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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Penang: A Tossed Salad City

Georgetown, the main town on Penang, is a Chinese/Indian/Malay city, more of a tossed salad than a melting pot. The languages and customs have been preserved, and businesses seem to be entirely from one or the other of the ethnic groups. This doesn't apply to the really large businesses, of course. Enter a bank and the tellers will cover the full spectrum.

Some parts of Malaysia are predominantly Malay, others predominantly Chinese, and the two states on Borneo have a large Dayak population, but here in Penang there is a rich mix of cultures. Last week I visited a Chinese temple and a mosque, and next week I plan to see a Hindu temple, and a couple of churches. And I've heard there is an interesting Christian cemetary not too far from where I am staying.

I've been eating a lot of Indian food, mainly murtabaks and tandoori chicken, but will probably move on to gorge on Chinese after a while. I will look for a local Nonya dish, laksa. But today I had a tomato and cheese sandwich on toasted whole grain bread.

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