Archive for February, 2010
Penang’s Chinese New Year Cultural and Heritage Celebration was held in George Town last Saturday, which also marked the 7th day of Chinese New Year. Like the past years, the celebration would be held at the heart of the newly crowned UNESCO World Heritage Site which included Acheen Street, Armenian Street, Cannon Street, Ah Quee Street, Soo Hong Lane, Chulia Street and Kg. Kolam.
This year, the theme of the celebration took a turn to focus on moral values like Faithful, Filial piety, Etiquette and Justice – instead of featuring the 12 animal zodiac signs in the previous celebrations.
As such, the site of celebration was divided into 10 area and zones that featured a particular moral value or performance. For example Chulia Street was turned into Faithful Area, Lebuh Ah Quee into Etiquette Area, Cheah Kongsi into ‘The Old Penang Memory’, Penang Youth Centre into Wushu Stage etc.
The event was scheduled to start at 3pm but I was there early for parking as well as taking the opportunity to snap photos before people started to pour in. The main stage was at the start of Cannon Square where the brilliant Multi Cultural Traditional Welcoming Dance was performed.
The dance was performed beautifully and left the foreign tourists amazed, me included. I can confirm that from their expressions lol. Since I was at the side of the stage taking photos was difficult so I am showing the photos of the dancers taken at the back stage instead. As usual you can click on the photos to view them in full size.
I feel this photo got the 1Malaysia feel lol.
Chingay Performance at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, which was also the main area of the celebration.
Then a troop of lion dance entered the main area leading a parade of people upholding banners of moral values.
Following the parade were a group of ladies in cheongsam..
Which eventually led to Danny Law, chairman of Penang Tourism, Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee to officiate the opening ceremony at Area of Etiquette.
As far as Japanese restaurants go, Kampachi of Hotel Equatorial located at Bukit Jambul was and still remains as one of the top ones in Penang. Kampachi’s reputation is so strong that when you think of having great Japanese food, the restaurant comes into mind. However, the indulgence comes with a price, as Kampachi is also one of the most expensive Japanese restaurants in town.
Because of that, I never stepped foot into Kampachi even though I had lots of opportunity to visit them. For each state that I went to either study or work, there is a Kampachi restaurant. For example in Melaka where I had my pre-U, in Penang where I grew up and in KL and Bangi (Selangor) where I completed my degree and worked for 4 years.
It’s kinda ironic considering I am more than willing to pay and go for some unknown Japanese buffets lol. So one day I just decided it was time to aim for quality instead of quantity and finally had my first meal at Kampachi. Oh well, better late than never.
One noticeable difference with Kampachi as soon as we started ordering was that the waitresses were professional, helpful and able to give recommendations. Even when you ask about the ingredients, they were able to answer accurately and confidently. Some would just run back to the kitchen to ask the chefs for answers lol.
By the way I didn’t go alone yeah, my brother came along and I decided to treat him because it was New Year. Besides, he always fetched me home whenever I took a flight. So you can say it was both a celebration and ‘thank him’ meal. Tori No Tatsuta-Age (Deep-fried Marinated Chicken) @ RM22 was his order, made even before I could open the menu lol. Good choice though, the fried chicken used the thigh part resulting in a very succulent taste and can be dipped into ponzu sauce.
Then for my compulsory sashimi fix, Shake (salmon) Sashimi @ RM42. It was the most expensive item we had that night, but deemed worth it for the thick slices given. Freshness was top notch too. All it required was a quick dip into the shoyu for the extra flavoring.
I went to Kek Lok Si last Thursday to photograph the annual Display of Lights event, where thousands of lanterns and lights are lit at night for 30 days following the Chinese New Year. I am quite surprised to know that there are Malaysians who do not know the existence of Kek Lok Si in Penang. When they saw the photos they were thinking if such a beautiful place is located in Thailand? Just wow lol.
For unknown reasons 18th Feb was the day most people went up the hill at Air Itam, even Chinese New Year’s eve did not see so many tourists. Because of that the way up the temple was so jammed up that some people were stuck for 2 hours. Luckily I went quite early around 7pm so I did not experience such a bad traffic jam.
But once I reached the temple parking was a huge problem, as drivers parked their cars on the narrow driveways! It was quite a chaos. FYI the parking cost RM2. Now for the photos, those shown in this post are smaller in size but high res nonetheless. Do click on the photos itself to view them at their biggest resolution, or visit my Flickr photoset to view all of them.
The temple was still quite empty at 7.30pm but you could see the long queue of cars waiting to enter from afar.
The lights and lanterns were lit at 8pm, signaled by loud sounds of bells from the main pagoda.
First time I managed to photograph the pagoda with a moon in the background.
Besides Haron Satay, Ah Hwee BBQ Chicken Wings at East Coast Park Food Village is also quite the awesome. Unlike our normal version of BBQ wings, which are marinated with dark sauce then barbecued to a juicy dark-orangish color and usually burnt on the sides; Ah Hwee’s version is crispy and dry on the outside yet succulent inside. Both versions use the same heat source though: charcoal.
This photo is self-explanatory, you can feel the crispiness of the skin just by looking lol. The evenly barbecued wings with very little charred parts means you get the most meat out of each wing and also being less carcinogenic (although I don’t really believe that consuming a little burnt food would once in a while would hurt)