Sat on a hilltop with a scenic view of the Andaman sea, the Tree Monkey Restaurant resembles a big open-air wooden tree house. It is nestled on the edge of the forest, shaded by tropical trees with rustling noises of leaves from the gentle breeze. Everything about this place exudes a natural relaxing ambience.
Although far from town, it is easy to find as it is located at the award-winning Tropical Spice Garden which has three different garden trails for visitors to explore. Cooking classes are also held here. Turn left from the entrance of the Spice Garden and up a slope and some steps to get to Tree Monkey Restaurant for some Thai and other Asian food.
Walk up these steps to Tree Monkey Restaurant
As Tree Monkey is so well located, it has access to the freshest source of spices and herbs. Do try their nutmeg juice; very refreshing on a warm day. Or if you prefer something warm, their spiced teas are really good too.
The four little cups of orange goodness are the Otak-otak (steamed curried fish paste)
I like ordering Pineapple Fried Rice that comes served in a pineapple. It makes it a whole lot more special. Plus, it gives it that extra pineapple ‘oomph’ to the rice. Remember to eat the pineapple fried rice with the sambal (chilli paste) that comes with it cause it’s delicious. You will like it with lots of sambal if you are a lover of spicy food like me.
Pad Thai, a very common fried noodle dish amongst the non-Thais. A good Pad Thai needs high heat on the wok, enough seasoning of fish sauce, tamarind and a little palm sugar. Sadly, all these were slightly lacking. I am a lover of steamed fish and this steamed garlic, chilli and lime sea bass had the most important of all elements, fresh ingredients. The sauce was spicy and sharp with the extra freshness from the mint leaves. Oh, and I had the privilege of dissecting the fish head again.
However full I was, I had to order my favourite Thai dessert, the Thap Thim Krop. Not because I am a glutton, but because this dessert is impossible to find in London as jackfruit is not available in London. This dessert contains jackfruit, an exotic tropical fruit with yellow sweet meaty flesh and cubes of red-coloured water chestnut wrapped tapioca flour, resembling pomegranate seeds. These red balls have soft chewy texture on the outside and crispy water chestnut cubes on the inside, an interesting combination of textures.
I feel blessed to have found this hidden gem in my hometown.
The tranquillity here is sublime and is somewhere I will go to for some quiet moments and inspiration. The good food and drinks are a plus.
This is a mosquito feeding area, being in the forest so remember to spray the lemon grass mosquito repellent which they provide at the entrance of Tropical Spice Garden.
Will I return?
This is my favourite zen zone in Penang.
@ Tropical Spice Garden