North West George Town stroll

I went for a walk around my neighbourhood today. As ever, in search of the nearest sand and sea. This time I headed in a straight line towards the nearest coast. It's consistently inaccessible, but there's a seafront seafood restaurant called Ocean Green and their driveway leads to a small tranquil beach. Barely a sliver of sand, but just enough to walk along or sit around for a while and listen to the rhythm of the ocean. And the caw of crows, which makes a change from seagulls. There's trash and boats making the water grimy, and the beach less than idyllic, but there are also no tourists. One or two locals working on boats or digging things from the sand.

A white building set back in a field A sea full of small boats, with sand in the foreground and trees around the edges Mostly sand, sea on the left with a boat, trees on the right

I made my way north, until I couldn't walk any further along the beach. I got as far as I got when I was coming from the other direction on my walk home from Gurney Drive a couple of weeks ago. I backed up, and entered Northam Beach Cafe, an open seating area outlined by hawker stands. It was just before 16.30, so they weren't quite open and the staff were just stirring. I took a seat in one of the blue plastic chairs, which had the KL Tower embossed in the back, and watched the sea. I could see distant mountains on the mainland straight ahead; construction and cranes off Gurney Drive to the north; and heavy equipment of George Town jetty to the south.

Rocks in the foreground, sea and sand mid ground and buildings in the distance Ramshackle hut on the beach A sandy beach with palm tree in the foreground and tall building in the distance

It wasn't long before one of the guys wiping the tables asked me what I want to drink, so I ordered a small apple juice, no ice: 5myr. Steep, I think, but it came in a pint glass. He was also able to furnish me with the wifi password (northambeach123). Suddenly this becomes a viable place to work.

At hawker areas like this, you order food at the individual stalls, but give your drink order to someone who comes to your table. In both cases, you pay when your item is brought over to you.

It doesn't look like there's much in the way of veggie food. I saw signs for fruit rojak, beancurd, and grass jelly though, so maybe I could hang around for a while without starving to death completely. I also saw popiah... I wonder if they'll make it without meat and egg.

It's a shame this place is only open in the evenings. On the other hand, it doesn't have walls, and I have the wifi password now, so I'll see if I can get away with sitting around in the morning sometime.

Northam Beach Cafe started to get busy around 18.30, though not all of the stalls were open yet, including the potentially veggie looking ones. As I got up to leave, my table was immediately jumped on by two guys who had been about to sit down nearby. I looked around, and realised every other seaview seat was taken, though most of the rest of the place was empty. People were gravitating to the outer wall.

Five minutes later, I'm in JanXDen Greenlife. A weird name for a restaurant, but an incredible menu. All vegetarian, with eggs and milk labelled. I'd read somewhere they had a lot of vegan desserts, but was disappointed to see a massive selection of eggless cheesecakes containing milk, and dairy-free waffles made with egg. They have some unfamiliar jelly things and tofu things though. Just nothing that'll hit the cake spot.

I ordered pasembur and black sesame doufu hua. The pasembar is similar to rojak; the same spicy peanut sauce. Shredded veggies and cucumber, but this time with boiled potatoes and vegetable fritters, and pappadom pieces on the side. The doufu hua is savoury and nutty from the sesame, but a little sweet from the tofu, served in a teacup (but far to thick to drink). Perfect for washing down the spicy salad. There's also a chocolate flavour, which I see a future with..

A white plate with red peanut sauce covered salad, and a teacup with black sesame tofu dessert Kids sitting at tables in a restaurant Dusky blue sky with pink clouds, palm trees and glowing streetlights

They have some great looking pasta dishes and savoury porridges I want to try, as well as nasi lemak. Plus a breadcrumbed/fried Mexican spice plate. I would eat more now (because eating is fun, not because this meal wasn't satisfying) but I shouldn't...

There are four kids here being very loud, and nobody else. They're playing board games and drawing and flailing and yelling at each other, and their surroundings in general, in a seamless mix of Chinese and American-accented English.

There's wifi and power.

🏷 beach food georgetown janxden #justgo Malaysia northam beach cafe Penang travel vegan

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