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  • Writer's pictureSheryl

postcards | Simplicity

Penang, Malaysia

Hin Bus Depot : artsy accidents and a thought on simplicity.

Hin Bus Depot, Penang | RollingBear Travels

Let's start from the beginning: food.


- Shokudo Niban -

your not-so-usual Japas (Japanese tapas) bar

Shokudo Niban, Japanese Tapas Bar in Penang | RollingBear Travels

Helmed by the same team behind the renowned Au Jardin, Shokudo Niban is your casual chic alternative for some refined Japanese flavours. Canteen-style without all the fuss and intimidation of fine-dining.

Like the industrial chic interiors of this little find, the dishes were deceptively simple. Almost playfully casual (such as the Unagi rice burger) But flavour-wise, they were explosive.

Small plates: Look, agedashi tofu is a childhood favourite, but when mastered, do they become such gastronomic delights! This thought occurred to me after savouring these appetisers: from that paper-thin tempura crusting on the agedashi tofu giving way to its silky soft interiors. Or take the okra: how flavourful a tad of wasabi could be on these cold yuzu-soy drenched okra.

Mains: The unagi resting on that Japanese rice island there? It was a sea (or pond - whichever you prefer) of matcha tea. Excuse me as I butcher this gastronomic artistry for a second, but I think this tea-rice situation actually highlighted the flavours better. The tea was continually helping me wash it down so you've got a clean palate to savour the next bite on! Personally, the Unagi Kabayaki Rice Burger was my favourite (yes, the skewered ones).

For dessert: Tempura mochi in palm sugar. Note: that is one serving which we split into four. I have never quite experienced anything like this warm chewiness amidst incredibly crispy, airy tempura batter- just slightly teased with a tad of palm sugar. Despite my odd description, it was really delicious.

- Hin Market -

The simple joy of seeing so many creatives, art, crafts, food, musicians gathered- masked -singing, laughing, talking.

People talking at Hin Bus Depot, Penang | RollingBear Travels

The Hin Market is a free-admission, arts and crafts market filled with all sorts of treasures: from local tea brews, spices, crafts, coffee, food, and even music! This market happens every weekend - especially now as a post-MCO effort to support artists and small businesses.

I stumbled across this market by accident. After so long of social distancing, it was such a joy to see this place so alive! To a morning of chill acoustics softly harmonising with the buzz of the market.

Just note that it is extremely hot in Malaysia, and the parking spaces are limited, so I do recommend visiting in the morning.


For more notes on visiting Hin Bus Depot :


P.s. I tried Vietnamese egg coffee for the first time from Nui Coffee. It was pretty cool - they used pasteurised eggs to create this rich and creamy layer atop strong drip coffee. It was actually really good! The proper technique to drink it apparently, is to balance your cup at a 45degree angle so you get the best of both layers instead of full-face egg mania and coffee shot.

- On simple outfits -

let's talk about clothes

Perhaps it was due to the long weekend and Spring pleasantness - but just about everyone I saw was in simple, comfortable colour. Very much like what I was wearing. And that in a whole, contributed to the comfortable, artsy atmosphere the market exuded.

Ever since I started keeping an Instagram outfit diary, I have been a lot more conscious about my styling choices. It is odd though- in general, my dressing is very simple: the same hoodie, the same oversized sweatshirt, the same ripped boyfriend jeans and I am out. So comfortable, so practical, so very me. But when it comes to Instagram, this outfit - this sweat-practical, ventilation-approved outfit became a source of insecurity.

There are so many very stylish, very confident fashionistas on Instagram. All it takes for them to shine, is a deceptively simple outfit. One whose main accessory is that of confidence.

Honestly, if I had ignored the heat and thrown on a jacket, some heels perhaps, more accessories - I'd probably feel more confident about it. It is odd isn't it- how clothes and accessories can be such a shield?

Simple outfits, like everything else in design, is such a paradox. It can be so comfortable as it helps me blend in with all that I am familiar with. But when taken out of familiar ground, it takes an immense amount of courage to produce a simple piece of art. You know how, in abstract art, some pieces are literally just a few words, or splashes of paint? The same goes for clothes. To strut down a runway in a completely plain dress for example, with no accessory of any sort to justify it - is such a statement. And to reach that point, is to possess an identity so strong that one no longer needs any kind of accessory.

Does anyone else think or feel the same when it comes to simplicity? Feel free to comment your thoughts below!

And that is all for today. Simple. Hoho.

Thank you for reading!

- Sheryl

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