Thursday, August 19, 2010

Curry Laksa: Singapore's Got Nothin' on Penang

Samantha Brown's Asia: Laksa in Singapore
Uploaded by TravelChannelTV. - Explore exotic destinations and travel videos.

In the region of South-east Asia, street food (also known as hawker food) is king. I'm an avid watcher of Travel Channel programs like "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern" and "Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations" and every time either of these two gentlemen travel to Singapore, they usually marvel at how good the street food is in that island republic. I always cringe in horror when I hear that. More recently, Samantha Brown, the host of another travel show on that same cable channel, had her own Singapore experience and as I watched that episode (especially the clip above), my cringe factor increased tenfold! I've had curry laksa in Singapore and I can tell you for a fact that it is lacking in flavor. Any local Singaporean (though they won't freely admit it) will tell you that the best street food can only be found in one place and one place only and it is definitely not Singapore. You may be able to fool the tourists but the locals know better.

Well, I'm here to finally demystify the well-perpetuated misconception of Singapore being the street food capital of the region. Singapore's street food is nothing compared to its neighbor up north, the island of Penang, Malaysia. Penang is commonly known as the Pearl of the Orient and is very famous across the region for its street food. Not only that, the island was recently declared in 2007 as a UNESCO World heritage site. For sure, Penang is certainly the original melting pot of cultures and traditions and a foodie heaven. I've known many Singaporeans who will travel up north to Penang just for a taste of the food. Here's a sample of the best food that Penang has to offer.

OK, full disclosure time. I was born and bred in Penang and lest you think that I'm biased in my opinion, well I really can't deny it. But don't just take my word for it. Next time you travel to that region, make a pit-stop in both Penang and Singapore and just compare the food. I'm sure you will be able to tell the difference right away.

So, Travel Channel producers, please get your facts right. When it comes to street food, Singapore's got nothin' on Penang!

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