Friday, May 16, 2008

Of Durians and Laksa in Balik Pulau, Penang

I'm sure many have heard of the famous Balik Pulau durians in the quaint island of Penang. Balik Pulau is a rather secluded town situated almost an hour from the Georgetown city center. Being someone from outstation myself, I'm not exactly familiar with this area of Penang, hence, my friends and colleagues took the lead to recommend the nice places for food! There are lots of durian stalls in Balik Pulau which have tables and chairs for customers to eat immediately after choosing their durians. I find this very convenient for people like me who are not able to pry open a durian by myself. :P Besides, eating on the spot also allows you to return the durians immediately if you see anything wrong (note: worms) with them. In which case if you were to buy them back home, you'd be too lazy to go all the way and exchange for a new one.

There are many types of durians and I'm definitely not the right person to ask for the differences in the variety. In case you haven't noticed, I'm not a big fan of durians myself... I was just following the crowd for the fun of it, since I haven't experienced eating durians other than at home. :) This is the durian stall that we visited:
Durians galore!

The durians that we consumed!




Even though we had a great time eating durians, we were not without our crisis, mind you. There was this durian that couldn't seem to be split open in the middle. There we were with three strong guys with real muscles, and not even one of them managed to pry it open! Was it the durian, or was it the muscle? I mean lack of. :P You decide.

First attempt - failed

Second attempt - Failed

Third attempt - Almost there ... but not quite :P

With all the hard work, you would expect something great lies within the hard shell, huh? But look what we found! *shakes head* If you can't see it yet, look harder... Any wriggly worm?
Worm on flesh

Besides, we also met with durian's friend, nangka or jackfruit in our eventful outing. :P Look at it, doesn't it resemble jackfruit's flesh? Everyone was calling this nangka afterwards and obviously, no one ate it. :P
Nangka-like durian flesh *eww*

Overall, the experience was rather fun, and the shopkeeper even gave us one free durian to compensate us for the wormy and nangka 'variety'. *LOL* After our satisfying ingestion of durians, we proceeded to the next stall to buy mangosteens! I think it's true when people say you should eat mangosteens after durians to neutralize the heaty after effect of durians. Of course, it doesn't hurt that mangosteens are yummy fruits as well! They chose the big round mangosteens, thinking that they should taste delicious and sweet... However, it turned out that the small ones were the sweeter and nicer ones! I guess this is really a case of not judging a book by its cover.

The great giant-bellies of ours didn't stop consuming food even after gorging down durians and mangosteens! *gasp* I mean we were in Balik Pulau! Who could resist having a bowl of their renowned laksa right? This was the stall that we went to, which was directly opposite the Balik Pulau wet market. I'm not sure if this is the most famous stall for laksa, but there were quite a number of customers when we reached there.
Laksa stall

The laksa was very generous with fish meat and cucumbers, but I think I've tasted better laksa soups. :)

Finally, we were really full to the brim! We took a drive around Balik Pulau, hoping to look for a beach. Instead, we found this:
River behind house

This looks really foreign to me, because I've always thought of Penang as a really developed state. It was shockingly amazing to find that there are still people who commute on the river using boats. Almost giving me a taste of Venice. :)

Our last stop was at the mountain top of Balik Pulau, which has become famous for the view it offers.


Balik Pulau bird's eye view

I also found a park nearby this place which was really cute. Well-kept and tidy, the perfect place for people to have picnics or BBQ, or just sitting around smooching each other. :P
This interesting trip opened my eyes to the many more facets of Penang that I'm yet to be exposed to. I'll be sure to look out for more interesting places to visit and discover! :)


chiaoju said...

I thought u tak makan durian!? :) hehehehe...

giddy tigress said...

Years ago, I visited a durian orchard in Balik Pulau, where the durians were really GOOD. None of the nangka or wormy variety, mind you.
But...I'm drooling over the laksa!!!

iamthewitch said...

chiaoju: Haha... makan sikit sikit only lor :P Just for the fun of it!

giddy tigress: Sounds tempting! Do you remember which orchard??? Haha... laksa addict huh? :)

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