IF you happen to pass by the George Town area, especially around Komtar and Jalan Larut, don’t be surprised if you see people making a beeline for a couple of hotels.
No, they are not there to check into the hotel but rather to just grab some food from driveways turned drive-through hawker strips.
Hotels, as we know, play a very important part in the tourism industry in Penang. But with the interstate travel ban during the ongoing movement control order (MCO), they are having their darkest moments.
Several of them have come up with innovative ways to survive by turning their compounds into cook and sell spots for passers-by.
Hotel Royal Penang food and beverage assistant manager Yusneta Yunus said the food stalls extended by the roadside began on Jan 15.
However, despite the understandably slow start for the first few days, she said they have started to receive great response from the people.
“This is a new experience for us, especially the team from the Food and Beverage Department. All this while we have been cooking and serving guests from the comfort of our premises.
“Times are bad. So, in order to keep things going, this is one of the many initiatives we thought it would be useful to make ends meet,” Yusneta said when interviewed by Buletin Mutiara today.
She also added that due to the hotel being strategically located in the heart of George Town, motorcyclists and motorists find it convenient to stop and buy their preferred food.
“We would usually have two chefs handling the cooking part, while a few other staff members would help out – holding the price sign board as well as luring the passers-by.
“Although we are now out from the usual air-conditioned environment, standing under the sun and working, the team has showed great teamwork and is working twice as hard.
“This is such an amazing sight to witness as it shows that despite difficult moments like this, unity will never fall,” she added.
Local delights such as nasi lemak, ‘kuih’, noodles, fried rice, ‘teh tarik’ and coffee can be bought from as low as RM2.
The extended stalls are open every day, from 7.30am to 10am.
Sharing a similar situation, JEN Penang George Town by Shangri-La, had converted its front entrance that’s usually occupied by valet cars into hawker stalls.
Its communications manager Ellie Yeoh said the stalls, which were extended on Jan 27, have received overwhelming response from the people.
“We were very concerned about our staff and their livelihoods, so when the idea to extend the stalls was shared with the food and beverage team, they were really excited and wanted to immediately get things going on.
“We were able to increase our reach through the various social media platforms and word of mouth by our regular customers.
“Our chefs have played vital roles, especially to bring their in-house kitchen skills to the street,” she said.
You can find some of Penang’s favourite street food such as fried rice, ‘char koay teow’, chicken hor fun, prawn noodles and duck rice, from as low as RM6.
Story by Kevin Vimal
Pix by Law Suun Ting