Thursday, March 31, 2016

Art Gallery - Balik Pulau Street Art Wall Murals

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Balik Pulau Street Art Wall Murals
Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia - March 2016
The street art in Penang Island has become a culture by itself, one that has drawn many tourists to the island. It all started when Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic did some wall murals around the streets of George Town during the George Town Festival 2012 depicting the simple life-style of the locals. Street art then bloomed with Ernest doing more pieces, other artists doing metal rod artwork (which depicted scenes from the city's colonial past) and then there is even a series on cats.

Now up in Balik Pulau on the other end of the island, Siberian-born Russian artist Julia Volchkova have painted beautiful pieces, pieces which also portrays the local culture. The Balik Pulau literally mean "back of the island" in Malay, a very apt name for a quiet town at the back of the island. A few of us did a cycling tour of the place to enjoy it's rural setting ending with a stint to view these wall murals. For location of these pieces, see map at the bottom.
Below are three pieces by her in this town:
"Hakka Dancing Girl" - GPS 
This is a painting of Pang Yi Chuen, a local Hakka girl whose traditional dancing caught the artist's eyes at the Hakka Association in George Town. Balik Pulau town has a predominant Hakka population.
GPS 5.349820, 100.234219

(Click here for Google street view)

"The Silat Master"
This is a portrait of Johari Omar in a silat stance. Silat is the traditional martial arts practised in the Malay Archipelago and Indonesia.
GPS 5.349398, 100.233800

(Click here for Google street view)

This is a portrait of Yeoh Choon Seng, a local fisherman from nearby Teluk Kumbar, mending fishing nets.
GPS 5.351839, 100.235673

(Click here for Google street view)

"Silversimith" by Ernest Zacharevic.
It depicts an old wrinkled silversmith and was carried out in an interesting way - with a water-jet blasting away a dark mossy wall to expose the original paintwork below.
GPS 5.352653, 100.236330
(Click here for Google street view)

Related Blogs :

Street Art @ Hin Bus Art Depot
George Town, Penang : February 2014
An exhibition of interesting art by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic

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Street Art of Ipoh, Perak : May 2014 
Street art is slowing but surely blooming in Ipoh.

Street Art of Gopeng, Perak : July 2014 
The street art culture is spreading and is now budding in Gopeng.

Graffiti Street Art @
Kuala Lumpur Storm Drains #1 : September 2013
A surprise find of large mural street art graffiti in the storm drains of Kuala Lumpur

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps / Malaysia 2016Art Gallery / Malaysian Art / Balik Pulau Street Art Wall Murals
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

YummY! - Squatting Teow Chew Porridge @ Georgetown Penang

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               Jotaro's Food Review              
Squatting Teow Chew Porridge @ Georgetown Penang
George Town, Penang, Malaysia - March 2016
Squatting down to eat, now this is either a cute thing to do or a difficult and funny way to eat! Well, it's not actually squatting down per se, patrons to this stall sit on stools (locally called bangku) that are put on long benches to eat the porridge served by the vendor. They sit on the bangku and fold their legs up to put onto the bench in a squatting manner. For casual visitors and tourists (like me) it's a quirky memory; but for regular patrons, it is a style that goes with their daily lives.
There were a few of this type of stalls in Penang decades ago and they were mostly patronised by trishaw pedallers and there is a reason for them to eat this way. After long hours of pedalling their trishaws, their legs ache and the squatting position pulls their leg muscles back, offering some comfort to their tired legs.

The stall is small, occupying a small light pastel blue counter next to the next to the Bee Hong Coffee-shop at Jalan Magazine. It's easy to miss, look out for the 1st Avenue mall, it's opposite. This place had a colourful history, back then Jalan Magazine was called Thau Tiau Lor which meant in local Hokkien the "First Road" as it was the first road running after the Prangin Canal (it was an open canal back then). It was the first of seven parallel road after the canal and the area was called the "Seven Streets Precinct" and was then a rather notorious gangster area. These days, the area is an extension of the George Town UNESCO Heritage Zone, the gangsters are gone and have been replaced by boutique hotels and quaint modern eateries.
(Correction: There are actually nine roads starting with Jalan Magazine and ending with Lebuh Sandilands. See the comment below by a helpful reader, perhaps this area should then be called the Nine Streets Precinct.)
The stall's operator is a seventy-five years old man and has been running the place for almost forty years after taking it over from his father. Let's hope his stall won't be replace by those quaint modern outlets.

They offer a good range of simple home-cooked dishes. Having flown in from Kuala Lumpur, and having had a leisurely cycle jaunt down from the Bayan Lepas airport, I was there close to 6:00pm, past their normal operating hours and was lucky that the stall was still opened, although not that much dishes were left.

Here I am sitting on one of the bangkus with legs squatting akimbo. Squatting there with my tired legs made me realise how the trishaw-men must have felt; the squatting pulled back my leg muscles, stretched them and slowly relaxing them

Here's what I had (from left to right): 
- white taukuah bean curd stir fried with leek. This was a simple dish with the slight bite of the leek leaking it's flavour into the bean curd.
-  mui choy stir fried with slices of pork. The salty flavourful gravy went very well with the two bowls of white rice porridge that I had.
- omelet fried with slices of large onion.
And IT'S CHEAP; this dinner of mine just cost RM3-80 (less than one USD)!

There used to be several stalls of this kind here and also a few at Kampung Malabar. Sadly this is the last stall left and may be the last of it's kind as the old man's children are reluctant to take over the stall.
So quickly visit it and enjoy the experience; the bangkus are there waiting... but not for long!

Jalan Magazine, George Town, Penang, Malaysia.
(The stall has no name. It is next to the Bee Hong Coffee-shop and opposite the 1st Avenue mall) 
Hours: 10:30am to around 4:30pm
GPS: 5.413011, 100.330864
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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / FootSteps / YummY! / Chinese / Squatting Teow Chew Porridge @ Georgetown Penang
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

YummY! - Hungarian Traditional Food @ Marvelosa Budapest (Marvelosa Kávézó)

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               Jotaro's Food Review              
Hungarian Traditional Food @ Marvelosa Budapest  (Marvelosa Kávézó)
Budapest, Hungary - October 2015
I had pondered on whether to write this blog or not. No, it's not because the food is not good or the place is a dump. On the contrary, the food was very good and the place so cosy that one would want to linger on even after finishing the food. Marvelosa, has such an affect on it's patrons, they can just sip their coffee and look at the Danube flowing by slowly just across the road.

I hesitate to write because most of the photos I took came out blurry; we had just visited Buda Castle and unbeknownst to me, my sweat had tainted my camera lens. But then Marvelosa is just too nice a place not too share, blurry photos or not.
So, here goes!
Marvelosa is a small place, occupying one narrow side of a larger building and has been operating since 1900, a year after the building was completed. It was refurbished in 2005 and as the operators put it ".. to create a place where everybody can have a good time and enjoy themselves. Where they can realize how important it is to stop for a while in our rushed present days and hectic world..... where everybody can feel like arriving home". How true that is, even though we were not from Hungary we did feel at home and we did pause for more than a while.
One can either sit inside or dine al-fresco at tables on a blocked out section of the road. Al-fresco seems to be a favourite among patrons...

... so were the indoor ground floor front table or the one at the first floor balcony. It's here that one can slowly while away the time sipping coffee, tea or wine while watching the world pass by.

The interior had been tastefully done with furniture of different designs, style and colours laid out spaciously. At corners, cabinets and shelves, were put up to create that homely touch. Paintings hung from the lightly coloured walls. It's an odd blend of colours and styles and yet it had that "you have arrived home" feel about it.

A cosy corner at the first floor.

The paintings on the wall were not classics but more of portraits done neo-modern style...

... which were bright and colourful with a personal style.

One of the many pieces of furniture.
(to see how cosy the place is click here to go to their gallery , the gallery also shows how nicely their food are presented)

Okay then, let's have a look at the food...
We kicked off with their goulash and glasses of Hungarian Dreher beer

The goulash was moderately thick, full of chunks of beef and vegetables, and well spiced. Although not as good as the one I had at Durnsteinerhof Restaurant while cycling at the Wachau valley in Austria, it was very tasty and a good representation of Hungarian cuisine.

 See how generous they were with the ingredients. By itself it can be quite filling.

Mikszath Hungarian Chicken Paprika (Paprikás Csirke) with home-made pasta. A very good dish with savoury sauce topped with a whisk of cream.

Look at that pasta! .... don't look like the usual one.... it's because it's home-made in small nuggets which made them softly chewy. These are Tarhonya (Rivilchas): Grated Fresh Egg Pasta.

"Lautrec" Chicken Thigh Fillet served with grilled vegetables and honey-chilli sauce. With horizontal slits the meat was nicely done yet still juicy. The sauce was unique, sweet and spice going well with the chicken.
We did have other dishes like salads and other mains but the photos did not turn out well; so to do justice to the place I won't put them here.

After finishing with the food, we lingered on, slowly sipping our beer enjoying the slow pace while watching the world pass by on the road and slightly further away boats on the Danube.

Marvelosa was aptly named, we did indeed have a marvellous time of good traditional Hungarian food in a very cosy homely place!

Here are Marvelosa's menus:
Marvelosa's soup & starter menu.

Marvelosa's salads & mains menu.

And lots of drinks to choose from to while away the time:
Marvelosa's coffee & soft drinks menu.

Marvelosa's tea menu, a good range here!

Marvelosa's liquors, liqueurs and cocktails menu.

13 Lánchíd Street, Budapest, Hungary.
Tel: +36-12019221
Hours: 10:00-22:00 (Tuesdays to Saturdays) / 10:00-18:00 (Sundays) / Closed on Mondays.
(click here for Marvelosa's menu and the times that they are served)

GPS: 47.496800, 19.041315

Related Blogs :

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / FootSteps / YummY! / Europe 2015-Western Food / Hungarian Traditional Food @ Marvelosa Budapest
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
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