By Natasha Joseph
The usual task of planning your holiday begins with a bit of research. As with any city or town, there are always hidden pockets that feel like gems every time you discover them.
If you’re in search of an area teeming with little bars, tuck shops and sporting a somewhat “boutique look”, then Muntri Street (or Lebuh Muntri) is just that to Georgetown, Penang.
Since Georgetown received its Unesco heritage status, little clues exist which hint at the history of every street corner in the heritage quarter.
Some were patronised by wealthy Chinese associations, while Love Lane for example was known for more… indiscreet activities.
While many stories abound, the one that intrigues the most is that of the area’s dearly loved amahs.
Muntri Street was known as the meeting area for the amahs, dressed in their instantly recognisable black-and-white attire. These amahs were unlike any other home staff.
They performed daily duties with incredible efficiency and were famous for their ability to manage different tasks with great expertise which earned them the moniker “One leg kicks all”.
They were the best, respected by the community and highly sought after by wealthy families in Penang at the time.
But back now to Muntri. Behind the grilled facades and modest demeanour of its residents, you’ll find a different kind of community here – one quietly working together to revive the charm of Muntri as a much-needed breath of fresh air amidst the bustle of its neighbouring streets.
From 5-star boutique hotels like Muntri Grove to unassuming finds like Moon Tree 47 for the more cost-conscious travellers, there are a variety of places to choose from. The area has the kind of vibe that’s open to families and luxury seekers alike.
If you’re feeling peckish before lunch, mosey on down to Plates for a spot of brunch and you’ll find a hearty English fix or a simple serving of Eggs Benedict for something lighter while you read the papers.
After lunch, step out for a little fresh air, then take a moment to look around you – and the street transforms into your very own public art gallery with a delightful display of murals on Penang’s oldest shophouses.
Look out for Ernest Zacharevic’s Kung Fu Girl and Gabriel Pitcher’s Big Mouth.
Pop out in the evening for a leisurely stroll and head over to Mish Mash, a bistro with the most sumptuous cocktails and generous hosts.
Savour the night with a piping hot plate of salted-egg squid and quench your thirst with a delightfully crisp Negroni. Then just sit back and take it all in.
There’s an element of multitasking to this street which makes it so unique. There’s so much to choose from and so much of activity, but it all seems to carry on without a fuss, known only to those who happen to chance upon it.
Perhaps the amahs really did leave their mark after all – it’s in the atmosphere of the street which truly is, “One leg kicks all”.
This article first appeared in uppre.com