Penang — the good and the bad

By | February 5, 2014

Unidentified substance: The black discharge contaminating the public beach behind Bayview Beach Resort at Batu Ferringhi.

PETALING JAYA: Penang has been ranked number one in a list of places for foodies to go to that will appear in a book to be published this Valen­tine’s Day by Lonely Planet.

The article by Robin Barton says Malaysian hawker food had spread worldwide via food trucks and pop-ups but nothing compared to hitting the northern island for a food journey.

“Its food reflects the intermingling of the many cultures that arrived after it was set up as a trading port in 1786, from Malays to Indians, Acehnese to Chinese, Burmese to Thais.

“State capital George Town is its culinary epicentre,” Barton wrote.

Other destinations listed were Victoria in Australia, north-west of Spain, deep south of the United States, Lake District in Britain, Puglia in Italy and Georgia and Oaxaca in Mexico.

The eight countries listed were edited extracts taken from The Food Book. It appeared on Sunday on (a British news website) under the headline “Where are the foodies going in 2014?”.

Barton suggested readers “make sure” they try char kway teow, hokkien mee and asam laksa.

The list also compiled food that readers “should think twice” before consuming and Barton “warned” readers of sago grubs (locally known as ulat mulung), the 4cm-long larvae of a South-East Asian beetle.

Esplanade Food Centre was recommended for hawker favourites with a seafront location as well as pasar malam (night markets) such as in Jelutong on Fridays and Macallum Street Market on Mondays.

“The highlight (of the pasar malam) is always the food: at 2am a different world of stalls serves peppery pork-rib soups, skewered fish balls and sweets such as chendol (cold coconut-milk dessert),” Barton wrote.

The writer highlighted the cooling air bandung and praised it as “a great accompaniment to Malay food”.

The Food Book is priced at £14.99 (RM81.80) and will be published on Feb 14.


… and there’s a stink by the beach but IWK says it’s not responsible


GEORGE TOWN: Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) has denied accusations that it is responsible for the black discharge flowing from Sungai Batu Ferringhi into the sea.

“IWK sewerage pipe networks are in good condition and no leakages have been found,” the national sewerage company said in a press statement yesterday.

“Sampling results of the water also meet the parameters set by regulators. There could be other sources causing the pollution.”

IWK treats the waste water in the Sungai Batu Ferringhi vicinity and the statement said the sewerage pipes serving the 30,000 users in the area were in good condition.

Separately, the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) said Drainage and Irrigation Depart­ment (DID) and council officers visited the affected area on Monday.

“Water samples have been obtained by the Department of Environment (DOE) and DID and the result will be known after two weeks,” said an MPPP statement.

The media yesterday reported that the black discharge flowing from Sungai Batu Ferringhi into the sea behind a hotel in the tourism belt was believed to contain E. coli bacteria.

Hoteliers have disagreed that the public beach affected by the black discharge be closed.

“We have advised guests not to swim in the sea,” said Bayview Beach Resort general manager Edwin Yap.

State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said MPPP, DOE, DID, IWK and other related agencies met yesterday to discuss the matter, which was being investigated.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said MPPP president Datuk Patahiyah Ismail informed him that the incident was an “IWK issue” and declined to comment further.

DOE officials declined comment when contacted.

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