What do you do when you are planning a trip to a place where you’ve been to with Person A but now you need to Person B to the same place.
That was the question I had to answer when I was planning my parents’ trip to Penang. Previously, I went to the Pearl of the Orient once with L. I didn’t really want to visit sites which I’ve visited because it would be a waste of time for me.
However, I made an exception for the Pinang Peranakan Museum.
Background of Pinang Peranakan Museum
The museum was previously the house of a rich Peranakan family.
Even though the mansion is big, it doesn’t seem be to big enough for a family with 3 generations, including the multiple concubines and their kids. Perhaps the lower ranking people lived in the compound and not the main house.
The museum is divided into two levels. The lower level is the place where guests visit. It includes a gigantic dining table, a room for card games and loads of antique.
Many of the wooden panels or carvings were decorated with a layer of gold (probably only paint) which made the whole floor look a little like the showfloor for houses targeted at the nouveau riche.
The upper floor is similarly packed with antiques but is more “personal”.
The wedding room is a little ominous with the red lighting which made the room feel like a brothel instead of the suit of a newly wed couple.
After seeing Singapore’s Peranakan Museum, the Pinang Peranakan Museum feels like everything was thrown together in haste for the exhibition. This isn’t a bad thing because it feels more approachable. It’s easier to imagine how the family might have lived..
I’m a star
Based on the fading movie posters at the entrance, the house was the filming location for multiple period dramas.
A popular Singapore period drama, Little Nyonya, might be filmed here. I’ve never watched the drama but after reading the character bios, I think I might like the show because it doesn’t have a “Happily Ever After” ending.
The compound of the museum had a few bamboo-like plants. They were decorated with the entrance stickers which were stuck on by tourists. I like that it gave the green tone of the wall and plants a pop of color.
Comparing Pinang Peranakan Museum and Singapore Peranakan Museum
If I must choose between Pinang Peranakan Museum and Singapore Peranakan Museum, I would choose the museum in Penang as my favorite.
The site feels more friendly and human because all the wares are right in front of you.
Cendol is probably my second favorite Malaysian dessert. (The first being “bubur pulut hitam” which is black glutinous rice soup with coconut milk.)
The best cendol I’ve ever had was in Georgetown, Penang.
I usually like my cendol icy with lumps of teeth numbing ice so I was very disappointed when I got a warm-ish bowl of cendol from the “Penang Most Famous Teochew Chendul” (Yes, that’s its name!).
But after a sip of the coconut milk, I was hooked.
Even L, who was repulsed by the florescent green cendol in Singapore, enjoyed the Penang dish very much. She admitted that the mild green cendol looks more edible than the artificial coloring added in Singapore’s dessert.
L and I visited this stall for all three days we were there (or was it two out of the three days?)
The green worm-like cendol was soft and had real pandan flavor. The sweet red bean gave the pale milk a hint of rouge.
Even though the melting lump of shaved ice didn’t help much with making the bowl cooler, it helped cooled me down in the hot weather.
I found out about the stall from a work acquaintance. I bumped into her on my way home on the train. She said she visits Penang a lot for work and recommended the “cendol stall opposite the police station”.
She told me that there are stalls selling cendol on the same street. The acquaintance said I need to pick the stall with blue bowls. It’s also closer to the junction and doesn’t have chairs.