Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Penang I: Mumlindo
Planned a getaway to Penang with the gang during the Labour Day long weekend. Bought the flight tickets six months before. At that time, I wasn't certain what the plan for my mother's birthday was. Closer to the date, I found the travel dates to be clashing. Bro had bought tickets to KL for April 30th, while I was supposed to fly off on May 1st! Dang! To make things work, I suggested to my siblings to celebrate mum's birthday in Penang! After some discussion, we reached a consensus. The Tribe would drive to Penang on Friday and my brother would follow them. On the other hand, I bought an extra flight ticket for mum to Penang. Didn't want her to spend too much time in the car in case her neck acted up again. Unfortunately, the flight back to KL was sold out, so she would have to follow my sister's car back to KL. Instead of flying back to Singapore from KL, my brother bought a flight ticket from Penang to Singapore. Phew. With the arrangements in place, it was all systems go.
Our flight to Penang was at 10:25 AM. We took a cab to Subang Airport at 8:15 AM. Arrived early enough to have a leisurely breakfast at Kapitan Kopitiam, one of the many breakfast places there. Crowded with customers but the food mediocre. Truth be told, it was the first time I was flying out of Subang Airport and also my virgin trip with Malindo. On top of that, my first time boarding an ATR 72 turboprop (a very noise fella on the tarmac). For KH, it was also his first flight with my mother. Hehe. So many firsts. I slept for most of the flight although there was generally more scenery on the ATR 72 due to the lower cruising altitude. When I woke up, I was surprised to find that they actually distribute biscuits and water. Upon arrival, the first thing KH told me was that Penang Airport reminded him of Calgary Airport.
First thing we did was head to the car rental counters. SK's research yielded the cheapest option available-- an Alza from Hawk Rental. When we told them there were seven of us, they offered us two sedans instead, at no extra costs. Weird. And so, we drove off in a Mitsubishi Attrage and a Honda City, both new cars with KL registration plates. Went to check in at our homestay at Idaman Iris, just fifteen minutes away from the airport. It was well-furnished, albeit in a rather China-fied fashion. Plenty of feng shui-y and flowery stuff. Dropped our bags and went to lunch at Sushi Kitchen, just a few minutes away. Business is so good at that vegan restaurant (yes, vegan!) that one needs to make an appointment to dine there (SK's colleague made reservations for us). The restaurant is located on the second floor and you need the waiter to buzz you up. On the way up, customers can enjoy the beautifully vandalized walls and floor tiles. The interior of the restaurant is full of old stuff, some for sale, some not. Not many tables available with most of the space taken up by a wooden platform where you would have to sit cross-legged, kneel or whatever, all with uncomfortable results.
We ordered all sorts of stuff, mostly rolls, soup noodles, udon and fried rice. Some of the dishes had weird names like Golden Age (mango maki), Crispy G-Ken (vegan chicken) and Global Warming, but we ordered so much that I ended up not knowing which was which. Food came in small portions, but they didn't cost a bomb either. A recurring theme in their Japanese cuisine is their egg-free mayo.
Once we were done, we visited The Tribe at the other home stay at Jalan Kenari. A beautiful house. The owner must have stayed there before moving to an even better place. Extensive renovations with bling all over. Flashy wallpaper, shiny tiles, stone facades, sun rooms, LED lights, statues and potpourri in the toilets, hidden doors and huge mirrors.
The Tribe rested at home (expecially Big Monster who was nursing a viral fever), while mum and bro followed us out for coffee at St. Presso. The restaurant beside it caught my eye because it was called MaMaTei, Cantonese for mediocre. Bad name for an eatery. Back to St. Presso, nothing special about the interior design. Looks like something out of a Starbucks template. Coffee came in colourful mugs with heart-shaped spoons. My latte wasn't bad, but KH complained that his flat white seemed to 'watery'. But we all agreed that their croissant was quite yummy.
That night's dinner was at Hai Boey. Arrived some time after 6:00 PM, but the place was already a hive of activity with a lack of parking spaces. Even the line to check your table number was about fifteen people long. Luckily SK's colleague had helped us to make reservations a few days back. Her colleague reported a very arrogant conversation with their staff.
Customer: Would like to order some dishes suitable for kids. Do you have steamed egg?
HB: Steamed egg?! If you want to order such a simple dish, I suggest you go to the hawker centre.
Customer: Errr, how about fishball soup?
HB: Water, put MSG, put seaweed, put fishball. Can?
Amazing right? Seems like Hai Boey had did some renovations since the last I was there in 2013. They had now put up a beach cut-out where you can be a mermaid, a chef holding a fish, a lobster (FTW) or a kid on a dolphin. Our dishes came at a disjointed pace. After the fried chicken, mixed vegetables, asam prawns (I wanted the coconut prawns!!!), clams and baby octopus were served, the food suddenly stopped coming. It was a long gap and many kitchen checks later that our claypot grouper (contributed to a quarter of the bill!) and stuffed bitter gourd arrived. With dinner out of the way, the kids had fun at the beach. By the time we got back to Bayan Lepas, it was still early.
The entertainment for the night was mahjong. Since the dining table was square, they commandeered it for their game. Even the giant mirror in front of it wasn't a problem as they covered the reflective surface with cardboard. I didn't join in the fun, just watched TV and snacked. Had to entertain myself since the hubby was so engrossed.
By 9:45 PM, SK, Brian, Apollo, QueerRanter-D and BIL went to watch "Helios" at Queensbay Mall. KH and I did not join, so we went back to the condo. With the whole house to ourselves, we showered together and retired to the bedroom for some lovin'. Could moan to my heart's delight since the house was empty. I nearly messed up the mattress, but luckily KH was quick enough to catch my 'gush'. LOL. Perfect first day to a long weekend.