Written by Shirley T
Wednesday, 25 February 2009 04:43
Penang Swatow Lane New World Park or fondly called as 'Sin Sei Kai' by the local was once a happening place where Penang folks came by to unwind in the evening. It used to be the ground for two cinemas namely Globe and Lido. Paying about 65 cents to a dollar, one could enjoy the latest movie in a decent cinema. Within same vicinity, there was a sheltered opera hall equipped with wooden benches for elderly folks to enjoy the Chinese opera.
To quench thirst after an evening walk, get a bowl of 'ais kacang' (literally means 'red bean ice') opposite the entrance into New World Park. Ice kacang is a famous local dessert; made of shaved ice, red beans, sweet corns, jelly and drizzles of syrup plus evaporated milk over the mountain ice. Simply lovely shared by a dating couple!
When it was near Chinese New Year, fun fair or trade fair were organised, mainly selling a huge variety of biscuits and occasionally there were ferris wheel and Merry-Go-Round to attract children or teenagers. At times, there was a temporary wrestling ring as part of promotion to get bigger crowd to the park. I even heard of youngsters had 'rongeng' or Malay social dance at New World Park back then!
These scenes somehow was during the glory of Penang Swatow Lane New World Park in 1950s to mid 1970s when it was considered as the most popular place in town to hang out! Gone were those days but the memories of the good old days remain fresh in the mind of our older generation.
If you visit New World Park today, only the historical wall of its park is retained. The place is re-branded as one-stop to get Penang cuisine ranging from hawker food to a relatively classy cafe like Starbucks or an upscale restaurant like Starview. And once again, it seems New World Park becomes the place to hang out once more!
Before the present food court and restaurant corners were constructed, there were numerous hawker stalls operating along Swatow Lane. The afternoon crowd by road side usually caused some stress to manuvoer our vehicles along Swatow Lane unless you were craving to get some food stuff there! With the new building of New World Park, it had killed two birds with one stone; resolving hectic traffic problem and providing ample car parks to the patrons as well. The environment at the new sheltered food court is clean, airy and provides a taste of (almost) everything that Penang has!
Among the best food to try is Ice Kacang, located at the central wing of New World Park food court. The rice dumpling, yam cake and red bean soup stall was originally operating at Swatow Lane corner coffee shop. Same goes to some of the stalls but there are also new operator like the Japanese food.
When I passed by a couple weeks ago, Tune Budget Hotel was constructed beside New World Park along Burma Road. So the next time you plan your visit to George Town, putting up nearby is worth considering. There are plenty of choices in getting nice Penang food here at New World Park. Some of medium class cafes or restaurants also serve excellent meals.
The choice is yours! Hope you enjoy the food and your stay in Penang!
New World Park
Swatow Lane, off Burma Road,
Goerge Town, Penang, Malaysia
Business hours: Open daily (10am - 9pm)
Location: Courtesy by Google Map, please click and zoom in: New World Park
Acknowledgement: I wish to thank Mr Ong for sharing memories from his past when he used to live near New World Park or 'Sin Sei Kai' during the 1960s.
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