Picturesque George Town makes CNN Travel list
GEORGE TOWN: George Town, the Penang capital has been named as one of "13 of Asia's most picturesque towns" by CNN Travel.
In an article by Kate Springer, the designated Unesco World Heritage Site was singled out for its richness in heritage, which showcases multi-cultural influences as well as the "food capital of Malaysia".
Springer is a Hong Kong-based freelance writer and editor, with focus on travel, dining, culture and environmental reporting.
Besides George Town, also on the list were: Hoi An, Vietnam; Yufuin, Japan; City of Vigan, Philippines; Luang Prabang, Laos; Kampot, Cambodia; Kota Gede, Indonesia; Galle, Sri Lanka; Zhouzhuang, China; Mawlynnong, India; Ghandruk, Nepal; Sai Kung, Hong Kong; and Phuket Town, Thailand.
Springer said the region's heritage could be traced back almost 500 years, when the former British colony was a prominent hub of trade on the Malacca Straits, enabling cultural exchanges between Malay, Chinese, Indian and European residents.
"As a result, George Town retained its unique character - evidenced by the mix of pastel-painted shophouses and Chinese mansions, European government buildings, diverse religious buildings, festivals, music, food and fortresses.
"A roundup of the major landmarks include Fort Cornwallis, St George's (the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia), Sri Mahamariamman Temple and the elaborate City Hall - plus many travelers love to wander down Armenian Street to admire the old quarter's expressive street art," she added.
Springer also noted that George Town was considered the "food capital of Malaysia" and one of the best food cities in Asia, particularly its hawker centres.
She added that public food centres like the Sri Weld Food Court, New Lane Hawker Center and cheapside Hawker Centre were so good, there was little motivation to set foot in a conventional restaurant while in town.
"Like the architecture, the local cuisine also captures George Town's multicultural history.
"Must-try dishes include char koay kak (rice cakes with eggs, prawns, bean sprouts and preserved radish), Hokkien mee (a mixed noodle dish with mixed seafood and soy sauce), rojak (a fruit and vegetable salad bathed in sweet peanut sauce), assam laksa and kaya toast," she pointed out.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow took to his official Facebook page, urging visitors to visit and be awestruck by picturesque Penang.
"Yahoo, Penang's unique beauty is recognised by CNN.
"We welcome all our visitors to enjoy our hospitality. Explore and be awestruck by picturesque Penang," he said.
In June, Springer, in another article, named Penang as one of Asia's 17 best destinations to consider for an adventure.
On July 13 last year, Bangkok-based CNN Travel senior producer Karla Cripps, in her article "George Town, Penang: Asia's greatest street food city?" wrote at length on Penang's street food culture and the state as a foodie paradise.
SOURCE : New Straits Times