In a feat that locals at the kopitiam would proudly call ho liau (Hokkien phrase that means good stuff), CNN has named Penang one of the 17 must-visit destinations in 2017.
The thriving island state is the top Asian venue and came in second internationally behind Prince Edward Island, Canada. The only three other Asian countries that made it to the list are Thailand, China and Bhutan.
Of course, the subject of food (white curry mee, anyone?) is at the forefront of the accolade, with the global television network hailing Penang as “one of Asia’s best street food destinations”.
“It offers a mix of traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes, as well as fusion cuisines such as Baba Nyonya, or Peranakan,” the list stated. In 2011, CNN had also rated Penang asam laksa as the seventh tastiest dish in the world.
In 2016, Huffington Post had bestowed Penang char koay teow as one of the must try dishes in the world. Lonely Planet in turn pronounced Penang as the top food destination in the world in 2014.
CNN further elaborated that the city is made for walking and eating thanks to its “collection of historic buildings in various styles, from old English colonial mansions to classical Chinese shophouses and Islamic mosques”.
Speaking at a press conference, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Penangites don’t have to go far for holidays.
“They are now living in the second best place to travel to in the world,” he said.
Every destination in the CNN list was picked by CNN tourism experts worldwide on places they liked.
This wouldn’t be the first time the city or the state has received bouquets and accolades for being a top holiday venue. Lonely Planet had rated George Town the fourth best city in the world to visit in 2016.
Last year, George Town was named by an article in American business magazine Forbes as the top budget tourism destination in the world for 2016. Malaysia as a whole came in at No. 8.
It was also named by Los Angeles Times as among 16 must-visit destinations in 2016.
There are whole slew of awards but Penangites (and Malaysians in general) must also be getting a kick out of the fact that one of their state footballers (though he was born in Kedah) Mohd Faiz Subri has just received the Fifa 2016 Puskas Award for the best goal.
Talk about setting the bar for future goals. Well done Penang!