Ayer Itam (GPS: 5.40567, 100.28307), (Traditional/Simplified Chinese: 亞依淡 Pinyin: Yà Yīdàn; Penang Hokkien: Ai3tam3) is one of the districts on Penang Island. Also written Ayer Itam, and occasionally as Air Hitam, it comprises numerous villages and neighbourhoods which are developed over the last hundred years or so. Once a largely agricultural area, Ayer Itam saw rapid urban development towards the final decade of the 20th century.
Air Itam has so many coffee shops, restaurants, roadside stalls and other forms of eateries. I list as many as I can, and in addition to that, I am also providing to you recommendations from the locals who are members of my Penang Hawker Food and Penang Restaurant Food Facebook Groups, based on their recommendations on this post and this post.
Located on the central part of Penang Island, Ayer Itam is hemmed in by hills on the west, separating it from Balik Pulau, and on the southeast, separating it from Green Lane. The main access roads to Ayer Itam were traditionally Jalan Ayer Itam and Jalan Paya Terubong, supplemented in recent years by the widened Batu Lanchang Lane.
Some part of Ayer Itam is densely populated. Most of the residential development here are geared towards the middle and lower-middle class. As the area was a hilly farmland, its original settlers were farmers and the working class. This evolves as Ayer Itam urbanise. There is a limited sprinkling of upscale development in the area, usually terrace or semi-detached landed properties which are two or three storeys high, built on land that are too narrow for high-rise properties.
The population density of Ayer Itam enables it to support a substantial commercial development. In particular, the township of Farlim has seen the opening of a few hypermarkets. Many businesses also operate a suburban branch in Ayer Itam.
Traffic congestion is a daily experience in Ayer Itam, particularly during the morning and evening rush hours. All three main access roads are highly congested in the morning until around 10:00 am, picking up once again towards noon.
Ayer Itam, Penang (25 January, 2012)
Jalan Ayer Itam and pedestrian bridge near Chung Ling High School (4 June, 2011)
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