Penang - The 10 Islands to Explore Before You Die
The delectable fare on offer memorably mingles Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, and European flavors. Foodies in search of supreme bliss should head to the marketplace Ayer Itam - adjacent to Kek Lok Si (the Temple of Supreme Bliss) - to dine on a variety of dishes based on rice, noodles, fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, vegetables, eggs, and coconut. Look for lor bak (deep-fried marinated minced pork served with a chili sauce); lok-lok (skewered seafood, meats, and vegetables); and ikan bakar (grilled or barbecued fish marinated in spices and coconut milk, wrapped inside banana leaves, and grilled over hot coals).
The same fusion of cultures is evident in the local architecture, which ranges from modern high-rises to buildings built by 19th-century British colonialists. Add to the mix beach resorts, preserved mangroves, small fishing villages, and a share of temples, mosques, and churches.
Kek Lok Si best exemplifies this coexistence. At seven stories, it's the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia, and it reflects the shared values of Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism-designed with a Chinese octagonal base, a Thai-accented middle tier, and a Burmese-style peak.
February 22, 2011 (Source : Yahoo Travel, by Gary McKechnie)