Red Garden seemed like an immensely and cheap place to try out the varied Penang cuisine so we headed there for our last dinner in Penang. It was just a stroll away from Lebuh Chulia anyway.
We dropped by at The Chocolate Boutique first for chocolates with exotic flavors like chili, durian, and curry. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the latter one. It was unknown to them even if the branch at Kota Kinabalu, where I first become acquainted with this marvelous chocolate place and its Beryl’s brand, had them. Maybe certain branches had specific stocks. Too bad because nothing could be more exotic than curry-flavored chocolate. They did have the white chocolate with coconut, though. It was less than an hour to closing so there were hardly anyone there. The best thing about The Chocolate Boutique is the free sampling which we kinda took advantage of especially when no one was looking. The place is divided into small rooms which had a certain theme such as “fruits” which had fruit-flavored chocolate on the shelves. The “love” room had heart-shaped chocolates. I took home a box of durian chocolates, the coconut chocolate, and a package of durian white coffee.
Option paralysis set-in at next door Red Garden. I couldn’t decide what to have. Chinese, India, and Western were definitely out. The girls had it easier as Yna went for Japanese and Julie and Jeannete went for biryani, satay, and lamb steak. Me? I took the easy way out too—stop choosing and just order! I had an assam laksa (very tasty tamarind-flavored soup), a Hokkien mee, belacang fried rice, and fried oyster. A big bowl of cendol turned down the heat of the noodle soups.
Tuesday night is ballroom night at the Red Garden and a keyboard-singer duo came on at the small stage at the center of the food court. The female singer wasn’t bad at all and she had none of the nasal singing that usually accompanies Chinese singers when they do English songs. The male keyboardist sounded like a karaoke whenever he sang.
Elderly couples took to the small dancing area. It seemed like some take the dancing seriously as a couple of middle-aged ladies were a little dressed-up. It was entertaining to watch the characters that people the dance floor. Catching everyone’s attention was a fifty-ish man who stood at one corner of the dance floor and lip-synced all the songs while miming it. It was hilarious especially when he would point at someone pretending to be referring to that person in the song. At the front of the stage, a Caucasian lady of about the same age, probably a little older, danced stiffly and awkwardly alone looking like a flag pole strutting on a windy day. She never once left the dance floor. A little later in the evening, she was dancing with a fat special child. Apparently, the waitress with a bad wig day at the Sri Nonya Cafe has a sister; at least in wig. Dancing with an white-mustached guy in a fedora, striped long-sleeved shirt, and suspenders was a lady, a little younger than him, wearing almost the same type of blonde wig! Maybe wigs are really in these days in Georgetown! Hers was a little better though as it looked more natural. The couple seemed to dance in slow motion unmindful at times of the music’s up tempo. They also had strange dance steps.