Similar to my previous weekends when I killed a few hours of walking around George Town, Penang with the sole aim of capturing things I fancy on my cam, I didn’t plan to take Gabby with me but my 8 year old son decided to tag along again as I opted to spend my late Saturday afternoon in two areas in the island. Before we left our apartment, it was made clear to him and to his mom that malls and fastfood joints aren’t included in my itineraries. The boy was adventurous and excited to come with me; I welcomed the idea that he’s open to try things outside the box at such a young age. 🙂
Hopping on the bus and taking the 15-minute ferry ride from Butterworth to George Town, Penang aren’t unusual to us but going to a nearby clan jetty doesn’t happen even on a weekly basis. I took my feet and Gabby to one of those waterfront settlements of Chinese families who left their country of origin to live in the coastal waters of Penang, the Tan Jetty.
Unlike the CHEW JETTY which is more frequented by tourists and travelers, Tan Jetty does not have much settlers. The houses were less in number, there’s nothing much to appreciate except the existence of an authentic Thai restaurant and a narrower wooden walkway that extends to the sea. I wonder how glorious to catch the sunrise and sunset here!
What Gabby and I saw will definitely not appeal to those who value aesthetics and comfort over and beyond history and heritage. What made the sight a bit unpleasant was the fact that it was low tide when we arrived and the place, despite peaceful and tranquil, screams the need for maintenance.
I initially wanted Gabby to simply stand still near the Thai restaurant and wait for me while I take some photos but he’s determined to stroll down that tall and narrow wooden path. I told you, Gabby’s into this adventure too! So we held hands and took steps farther. At halfway towards the end of the wooden walkway, there’s a small Buddhist temple and the awesome view of the bay.
We only stayed in Tan Jetty less than half an hour but that minimal time gave us a different view of life in Penang. I’m also proud to state that Gabby braved that wooden planks and experienced a totally unique environment that’s incomparable with airconditioned malls, comfortable hotel rooms and wonderful theme parks.
We walked back to Weld Quay and took a 5 minute Rapid Penang bus ride to Jalan Penang (or Penang Road). We hopped off the bus just before Cititel Hotel and turned left to Muntri Street. The second world we visited in George Town that weekend was Soul Kitchen in Muntri Street.
Admittedly, it’s not that common to find a non-Halal restaurant in George Town unless hawker stalls manned by Chinese-Malaysians. Soul Kitchen is uniquely different. It’s owned by a German and Malaysian couple by the names of Tonio and Michele. This restaurant boasts of authentic Italian dishes with ingredients mostly not found in the usual food places in Penang. The unpretentious shophouse-converted-into-a-food-place is a haven for those who look for something extraordinary.
Michele immediately approached us to hand in the menu. There were menu boards and the list of beverages available were on a simple black piece of paper. I asked her of the available pizza, because my boy loves pizza and Michele replied back with a query. She casually inquired if we eat pork. I said, Yes! She told me there’s Parma Ham pizza and some pasta; she also mentioned we can have the pizza in two flavors, half with prosciutto or parma ham and rocula, and the rest of the slices with only cheese. That rang a bell to Gabby’s ears since he’s a purist when it comes to pizza. We also ordered Pork Lasagne and washed everything down with Iced Cappuccino for me and Coke for Gabby.
Parma Ham Rucola Parmesan…
Gabby and I loved the pizza! Its pretty thin crust and loads of cheese and prosciutto, plus its rare oval shape made it special however a bit pricey at RM 24 for half serving of parma ham. It’s reasonable for those ingredients, I guess. Although the pizza was nice and all, the lasagne needs a little improvement. The Iced Cappuccino is sweet and strong, I liked!
Before I googled the web and stumbled upon Soul Kitchen, I never expected to find an authentic Italian eatery amidst Nasi Lemak and Char-Koay-Teow-dominated food stalls! More so, I never thought that an unassuming restaurant could serve freshly baked Parma Ham Pizza that tasted variably delicious compared with that of our favorite Pizza Hut! Sometimes, those that are less commercialized are more satisfying!
Going to Tan Jetty to explore a different environment and discovering another food place in Soul Kitchen offered something new to us. It certainly broke the monotony of our weekday routines and weekend escapes.
I believe that we need to step out of our comfort zones sometimes to uncover more things and places that we’re already familiar with; such will provide a better appreciation of the world we live in.