Where is Julia?

It’s hard to stick to a diet when you’re with family. Part of the joy of being a family is sitting down to a hearty meal and sharing the experience together. I was in Penang with the family for the weekend. My diet flew out the window somewhere along the plus highway, near Taiping. Family trips will not be the same again with the 2 additional members. Especially at this stage when they can only eat, cry, sleep and shit in their pants. Not very sociable at all and not to mention grating on the nerves for someone with as much maternal instinct as a cucumber.

My bimbo sister told us to meet her at Julia Street. After asking some of the locals, I realised we were actually looking for Chu Lia Road. We visited an old haunt of my parents during their dating heydays. Sin Kheang Aun on Chu Lia Lane. It’s a quaint old coffee shop that has some seriously good home cooking. The chicken chop was fantastic! It’s a bit like a katsudon but without the rice. Crispy, eggy and chuppy. Mmm comfort food. We got to Lone Pine about 4pm. It was drizzling and perfect for a nap. I woke up in time to have a shower, watch a bit of tv and go out for dinner. All 7 of us piled in Gazza's handy Toyota-someting-or-rather, drove back into town and found a short row of stalls on the corner of Lorong Carnarvon and Chu Lia Road. We had the most delicious or chien! Unlike those nasty ones that are wet, slimy and gelatinous, this one has crispy edges and small, sweet oysters.

For dessert, my brother bought 30 apom! It was just as good as the ones we used to have for supper in Ipoh near Canning Gardens. My late father would round up the kids and we’d hop into the car in our pajamas to go buy apom. We’d buy 50 or 60 at one go and we never had any left by the time we got home. Ah, memories. The ones in KL are not even worth mentioning but I will tell you that apom is not meant to taste sour! After a very satisfying meal we popped in Bangan for a drink. Turns out Camelia was launching her new album. Luckily, we knew someone who knew someone and it was free drinks for everyone! I feel very at home at Bangan. Its very gay. The gay man's answer to 32 perhaps. The menu looks promising. I guess I will have to go again with my friends one day.

The next morning, we had a long, lazy breakfast while the babies went on pony rides. With their respective parents of course. After that I slapped on SPF45 on the dark one and 0SPF for the fair one and took them swimming. It was actually quite overcast so the babies didn't swim for very long. Neither did we because the pool got invaded by Chinese men trying to play volleyball (in a L-shaped lap pool) in their khaki shorts and leather belts?!?! Before we left lovely and charming Penang, we stopped to have char kway teow at Lorong Selamat. Still as good as before. Aunty is still there in her red beret. I marvel at her tenacity and composure as she barely breaks a sweat while frying up a storm. I was sweating just standing in queue! I have to kow tow to her.

That was the end of the trip. Short, sweet and fattening. Bye bye Penang, until next time!


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