In Penang, where kitsch is cool, I was pleased to stumble into a cafe with a funky atmosphere featuring coffee, smoothies and desserts. The shophouse style space has been stripped down to give a semi-industrial look, and most importantly, the owners aren’t overly concerned about filling every nook and cranny with antiquities. Instead, the little free space available in The Alley, is dedicated to showcasing a pop up store with hip clothing and items for purchase from a local brand.
I visited The Alley shortly after it opened by accident, after getting lost leaving Little India. The cafe is sandwiched between some nondescript shops in a small alley just beyond the Chinese temple, on the western edge of Penang’s Little India. It wasn’t their dark, artsy sign which barely juts into the small street which caught my attention. Instead, I noticed the chalkboard which said, “churros” and thought I had to drop in and see if they were any good (this was during my “I wanna have a churros street cart” phase).
I do a lot of walking in Penang, usually aimless wandering, mostly to distract myself between the meal marathons. As a result of all my alley diving, I can say confidently that while there’s a flurry of recent cafes and dessert shops opening, there are few serving up churros and cronuts. The cronuts came in a few different flavors and I ended up with chocolate and cinnamon— and I may have tried more than one dipping sauce with their crunchy and freshly deep fried churros too.
To find this chill place while you’re in Penang, find Stewart Lane on the map, near the Goddess of Mercy Temple (Guan Yin Teng). As with nearby Pit Stop Cafe, it’s a great place to stop, snack, and chill after getting your fill of Penang’s Little India.
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