Tree Monkey @ Tropical Spice Garden, a hidden gem | Penang

View of Andaman Sea | The Trishaw
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.
Tropical Spice Garden 2 | The TrishawEntrance of the Tropical Spice Garden

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.

Tree Monkey 2 | The Trishaw
Walk up these steps to Tree Monkey Restaurant

Tree Monkey 1 | The Trishaw
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. Thai Food at Tree Monkey | The Trishaw
The four little cups of orange goodness are the Otak-otak (steamed curried fish paste)

Otak otak_Steamed fish paste | The Trishaw
The marinated fried Pandan Chicken was succulent and fragrant

Tom Kha | The Trishaw
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.

Pineapple Fried Rice | The Trishaw
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.

Phad Thai | The Trishaw
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. 

Lime chilli fish | The Trishaw
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.

Thap Thim Krop | The Trishaw

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.

Beach_Andaman Sea | The Trishaw
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.


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
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


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