Penang’s living heritage is all around Georgetown, much of it is edible, the rest is easy to see for free, or at very little cost, one of the finest architectural examples is The Blue Mansion, a fantastic heritage building sympathetically converted into a hotel. The current owners of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion personally lead the tour around the public areas of the hotel they created from the sprawling mansion, crafted in the traditional Chinese style by Cheong Fatt Tze a hugely successful business man who was respected throughout British held territory. The tour the offer is brilliant! With loads of fascinating historic information about the building, Cheong Fatt Tze himself and greater Georgetown, although the tour runs twice a day I feel lucky to have been able to see inside.
After the tour there is the chance to ask a few questions, my question about good places to eat in Georgetown led to a great answer: “Penang people are cheap. They like value for money, so if something is good it stays open, it can be expensive as long as it’s good value. If it’s not good it won’t last regardless of the price.” She continued talking about the food tourism that brings many people to Penang and Georgetown to eat some of the fantastic local specialities and brilliant cookery. This really empowered me to try anything in town, one of the concerns when I travel is wasting one of my limited appetites, and this answer reassured me that any of the food was good to try.
So confident of the quality of the food in Penang and the volume of food tourists that come here the tourism agency has compiled a list of Penang’s specialities and even a list of locations where you can get great examples of the dishes. There are more of these dishes available than I will ever have enough appetites to try them all.
Even the bulk of the fantastic murals that adorn Georgetown are food centric, tucked into little corners, down quiet streets and behind buildings, finding these murals can lead to a merry little chase around town. There are new ones added by some business owners to encourage foot traffic and a series of wire sculptures around town as well, further demonstrating Georgetown’s links with its food heritage.