I caught up recently with my sister, Tiffany, who coincidentally also just visited and reviewed a place I’ve been meaning to check out (great minds!). It’s called the Habitat Penang Hill, and it’s a nature trail & canopy walk run by two close friends of our family, Freddie and Allen. The Habitat trail takes you past 3 of Penang Hill’s oldest historic bungalows and rainforest. Read more about the Habitat at Penang Local, my sister’s website on everything Penang.
When I travel for MM2H work, I always tell people who are considering relocating to the area that we are more than just a tropical island with an affordable standard of living.
Culturally, as well as activity wise, there are many great layers to Penang. Tiff’s blog reflects this. So head on over to read her write up on the Habitat along with some other fun reviews at Penang Local!
Sticking with the theme of food, I have also been lucky enough to try a couple of local restaurants recently …
What the Duck
I love family-run restaurants because there’s always a real sense of pride and care in the cooking. This little duck restaurant on Nagore Road is exactly that.
Run by chef Daniel and his charming wife, Elaine, it’s the first time in ages I’ve taken a chance on a restaurant where all the stars ended up aligning. The chef is personable and very hands-on, there are friendly service staff and the food is absolutely outstanding. This is one restaurant that certainly serves consistently hearty meals! And when I say hearty, the signature dish is duck confit.
As I found out from Daniel, in classical French cooking, confit is a cuisine where the duck cooks in its own fat over the course of a few hours. However, Daniel uses vegetable fat instead, which gives the duck a lighter, crispier texture on the outside and juicy succulence on the inside. So if you’re on a diet, you can technically tell your dietician that this is healthy duck!
At dinnertime and on weekends, chef Daniel serves the full menu, including a home-made ice cream and brownie dessert. This is really where the magic happens.
The day menu is a bit more limited, but it still features the signature duck confit. And if you don’t like duck, the restaurant offers other meat and vegetarian dishes too.
Fancy tucking in yourself? What the Duck is open from noon to 2.30 pm and 6 to 10.30 pm every day except Wednesdays.
Jia Siang Cafe
Located in a sleepy village at Pulau Betong, this restaurant is hidden away by a mangrove river, near rows of colourful wooden fishing boats moored to unload their catch.
Very often my friends from Kuala Lumpur or MM2H ask for restaurant recommendations that are ideal for friends and family, and this is one of my firm favourites. Jia Siang takes them out of the expat enclave of Tanjung Bungah, lovely as it may be. This is a world of rustic kampung houses and mangrove swamps. Time ticks to a different beat here. And it’s great for hikes or a cycle ride before or after lunch!
I’m not sure about you, but it gives me immense satisfaction to know that I had a hand in my lunch preparation, even if it’s just popping round the back of the restaurant to purchase seafood that came off the fishing boats literally moments before. You can then tell your “sous chefs” at Jia Siang exactly how you want it cooked. This restaurant fills up quickly, so it pays to be early. What a great group outing!
Where are your favourite places to eat in Penang?
Author: Sam Choong
Sam Choong is a lawyer practising in Malaysia. His areas of practice include estate planning, wills and UK inheritance tax for expats residing or seeking to retire in Malaysia.