You tiao in Penang, Malaysia

From a street-side hawker in Penang, these deep fried ham jing peng, which are deep fried buns with a sweet red bean paste as filling, are ready to go!

Deep fried bread sticks or youtiao and its variations such as the ham jimg pengs in the above picture are a simple treat in Southeast-Asia. They’re usually eaten at breakfast with a good cup of thick kopi-O (black coffee), but they can be enjoyed throughout the day as a finger food as well.

Fried bread sticks and fried buns with various fillings can most conveniently be found at hawker centers in Singapore and at street-side hawkers in Malaysia. They’re also found in other Asian countries such China, Philippines, Laos and Vietnam.

The lady with her street-side stall. Just behind her is the backstreet lane of several shophouses in Penang, Malaysia.

During my trip to Penang, Malaysia, late last year, I found some youtiao at a street-side hawker near the Pulau Tikus market. I stood and watched as the lady in a sky blue apron, expertly kneaded the dough into shape and dropped them gently one by one, into a wok filled with hot oil. She seemed to do this without effort, something of a testament perhaps, to the number of years she’s already been doing this. Continue reading “You tiao in Penang, Malaysia”

Air Itam Dam, Penang, Malaysia

A beautiful water reserve, at Air Itam in Penang.

The small island of Penang that lies on the northwest coast of the Peninsula of Malaysia, is best explored on scooters or by car. These modes of transport are readily available at the airport or booking arrangements can also be made via some hotels when you get there.

Traffic in Penang is languid and very much kampong or ‘village’ style where modern roads are their markings are there as a suggestion rather than a rule. I’ve witnessed motorcycles ride against the main flow of traffic on expressways, and cars carrying along merrily despite a red stop light. What was more amazing was that everybody expected it and no accidents occurred. Continue reading “Air Itam Dam, Penang, Malaysia”