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Nov 16, 2008 07:52 PM

Penang - Gaik Ten Eating House - Strangest Seating Arrangement Ever

I visited the old quarter of Georgetown in food haven Penang over the weekend & chanced upon this 60-year-old eatery on Magazine Road (opposite Traders' Hotel). It serves a paraphernalia of Teochew/Chiuchow dishes: braised pork, soy-flavored tofu, pickled mustard, salted ducks' eggs, omelettes filled with chopped salted radishes, sweet-sour fish fillets - all served with Chinese rice porridge/congee.

But what caught my eye was the seating arrangements upfront of the serving counter: long benches, topped with tiny stools. Apparently, these type of eateries were common in Southern China (where Penang-Chinese immigrants originally came from centuries ago) in the old days - the diners back in the 19th-century (many of whom were coolies or rickshaw-pullers) liked to squat atop the benches while seated on the tiny stools. Amazing to see such "traditional" seating arrangements still exist in Penang!

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  1. I am not sure if this was the old Hokkien way, but my late uncle also like to "squat" when eat. Well, at least one leg would be on the bench. People make fund of Ah-Ben but food taste good when eaten Ah-Ben style ... :-)

    1. Still there, and I still can't get over this seating arrangement :-D

      1. haha that looks uncomfortable

        1. Must come here quick as there is a BIG new hotel that's to be built at this spot!!! Georgetown is all construction sites these days as more and more boutique hotels and cafes are built to cater to the influx of tourists from all over the world.

          2 Replies
          1. re: penang_rojak

            Hurry there, penang-rojak? I think the seating arrangement there pretty much rules out the likes of me.

            1. re: penang_rojak

              Sad to hear, I hope there are no other culinary casualties due to the hotel being built!

              I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for other places where there is this type of seating just to try it out unless this place will still exist in February (fingers crossed).