Come fly with me (2)…

Gee! How time flies! Last Saturday morning, I was in Penang…taking a flight to KL. Since I was at the airport early, I did what I do best to while away the time – eat! I decided to go to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf…

Coffee Bean 1

I was wondering whether there was something wrong with the coffee cup or perhaps they gave me one that was meant for lefties (left-handed people). Anyway, I opted for one of the items on the All-day Breakfast menu…

Coffee Bean 2

…at RM16.35. Well, considering that the breakfast set an McD’s costs RM12 something, I would think this one’s a much better deal and more value for money than what I got for RM20.00 at the LCCT (Low class…Oops! I mean the low cost carrier terminal) – just coffee and a slice of apple crumble.

When I came back to Sibu on Tuesday, at the KLIA, I stopped by the KFC outlet in the departure hall…

KFC KLIA

Gosh! The place was deserted! Probably school holidays were over or perhaps, the economic downturn PLUS the H1N1 had hit the travel industry hard…or maybe it was puasa (fasting) time. I had the Riser…which was actually half a burger for RM8.25, inclusive of one drink and I had orange juice…

KFC Riser

You get more options outside in the departure hall and I understand that things are cheaper than what you can get inside the departure lounge. Otherwise, if you are flying to East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), you can always wait till you have boarded the aircraft as inflight meals will be served, all inclusive in your airfare unlike when you’re travelling on that cheapskate cheap airline…

MAS inflight meal 1

The inflight meal used to come in plastic plates of various sizes on a tray and then they switched to a very elegant and sophisticated looking box (that looked like something from the florist) but the food inside at the time was horrible. Then they changed to a fragile manila card box and improved on the quality of the food served…and now they have come up with something new that they claim is biodegradable and environment-friendly.

MAS inflight meal 2

There must be something wrong with the design as I noticed that they had torn off one end of all the containers which unfortunately gave them a flawed and not-too-impressive impression…

MAS inflight 3

The food inside was the usual fare that they had been serving all this while. That morning we had a choice of nasi lemak

MAS inflight meal 4

…or roti prata, and the extras…

MAS inflight meal 5

Somehow the stewardess serving the meal in my section did not ask the passengers whether they wanted tea or coffee, just water or fruit juice. I had to ask for my caffine fix and it came in a plastic cup that looked like the cover of a vacuum flask…

MAS inflight meal 6

…and the coffee was so diluted and weak. Ah well! As they say, beggars can’t be choosers…. Anything’s better than eating at the terminal and burning a hole through your pocket…or spending RM8.00 for a cup of instant noodles!

Last night…

It was not on our last night in Penang, but after the delightful salted fish fried rice I had at a stall at Red Garden, the hawker centre somewhere across the road from Cititel Penang, we went back there again some nights later and my daughter had the pineapple fried rice…

Red Garden pineapple fried rice

…while I had one of the other fried rice dishes…

Red Garden fried rice 2

Somehow, I just can’t remember exactly what I had, so you can imagine how unimpressive it must have been. Well, both were a disappointment and a far cry from the salted fish fried rice that I had which was simply awesome.

My daughter also had rice for lunch that day when I went out for lunch with Mac and Joe. She did not want to join us, so I tapaoed for her some roast duck rice (RM6.00) from the May Garden Restaurant located right next to the hotel and some roast suckling piglet (RM20 for mostly the crackle/skin)…

Mel's roast duck & suckling pig lunch

…but she said it wasn’t that nice even though that restaurant seemed somewhat popular and was well-known for its roast stuff. I tried a bit of it and I must say that I couldn’t agree more. We have much nicer ones in Sibu, she said…and she was right, and what we have here is a lot cheaper too!

Anyway, all too soon, our stay in Penang was about to come to an end. On our last night on the island, we went back to Red Garden as my daughter wanted to have the Japanese bento (RM15.00) that she had that first night in Penang…

Japanese bento

I had this Thai rice dish…

Thai rice dish

…which wasn’t anything to shout about, but I really liked their mango pulut (glutinous rice) dessert…

Thai mango pulut dessert

I think that was RM6 or RM7 for that big plate and it was really nice even though I would very much prefer durian. The last time I had that was years ago at some food court in Singapore. I had both durian and mango and it was S$10.00 each for just a small plate. Try converting that! *Pengsan!

Incidentally, there is a satay and chicken wing stall at one far end of the Red Garden Hawker Centre…and as they didn’t look too bad, I thought I would just order a few sticks to give it a try…

Red Garden satay

Unfortunately, they were far from what I would expect. Even the seasoning of the sticks of satay did not taste like what it should be and the satay sauce was equally disappointing. Besides, they were not cheap at all – 80 sen per stick. I can get satay at the Taman Muhibbah Hawker Centre near my house here in Sibu for half the price and they taste real good…like satay!

Now, while we were halfway through dinner, I received an sms from some ex-students, so I just told them to come to the hotel later and we could just sit and chat…and that was what they did. This is Lay Po who stays in touch with me via Facebook…

With Lay Po

…and this is Hui Lik…

With Hui Lik

…both from my Form 5 class in 1995. Now, both are happily married, settled and working in Penang and each of them is blessed with a daughter. Good grief! Don’t tell me they are following their ex-teacher’s footsteps! LOL!!! We sat and talked till almost midnight…

…and the next morning, my Penang friend, Eng, dropped me off at the airport for my flight to KL and was so kind as to help me send my daughter back to Sungai Petani after that.

As you can see from my posts, other than the eating and a little bit of shopping/window-shopping, we did not do very much else during all that time we were in Penang. My daughter had lots of assignments, so most of the time, we were cooped up in the hotel room with her doing her work and me, lazing around and idling the time away and dozing off…

But she did say that she had a good break and was happy that I came over to keep her company. I certainly am glad I went over too and one consoling thought is that I’ll be seeing her again pretty soon as she’ll be coming home for Hari Raya in a couple of weeks’ time…

Something different…

I mentioned in a previous post that my Penang friend, Eng, took us for a steamboat dinner. Well, it was actually an eat-all-you-can steamboat and barbecue at this place…

Penang steamboat 1

It was something like the Twin Star place that we have in Sibu except that there was a lot more items available including fairly big prawns and clams…

Penang steamboat 2

Penang steamboat 3

…and they even have the lok lok or satay celup section…

Penang steamboat 4

…and also a dim sum counter where we could get the usual stuff like these…

Penang steamboat 5

…and even grilled crabs…

Penang steamboat 6

There was this guy grilling the crabs on the spot…

Penag steamboat 7

…and we could just help ourselves to as many as we liked. It certainly was something different from the usual hawker fare that my daughter and I had been having for virtually every meal during our stay in Penang and was indeed a welcome change.

Then, there was Edmund…another Penang friend of mine, going back all the way to 1973 when we were together in Singapore. We had lost touch for a long time but somehow managed to get into contact with each other again after all these years. Maybe I’ll have a post on that one day, but anyway, he came and took me and my daughter out for lunch at the Chinese Recreation Club and we had this claypot fish dish…

Penang Chinese Recreation Club lunch 1

…and we also had chicken with jellyfish…

Penang Chinese Recreation Club lunch 2

…and this vegetable dish…

Penang Chinese Recreation Club lunch 3

The food was good and we enjoyed the lunch…but I had a glimpse at the bill and it came up to over RM60 for the three dishes plus rice and Chinese tea, and I would think that was kind of expensive. By Sibu standard, it certainly is.

So, with the lunch we had at the Blue Reef, the steamboat dinner and this lunch at the club, we did have something different…other than just the hawker fare while we were in Penang.