The clan jetties and their floating villages are some of the most popular places of interest in Penang. These villages that were built on stilts over water were established in the 19th century when Chinese immigrants came to Malaysia.
Currently, there are six such jetties left in Penang. Five of them are differentiated by surnames – Chew (the oldest & largest of all), Tan, Lee, Yeoh, and Lim. The last one is New Jetty (or Mixed Surname Jetty 杂姓桥) which was built only in the 1960s. And as its name suggests, the village houses people of mixed surnames.
It’s actually very easy to visit all these clan jetties and their villages as they are all located in one row along Weld Quay (Pengkalan Weld).
We checked out two of them that were open to visitors. First stop was Tan Jetty, followed by Chew Jetty which I will share more in my next post.
While we were making our way to Tan Jetty along Pengkalan Weld, we saw Lee Jetty (姓李桥). This place consists of mainly residences – nothing commercial. If you’re interested to observe the lives of the locals, you can venture into the village and do some exploration.
Tan Jetty is the longest jetty among its counterparts as it has a wooden pier that stretches from the mainland all the way out to the sea. Taking a walk through the village can be very relaxing as it’s really peaceful and quiet. There are some food stalls at Tan Jetty that are worth trying too. Will share more below.
As we walked towards the end of Tan Jetty, we could see a floating village on the left hand side.
This is probably the main reason why people liking coming to Tan Jetty. It’s a popular spot to catch sunrise/sunset. The picture-perfect backdrop makes it one of the most Instagrammable places in Penang.
The little red house at the end of the wooden pier is a Mazu Temple. Mazu is known as the Goddess of the Sea. Seafarers would pray to Mazu for safe journeys at sea.
Tan Jetty Prawn Fritters & Loh Bak
When you come to Tan Jetty, you can’t miss out this stall that sells prawn fritters and loh bak. From the entrance where Penang Road Famous Ice Kacang Cendol dessert stall is, just walk inside a little further and you’ll see this prawn fritters place.
Everything’s freshly prepared on the spot.
After ordering our fried snacks, we walked back to the entrance so we could dine inside this coffee shop. To do so, just need to order drinks or desserts.
Best loh bak I had
The loh bak and prawn fritters were so good! In fact, that loh bak was the best one I had in Penang so far. So meaty and delicious. Though everything on this plate was fried, they didn’t ooze oil or feel greasy. That chilli dipping sauce had some calamansi juice in it so it was spicy, tangy and very appetising.
Nothing beats an icy cold dessert like this on a hot and humid day! This ice kacang was super refreshing and not too sweet. One of the sweet syrups was cola or sarsi flavoured, which made this ice kacang more interesting than the usuals. In terms of toppings, there were cream corn, attap seeds, grass jelly, kidney beans, red beans and green sago balls.
Aiyu jelly with canned longans and lychees with a splash of fresh lemon juice. Jelly was good! This wasn’t too sweet either.
While there wasn’t exactly a lot to do or to see at Tan Jetty (15 minutes is all you need), it was definitely an interesting visit to be able to check out what a clan jetty or floating village in Penang is like. Also, if I didn’t come to Tan Jetty, I would have missed out on one of the best loh bak in town and great tasting desserts too.
Next time, I shall come later to catch the stunning sunset!
(for the gate to the pier)