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
The open-air wooden seating
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)
The marinated fried Pandan Chicken was succulent and fragrant
Tom Kha, a milder version of tom yum cooked with coconut milk, was aromatic and sweet from the galangal, coconut milk, seafood and oyster mushrooms.
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.
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.
After such an extensive meal, a walk along the beach opposite of the garden would help with digestion.
I feel blessed to have found this hidden gem in my hometown.
Smile..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.
Frown..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
Lone Crag Villa Lot 595 Mukim 2
Jalan Teluk Bahang
11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: 604-881 3493/4
Open daily from 9:00am - 11:00pm