‘Birding In Your Neighbourhood’ with Kanda Kumar!

talk - kanda poster

Are you a bird enthusiast, love bird watching, a beginner in birding world and would love to learn more about the local birdies around Penang?

If yes, come join us for this unique birding workshop as Mr Kanda Kumar of Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) will be teaching us on the basic identification & sketching techniques on some beautiful Penang birds!

Kanda will also be bringing us around the garden for a short bird watching session, looking for Yellow-vented Bulbuls, Black-naped Oriole, Racket-tailed Drongo and many more! 😀

Bring along your kids, family and friends together-gather for this educational event!


For registrations & enquiry, please contact:

Ms Jocelyn Goon
T: +604 8811 797 | M: +6012 4988 797
E: education@tropicalspciegarden.com

Spaces are limited, register in advance with us to avoid disappointment!

Why “5 Senses”?

Why “5 Senses”

Tropical Spice Garden offers a variety of children nature educational programmes, targeting kids between the ages of 6 to 12 years old. We hope to educate the next generation on the importance of the tropical rainforest ecosystem and ignite an appreciation for the Garden’s various flora & fauna.


One of the “not to be-missed” activities is the 5 Senses Tour!


Why “5 Senses”?

We hope to trigger the curiosity of children and encourage them to utilize their five senses in learning the natural environment.


Sense of …

Touch – Feel the texture and surface of the plants.

Smell – Experience the various rainforest scents, such as flower and spice fragrance

Sight – Enjoy the garden views and practice observation skills by spotting wildlife.

Sound – Listen to nature music in the garden (bugs, water, amphibians…)

Taste – Have a taste of the garden’s herbal/spice teas at the Bamboo Garden.


As the 5 Senses Tour takes the children on a journey into the tropical trails in the garden, our well-trained children guides (Nature Educationists) explain on the variety of tropical flora & fauna that can be found around the world. Some of the kids’ favorite plants are the Cat’s Tails (Acalypha hispida), Sliver Joey Palm (Johannesteijsmannia magnifica), and Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus) to name a few.




The main highlight of the 5 Senses Tour is the Spice trails exploration. The nature educators talk about the medicinal properties and culinary uses of spices, allowing the children to smell and touch the spices to identify the characteristics and remembering the names. Some spices we talk about are the Cinnamon, Cloves, Black Peppers, Torch Gingers, and Lime. Instead of just showing them the dry/fresh spices, we also bring the children to the spice trees, touch the tree bark, smell the leaf and compare the scent to the dry spices.




Children will also be stopping by the bamboo garden for a short tea break before proceeding to the next activity. We serve herbal/spice drinks to the children, which at the same time they can relax and chill next to the lily pond, looking for froggies, guppies and water striders.




We believe that “Nature is the best teacher”. By exposing the children to outdoor adventures and activities, we are able to bring out the best from each child: teamwork, independence, patience, observation and time management skills, and more.




Tropical Spice Garden organizes half day nature education activities, 1 day workshops, overnight camps and educational nature talks.


For further information, kindly contact TSG Nature Education Department:

Tel: 04-8811797 (ext 311)

Email: education@tropicalspicegarden.com

2D1N Garden Crafters Kids Camp!

Kids Overnight Camp-June

Introducing to you.. The GARDEN CRAFTERS 2D1N Kids Camp!

This is the third overnight camp that will be organised by the Nature Education team of TSG and we love to bring the kids back to nature!

To be held on 6th – 7th June 2015, the camp aims to combine the elements of arts with gardening by making customised planter posts from recycled materials, and of course other activities including overnight in the camp that they will need to set up by their own, picnic by the beach and also night walk session in a complete different-from-daytime garden.

Come join us in exploring the natural textures and colours of the rainforest and enjoy getting your hands dirty while bringing out the creativity within you!

*Early bird registration closes 24th May 2015. Grab the deal!

For enquiries please contact:


+604 8811 797/ +6012 4988797


A Fun-tastic Day with the Kids- Im A Junior Naturalist TOO

I’m a Junior Naturalist Too!

The fun of being a naturalist is learning all you can about the natural world! We believe that Nature Education is the key foundation for children to learn about their nature surrounding, appreciate wildlife & plants, and understand the importance of conserving & protecting our tropical nature environment.

“I’m a Junior Naturalist” is a 1-day outdoor programme happening in the Tropical Spice Garden. The first Junior Naturalist was conducted on Dec 2014, which lots of joys of laughter, photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.703244633027272.1073741875.158661167485624&type=3

This year, “I’m a Junior Naturalist TOO!” on the 21st March 2015, was a success! Special thanks to the facilitators – Joleen, Jocelyn, Paul & Ms Hor (volunteer) for making the event a memorable one for the kids and us! Hereby we summarise the activities from that day.

Started off in the morning with a briefing & ice-breaking game session. Guess what we played? The fun Garden Musical Chair Game!


Briefing session with the little ones


Playing games by the water garden gave the children a fresh nature environment to warm up. Everyone was having a great time through self-introduction & grouping session. Not forget to mention the “Koel” bird call! *inside joke*

musical chair

Who didn’t get to sit will need to introduce themselves!


The first naturalist activity of the day was the Nature Explorer! The 3 groups were ordered to complete a 4-mission task which required them to observe & record the spices & herbs along the spice terraces, search for the coins hidden around trees, teaching foreign guests to read Malay paragraph, and a nature scavenger game!

naturalist quest

Memorising the names of the spices and come back to write it down


read the text

Angeline in action

After the fun Nature Explorer, we had a quick snack time then headed up to the secondary forest behind the Beverages of the World terrace. The children were told to stay close with each other, to respect the forest by not plucking any plants unless we permit so, and many more.


Into the woods


camp 6

The ferns are as tall as them. Adventurous!


The kids learnt about some secondary forest plants, such as the Resam fern, Club Moss, Tiup-tiup tree, Red barked Tree and many more. We also spent some quality at the water catchment area up on the hill, looking at the natural water flow system, and observing Nepenthes Pitcher plants. Regardless the complaints on how tough were the trails and the annoying tall bushy ferns, we enjoyed each other’s accompany so much that the kids learnt the way of teamwork in forest.

camp 7

The boys leading the way


After lunch we had the most enthralling activity of the day – The Naturalist Quest. Kids were required to venture around the garden, observe and record the nature observation around them. All of them were truly naturalists as they make use of the “nature tables”, weren’t mind to get dirty by lying down on the ground to write down their observations. We were all amazed by these little naturalist’s performances.

camp 8

By the turtle pond


camp 9

This booklet will remind them of their childhood memory when they are all grown up


camp 10

Kai Jie in action


Before proceeding to the Water Fun activity down the stream along the Heart of the Garden, we had a post-naturalist briefing time together, discussed on individual’s findings and their thoughts on nature.

camp 11

Girls power!


The little researchers were looking for guppies & water striders.

camp 12

Kids love water and getting wet and all muddy! After changing, we all gathered around the water garden for the graduation ceremony which we distributed the certificates & prizes to the kids.

camp 13

Group photo before we end the day!


Overall, we were all very happy for “I’m a Junior Naturalist TOO”, especially after receiving the feedbacks from the parents! Check out our Facebook album for more photos of the camp: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.953025028049230.1073741906.158661167485624&type=3

We are currently planning on our next overnight camp in June 2015. Meanwhile, we are running various half day programmes for kids age 6-12 too! If you are interested, feel free to contact us for more details!


Nature Education Department

04-8811797 (Ext 311)


Birds & Nests – Signs of Spring

The past 3 months was spring time in Penang!

Most of the flowering plants in the garden were blooming, and we also managed to observe two different bird nests by the water garden!

Yellow Vented Bulbul's Nest

Yellow-vented Bulbul’s Nest

We first observed the nest on Feb 23th when we noticed a couple of adult Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier) flying around the shrubbery by the water garden. There were two hatchlings in the nest, which grew rapidly as days passed. When we first saw them their eyes were closed, very tiny and featherless. It was difficult to see them clearly even from half a metre away due to the thick shrub, but then again, we didn’t want to get too close and agitate the parents.

Approaching March, they developed their primary wing feathers. With their big wide eyes, they started to test their wings by fluttering them rapidly while perching at the edge of the nest.The parents of the juveniles were nearby the nesting site all the time, making sure their precious were well fed & groomed. It took 9 days for these two juvenile yellow-vented bulbuls to fledge. Indeed it was a beautiful experience observing the bulbuls. They are fascinating to watch, and most importantly, family oriented for both the male and female took turns caring for their young.

Olive Backed Sunbird's Nest

Olive-backed Sunbird’s Nest

We were attracted by the not too loud, yet high pitched call by the water garden. Upon investigation, we saw a female adult Olive Backed Sun bird (Cinnyris jugalaris) perching on a branch where its nest was attached to.

Sunbird nests are unique as they are purse/pear-shaped, hanging from a tree branch and constructed using leaves, twigs and sometimes spiderwebs.  This adorable sun bird then flew into her nest and remained calmly in there guarding her babies, unperturbed by our observations. If you would like to have a closer view, try approaching it quietly and slowly and you’ll witness the sweet darling smile of a sunbird. Beautiful day? Go out & explore now, you might find beautiful things around you!

Bird Nest

Yellow-vented Bulbul vs Olive-backed Sunbird


How to Make Your Own Pure & Liquid Stevia

Stevia Powder


Stevia is fast replacing sugar and the sweetener that is becoming popular. There are a lot of packaged stevia for sale in the stores today. However we recommend that you make your own pure and liquid stevia from the stevia leaves.


  • Dried stevia leaves
  • 1 cup of hot filtered water
  • ¼ cup of pure grounded stevia (this is needed to make liquid stevia)


  • Grind the stevia leaves in a food processor or better yet a coffee grinder to make pure stevia. Make enough for a cup or more if you prefer. Store the grounded stevia in an air-tight jar, ready for use.
  • Note – To cook with stevia simply replace every 1 cup of sugar with 3 to 4 teaspoons of stevia.
  • To make liquid stevia, dissolve ¼ cup of the stevia powder with 1 cup of hot filtered water. Stir well and leave out to cool at room temperature for a day. After a day strain the stevia out of the liquid and store the liquid stevia in the refrigerator


That is it! The taste is amazing with the calories and it’s good for your health. The Tropical Spice Garden Gift Shop sells top grade stevia leaves in 40gms and 110gms packages, ready for use.

I’m a Junior Naturalist TOO!

Missed the last “I’m a Junior Naturalist” 2013?

No worries, you can start planning for the upcoming March school holiday’s “I’m a Junior Naturalist TOO”!

I'm a

Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.” – William Wordsworth

Nature is the best teacher and greatest classroom for children to learn about their surrounding. Enroll your kids now as they explore the plants and animals around them through their observation & critical thinking skills.

Not forget to mention that the kids will be trekking up to the secondary forest and learn about the native plants, going down to the stream area hunting for guppies and water striders, plus an exciting fun amazing race game in the garden, and many more!

We always believe that Nature Education does not only inspires, but also enhances the creativity & imagination of children.

For more information & registration, contact:
04-8811797 Ext. 311


Click to view photos of I’m A Junior Naturalist, Dec 2013

Jawi Cuisines at it’s best with Chef Nuril

Chef Nurilkarim

Chef Nurilkarim

Introducing our new guest chef at TSG Cooking School starting February 2015- Chef Nurilkarim Razha.

Nuril will be conducting cooking classes on Jawi Peranakan cuisines, which we believe he is the most suitable candidate to do so because of his astonishing background and experience in the industry. He will be having his very first class at TSG Cooking School on the 3rd of February 2015. Do not miss this opportunity to learn from an authentic Peranakan Jawi chef!

I have always had a very strong passion for food from an early age, not only in cooking Asian dishes but trying out different combinations of herbs to enhance local flavours and bland European food. The food industry also generates infinite possibilities for the young and passionate. My interest in this field is inspired by the way my parents encouraged me to make culinary presentations to their guests and the ovation I received from my friends every time I cooked for them. Growing up in an environment such as Penang where the culinary mosaic is so diverse and all ethnic communities delight in trying food from other cultures, I have thoroughly enjoyed eating out and finding the ‘secret’ ingredients which has made particular dishes so ‘special’ to the people in Penang and tourists. Penang has helped me develop a strong love for local cuisine and flavours. I believe my Diploma in Culinary Arts and Degree in Hospitality and Events Management combines well with my earlier interests and will provide me with a firm foundation to start my career in this industry.

Furthering my undergraduate studies in Hospitality and Events Management has also given me a wider perspective in the industry. I now can expand my capabilities and interests and venture beyond the kitchen into higher managerial positions. I have also learned to accept high standards of practice and service, necessary to expel the perceived mediocrity affecting Hospitality and Tourism in some parts of the country. My other personal interests also include flora and fauna photography, gardening and indigenous aquaculture related to sources of food; I am a firm believer in sustainable sources of food particularly in businesses which are large consumers of natural resources. As an individual who is young in this field, I am eager to develop a modern fine dining Peranakan cuisine for an international clientele where every flora of the Menu; flowers, spices, shoots and herbs, will be research based and sourced from our lush equatorial gardens and rainforests. I hope eventually to be an international symbol of tropical hospitality and a future market leader. I know I must do this – fulfil my life ambition and find happiness in what I do.”

Nurilkarim Razha is a Malaysian award winning Chef, with a degree in IMI Bachelor of Arts in International Hospitality and Events Management (Hons) and an IMI Diploma in Culinary Arts. While he was an undergraduate at college, he was Captain of the Independent team at Hong Kong; won the Bronze Medal at’ the Food Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge’, East meets West, Open Category, Food & Hotel Asia Singapore, in April 2010 and the Silver Medal at the International Culinary Classic Competition, Hong Kong in 2011. He created a fusion nyonya and French entrée prepared with grilled cod and otak-otak with Asian basil and pesto sauce. He conducted a cooking demo for a book launch, entitled, ‘Redefinition: Molecular Cuisine, Traditional Recipes through a Modern Kaleidoscope” by Darren Teoh Min Guo’ at the Grand Dorsett, Subang Jaya in October 2010 and had a published patented recipe in the book, entitled Senangin Masak Assam,Peppered Jelly, Ulam pp 172-175 ; 2010: August Publishing . Nuril was Head of Food & Beverage and Planned Menu for ‘World Chefs Day’, Tropicana City Mall, endorsed by Chefs Association of Malaysia, October 2010. He has been Executive Chef of the ‘Practical Production Module’ KDU University College, November 2009 and Class Representative and Executive Chef of Cula 3, Diploma in 2009.

Nuril Joined Cilantro at Micasa Hotels, Kuala Lumpur in 2011, the only Malaysian Restaurant listed in the Miele Food Guide where he engaged in a week-long food fest with two Star Michelin Celebrity Chef, Yuichi Kamimura in November 2012. In 2013, he returned to Penang to take up a job as Executive Chef and Manager of JAWI HOUSE, a Jawi Peranakan or Peranakan Muslim Heritage Café on the famous Armenian Street walk in George Town. He designed the Peranakan Muslim Heritage Menu and the organisational plan of the Heritage Café at JAWI HOUSE.

Nuril was Culinary Editor of the much acclaimed Peranakan Muslim Heritage Series book, “Feasts of Penang: Muslim Culinary Heritage” by Dato’ Dr Wazir Jahan Karim (MPH 2012) and presented the book to TYT, Tun Abdul Rahman (Dr) Hj. Abdul Abbas, the Governor of Penang in July 2013 at the Third George Town Festival, an event co-sponsored by Think City and JAWI HOUSE, which also launched JAWI HOUSE Café Gallery. In August 2014, he was selected for the Penang Global Tourism Promotional Campaign, featuring Jawi Peranakan foods and participated in AFC/Penang Global Tourism Series on ‘My Penang’ in August 2014. In September 2014, he organised the Peranakan Muslim Food Launch at the Opening of The Star Building, George Town. Nuril was strongly recommended to participate in SNAP TV (London) Series on George Town’s Street Foods with Ainsley Harriot; “Anisley Eats the World” and demonstrated Jawi Laksa, a JAWI HOUSE signature dish for Chef Ainsley Harriot, in November 2014.

For more information about cooking classes schedules and availability, do log on to TSG Cooking School’s website: www.tsgcookingschool.com or simply drop us a line below if you need any assistance. All bookings and payment should be made in advance to avoid any disappointment. 

Goat-cha! 2 days of Fun at TSG

Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day is just round the corner, and we have interesting programs lining up to celebrate these auspicious event.

For the first week of February, we will be starting our very first Jawi Peranakan Cuisines cooking class with guest chef from Jawi House Penang –Chef Nurilkarim. The class will feature Ghee Rice with Cucumber Achar, Creamy Rose Chicken, and Sago Pudding with Palm Sugar. Book online here.

The cooking school will also be open during the weekend itself but this round it’s for the children! Let your children participate in The Little Chef’s Adventure where they will first join in for a 5 Senses Tour, where they could maximise the usage of their sense of hear, touch, taste, smell and sight in the tropical forest, learning about the nature environment and also on the tropical herbs and spices. Then they will go on a journey of food preparation where they are expose to different ingredients and are required to produce a set or two dishes under the instruction of the facilitator and they will end the session with the most exciting Slides & Ladders 3D Boardgame. Limited space, so do hurry up and book a slot for your kid. Group bookings are most welcomed too.

Not to forget, on the following Sunday (8th Feb), all are welcome to join in for a Craft making session where children can get a hands-on session doing Chinese New Year crafts and decorations and followed by a Story Telling Session with Master Choo, where he will be sharing stories about ancient Chinese tales, ie the 12 Chinese Zodiacs. This event is open to public and it will be held at the Pavilion. So if you happen to be nearby on Sunday, do drop by the garden with your kid and enjoy a two and a half hours of fun with us!

Do no hesitate to give us a call or drop us a line in the comment section if you have any enquiries 🙂

T: +604 881 1797   E: education@tropicalspicegarden.com