh India
I've recently discovered an Indian/Caribbean mini supermarket in my town and have been obsessed with it. I've never seen so many types of lentils before! As a result I've been making a few dahls because I kinda went overboard with the lentil buying. I really enjoyed the hint of coconut and this made the perfect winter warmer dinner. It tasted even better the next day when we had the leftovers for lunch. Definitely one I'm going to make again.


3. Sally's Baking Addiction Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
I've made these twice now but the second time wasn't as good because I got distracted and left them in the oven so long. They tasted more like biscuits rather than cookies that time! I love Sally's blog, I could read it for hours. I was scrolling one day and realised I had all the ingredients in the house for these cookies so decided to take the plunge and attempt my first recipe. They spread more than I like but they tasted exactly like Millie's Cookies. They're very sweet thanks to the insane amount of sugar. But they're also very addictive!


4. Savoy Cabbage, Black Kale and Potato Subji from Fresh India
We've been after some lunch ideas for work other than a sandwich so I gave this one a whirl. This dry curry makes the perfect packed lunch! I really like potatoes in a curry, although to be fair I really like potatoes in any form. This was delicious to eat cold and warmed up in the microwave. I felt really good eating it thanks to the cabbage and the kale. Definitely felt like I was upping my vegetable intake! I'll make this one again for sure.


5. Aubergine and Pea Curry from Fresh India
Aubergines are one my favourite vegetables but Connor isn't as keen as me so I don't to eat them that often. We struggled to find some aubergines in Aldi so went to the grocers near our house. It turns out there is a shortage of them so we have to pay £7 for four. Not the cheapest curry I've ever made! I was hoping it would be worth the money and it was! We had it with naans for dinner then the leftovers for lunch the next day. I really enjoyed it and it reminded me of a samosa filling which isn't a bad thing!
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Restaurant review: Wing Stop, West End, central London





























Give me a bucket of chicken wings and I'm happy as Larry. For something so simple its surprisingly easy to do them very wrong. Connor and I are obsessed with Wing Shack which you should definitely try if you're ever in Essex. A few weeks back the day see The Cursed Child had finally rolled around and we needed somewhere quick to stuff our faces before around the theatre. After a quick browse on Google maps I came across Wing Stop.






Wing Stop is an American fast food chain which started in Texas. They've just opened their first U.K branch in London on Shaftesbury Avenue. If you didn't already guess, the chain specialises in chicken wings and offers a variety of sides. We came hungry after having a small lunch at work so we could sample as much as we could handle!

We opted to try the spicy Korean Q along with the original in the chicken wings. So we could try a few other sauces, we shared some chicken tenders with blue cheese and honey-mustard dips. All finished off with the loaded fries smothered in buffalo and blue cheese sauce. The meat was tender and the fries were addictive. Whilst they wasn't the best chicken wings I've ever had, they hit the spot. They were never going to sensational as this is a fast food restaurant. But Wing stop is a great option if you're in a rush and need a quick bite to eat in the area.
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Restaurant review: Dominique Ansel, Victoria, London


Now I know Christmas is over and maybe I'm a bit behind the times with posting festive content, but Dominique Ansel still does afternoon tea all year round. With Sarah's birthday outing colliding with Elodie's flying visit earlier this month, we decided there wasn't a better way to kickstart December then stuffing our faces with cake. Located just as short walk from Victoria Station, Dominique Ansel is famous for the creation of the Cronut but that isn't all it has to offer. It's a great place to catch up over a fancy cake with the only problem choosing which one to get!





The afternoon tea is located in a gorgeous undercover garden terrace, available from Thursday to Sunday from 12pm-4pm. Like all traditional afternoon teas you'll be given a savoury selection, sweet selection, scones with cream and jam with as much tea as you can drink. But this is where the tradition ended. Instead of sandwiches, we were given cute savoury Christmas trees which were filled with delicious fillings, including salmon, egg salad, turkey and mushroom. Next up was the best tier, the sweet treats! The mince pie snowman was my favourite, in fact I had two! The stars were filled with a delicious cream and jam concoction for the scones.

Service was a little slow but I think that's because of the busy festive season. But they did let us have the table a lot longer than they originally said. We always gossip too much so it was an nice touch to not feel rushed. Priced at £42, it's one of the more expensive afternoon teas in London but it is worth it for something a little different. It was a great way to kickstart Christmas!




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A 2019 cooking challenge: 52 new recipes in 52 weeks


This year I spent a lot more time in the kitchen and realised that it really is my happy place. I love being about to switch off on a Sunday afternoon and lose myself in cooking something delicious. One of my goals this year was to start using my cookbooks enough and I certainly did that. But I mainly rotated around five books which is silly considering I now have around 200 sitting around. I found recipes, especially baking recipes, I loved and did them numerous times. Now there's nothing wrong with that but I want to push myself and stop being afraid of it going wrong.


So this year I am going to try 52 different recipes which works out one a week. A pretty doable challenge if you ask me! They can be from books, blogs or newspapers. Just a recipe that has tickled my fancy. I have literally hundreds bookmarked and have tried maybe one or two. I want to be a lot more adventurous and try and improve my knowledge of the kitchen. Bread is my top choice for something I want to ace next year.

I'll be blogging about it on here to keep me in check. I think I'll be writing a new blog post each time I complete around five which will hopefully equal around one a post a month. As nothing really counts until it's been posted on social media, I'll also be popping each recipe up on my Instagram alongside the hashtag #52recipes so be sure to follow along. 

Wish me luck!

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