George Town’s culturally diverse buildings, protected by Unesco, make the perfect backdrop for a feast.
Malaysia’s tropical island of Penang became the first outpost of the British Empire in South East Asia when Captain Francis Light landed here in 1786 and declared possession in the name of the British king. Strategically placed in the Strait of Malacca, Penang grew rich as a trading hub, earning the nickname “Pearl of the Orient”, and travellers have been drawn here ever since for the island’s vegetation and golden beaches. Today Penang is making news for a very different reason: the island’s capital, George Town, has been transformed into the latest hot destination in Asia. The buzz behind its metamorphosis is heritage, ever since Unesco awarded the capital world heritage status. And so this trip I will happily forgo sunbathing and trips into the jungle and stay instead in the heart of one of the last authentic Chinatowns.