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Motormouth From Ipoh

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Swatow Lane Ais Kacang @ New World Park, Penang

Penang has always been embedded deep within a corner of my heart. The food, the places, the people (ahem) and the 4 memorable years spent living on the island, were reasons enough to lure me over to the Pearl of the Orient again and again ....


Penang Bridge - Currently under construction/renovation/expansion works ....

Yup, work took me over to Penang the last few days. Not much of a holiday, nor a food tour, as schedule's pretty packed and food's provided 24/7, aka 6 meals a day. As usual. :)

Dorsett Penang Hotel, on Jalan Larut in the heart of Georgetown

We were put up in Dorsett Penang Hotel, a 4 star hotel in Penang. I harboured major expectations before arriving, mainly from the photos of the place on the Net, and hearing rather rave reviews from peers and reviewers alike. The food's supposed to be excellent. Or so they say. However .....
Comfortable and clean rooms, with basic amenities provided

The room's spick and span. No complaints whatsoever. Though some rooms have MORE utensils supplied, such as disposable toothbrush, complimentary mineral water and such. But some did not. But minor teething problems, the very least.
The swimming pool's on the 4th floor, but a tad too constricted for one to do laps. Or even splash around. Especially when sharing with the probably hundreds of guests on weekends. A gym's available for fitness freaks, but seriously, who works out on a holiday?!!!
As for the food .... well, let's leave that for the next posts, shall we? (ie: nothing to shout about)

Around Swatow Lane, and Nagore Road off Jalan Burma
Dorsett's located rather strategically in town centre, a mere short walk to most places of interest. Mostly revolving food, which is all that matters in my book, anyway. =P
Mizi's Bistro at New World Park
When I was a student (aka when I was REALLY young and naive), we used to patronize Swatow Lane for their famous ABC, or Ais Kacang, and various other hawker fares, namely Char Kuey Teow, and Or Chien (Oyster Omelette).
The heat notwithstanding, eating under the make-shift (but rather, a permanent fixture) stall with zinc roofs on the pathway may not be the ideal place for one to sit and chat over a cuppa (in this case, over a bowl of). Some detractors find the place un-hygienic, but seriously, which hawker stall/restaurant adheres strictly to hygiene regulations?

The famous ABC (Ais Batu Campur) stall, now relocated into the newly-built New World Park.

But Penang's really kind to hawkers and traders. Building a revamped and spacious area to house the stalls, and then various other restaurants, cafes, and retail outlets, complete with a parking area, under the moniker, New World Park.

Though some might argue the place has lost its originality and authenticity, but slurping on an iced-cold ABC under the shades, with sufficient airflow and fans, and cleaner surroundings appeals more to tourists and locals alike. Of course, commercialization breeds inflation. But ever so slightly. Imagine a lady selling "Freshly (ahem)made Sushi" from table to table, and the prices of the food/beverages bumped up a notch. Small price to pay, really.

Lor Bak, a perfect snack when one doesn't feel like indulging in a full meal
A soothing thought when it comes to Penang street food, is that no matter where you're eating, you're bound to be at least satisfied with ONE, or more (as in most cases) type(s) of food. Yup, the difference in taste barely noticable, especially in simple food such as Lor Bak (a platter of various deep-fried snacks served with chilli sauce and a sticky concoction of soy sauce and egg white).
Century eggs served with pickled ginger slices, and prawn fritters remain as my favourite choices, while the original Lor Bak (pork rolls wrapped in beancurd sheet) and Taiwanese sausages come as close seconds.
Divine. 'Nuff said. RM3.80 for a bowl with ice-cream and mixed fruits.
So, what's so special bout Swatow Lane's Ais Kacang? Not that they have some secret ingredients, or special syrup (Sarsi, anyone?), or different ice-cream (think Kek Seng's durian ice-cream, and smacked lips).
But they throw in a different combination of fruits to complement the shaved ice with red sugar syrup, and evaporated milk. Papaya, banana, mango, 'Ciku', and watermelon, with attap seeds (palm seeds), red beans, and cincau (grass jelly). And top it all with a scoop of peanut ice-cream. Let the ice-cream melts, and savour the creamy, and refreshing concoction. Spoonfuls of goodness.
New World Park at Jalan Burma
That's all for a lazy Sunday's post. So many others have reviewed bout this place, whether on the hawker fare, or the restaurants there. Google for New World Park or Swatow Lane, and surf away ....
I've tried to attach a map, but somehow I've only managed to get one with directions. So I've added one with directions from Komtar to this place. Click HERE. (Help's appreciated on how to attach a map with only the point of interest marked, thanks!)

28 comments:

Life for Beginners said...

I've actually not been here before so dun worry about others blogging about it before... It's a first for me! :)

...now I got a craving for Lor Bak...

KCA said...

wei.. changed to new place ar?? better lo.. more hygiene ma, rite??

yeah~~ miss the ABC with papaya and banana... weird combination hor... but i *HEART* it... hehe...

ei.. y no pic for char kuey teow?? =P

and y so many 'ahem'?? got phlegm stuck in ur throat ar?? hahahaha...

cariso said...

I agree that the New World Park is offering a more hygenic and comfortable space for all eventhough I am one of those who missed patronizing those Swatow Lane stalls under hot sun.

thenomadGourmand said...

hey ..I'm in Penang too.. also for a short trip.. let me know if you got time to meet up for a meal.. or if you need some directions or food place recommendations, do ask. (but since you stayed in Penang before I guess not huh? )
Whatever it is, enjoy your stay & yes, Penang food is something to savour ;p
However, I must say the standard has really dropped. For Ais Kacang there is usually black syrup or sarsi flavoured syrup in addition to the red one. Somehow, it taste just like sugar water to me now.. but yeah..a scoop of ice cream sure helps to "cream" it up!

D-Tourist said...

Hmm...Motormouth, did u try the famous laksa behind Dorsett, just outside Giant (Penang Plaza) back entrance? Its an Indian man on motorcycle serving laksa from his motorcycle with a myriad of titbits (fried popiah, tofu, nyonya kuih) NOrmally he is there btw 3pm -6pm daily. Very nice & unique.

Been some year since i last tried.. not sure if he is still there....but if u do stay in Dorsett again, u should try it out.

D-Tourist said...

Hmm...Motormouth, did u try the famous laksa behind Dorsett, just outside Giant (Penang Plaza) back entrance? Its an Indian man on motorcycle serving laksa from his motorcycle with a myriad of titbits (fried popiah, tofu, nyonya kuih) NOrmally he is there btw 3pm -6pm daily. Very nice & unique.

Been some year since i last tried.. not sure if he is still there....but if u do stay in Dorsett again, u should try it out.

JENCOOKS said...

u have a sore-throat with all the "ahem". Back to old memory lane with a new twist now. Like the century egg, looks so good with the lor bak...one of my favourite of Penang is lor bak...

Little Inbox said...

I like the ABC ice-kacang too...

Allie said...

There one stall selling banana pancake, it's nice. Will post a review about it soon.

J2Kfm said...

life for beginners : hahaha, sure thing. I crave for the ABC more though.

KCA : really got phlegm now. bad case of flu. sigh ...
din eat CKT lah. the stall also not many business one, dunno same uncle or not.

cariso : yeah. it's more comfortable. but lost its original charm, i'd say. it looks like a plain food court like many others.

thenomadgourmand : hi! I'm back in Ipoh though. guess this posst came a tad too late? :)

D-Tourist : oh, I din notice that! selling on a motor? means only takeaway? or can sit on stools, roadside, to enjoy? :)

jencooks : I like century eggs. one part creamy/mushy, another part gelatinous/springy. yeah, really sore throat now.

little inbox : ditto.

allie : banana pancake near there as well? do post that up.

550ml jar of faith said...

There can never be enough blog posts about New World Park. The place is crammed full of goodies! The ais kacang looks like a million bucks! My choice of topping - nangka!

Pureglutton said...

Yes i do agree the Dorsett's really over-rated - in reality, it was quite disappointing. I have tried that same ice-kachang, huge bowl, couldn't finish it!

jasmine said...

i don't like the new world park in swatow lane... really miss eating under the canvas sheets by the road side. But I still make my way here for the or kueh (yam cake)!

J2Kfm said...

550mL Jar of Faith : oh yeah hor. I also forgot got nangka or not this time. but i rmbr last time they din put ciku one. a nice addition.

pureglutton : regretted choosing Dorsett. for that same amount of money, we could've gone to other choices, such as hotels in Tg Bungah.

jasmine : oh so the yam cakes are nice? never knew though

thenomadGourmand said...

Yesss~ I soooooo agree w Jasmine! Yup, the yam cake is nice, so is his other stuffs.
The dude on the bike moved into the coffeeshop also near where he was based last time I think. That was when I was in Pg months ago, now got to chk again if he's there or not..
Yeahh..your post came a wee bit too late! ;p

Christy said...

Swatow Lane is now New World Park, and although I agree the food quality is below expectation now, I don't oppose to the idea of modernization of this famous tourist haunt:)
Who wants to sit and enjoy specks of dust in your ais kacang along the road when you can have it under a shaded area with a big fan or fans, blowing your hair messy?:D

D-Tourist said...

The indian man has the laksa etc... all on his motor.. and u can haf the laksa either standing by the road side/behind giant or u can squat... no stool one.. :) tats why very unique

D-Tourist said...

The indian man has the laksa etc... all on his motor.. and u can haf the laksa either standing by the road side/behind giant or u can squat... no stool one.. :) tats why very unique

J2Kfm said...

thenomadgourmand : yam cake also within the premise? din notice that lah. wasted. we were looking for snacks for tea break that day even.

christy : well, there's some truth in that I admit. the previous stalls by the roadside were not the most hygienic ones out there.

d-tourist : hehe, imagine piping hot & spicy laksa, and sweating it out squatting at one corner and relish that bowl. unforgettable experience, I'm sure.

D-Tourist said...

Yupe :) just dun let the environment deter u :P heheheh!!! after u finish ur laksa noodles u can ask for some fried popiah dunked into the laksa soup... :) C'est bon!

J2Kfm said...

fried popiah and laksa soup?!! *_*
works meh?

D-Tourist said...

They are those finger sized fried popiah... and they work in a wonderous way ... :)

sc said...

please tell me the delicious swatow or jien and majestic rojak are still there.. ._."

J2Kfm said...

d-tourist : oooh... fried popiah. like the Malay version? yummy.

sc : the Majestic rojak still at the Sin Se Kai coffee shop. but the Or Chien isn't, It could've moved into the New World Park, but I cant be sure.

D-Tourist said...

not malay version, no chilli sauce on the hard crust one...same size but. more like chinese "char chun kuin" with thin crust...
beside popiah can add "tau kuah chien" - fried semi-hard taufoo

J2Kfm said...

d-tourist : oh ic. OK, i like spring rolls no matter how they're made. steamed or fried, a perfect accompaniment to noodles, or snacks.

PenangTuaPui said...

gosh..... Penang Food at ur blog... looks so yummy la...

cannot tahan liao.... but hor in order for tourist to try local penang food, it is good to have it like new world park or gurney, all in one....

but they won't get the best among those hawker food.

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