Papapi & Bubu Chicken Rice

Special thanks to Papapi & Bubu Chicken Rice for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Papapi & Bubu Chicken Rice (海南鸡饭粥) started as a stall called "河记" at Genting Cafe (云顶餐室), Island Glades. This popular stall had been operating for nearly 40 years before the proprietors decided to retire for good. However due to persistent customer request, their son is making a comeback with a proper shop at Farlim. The parents have been brought back from retirement after a hiatus of several months.
Papapi & Bubu Chicken Rice specializes in two types of chicken: roasted chicken (烧鸡) and boiled chicken (白斩鸡). Chicken is cooked every morning to provide maximum freshness.
Between the two types, roasted chicken is more popular nowadays. Nevertheless, boiled chicken still enjoys a loyal fan base as it was the original signature dish.
Chicken is sold as individual servings. Typically, a chicken rice meal for one person consists of one or two servings of chicken. Chicken breast (鸡胸) is priced at RM4.00 per serving, while the wing (鸡翅膀), drumstick (鸡腿) or thigh (鸡尾肉) are RM4.50 each.
The boiled chicken is appreciated for its tender flesh. As the chicken does not lose much moisture during cooking, the meat is saturated with succulent juice within every bite. Meanwhile, the skin provides fatty appeal in contrast to the lean meat inside.
As for the roasted chicken, the rough skin provides delightful mouthfeel. The flesh underneath may not be as juicy as boiled chicken, but this does not diminish my enjoyment of this dish.
And as for chicken offal, the choices are liver (肝, RM0.50) and gizzard (胗, RM0.50).
There is also soy egg (卤蛋, RM1.00), which is stewed with thick soy sauce and herbs for several hours.
Taiwan sausage (台湾香肠, RM1.90) and lobak (卤肉, RM2.00) also available. The former is a grilled sweetened sausage, while the latter contains deep-fried pork slices in bean curd skin.
Bean curd (豆干, RM1.20) is also available. Sweet soy sauce and chopped scallions are used to provide flavor to the otherwise plain bean curd.
As for vegetables, chicken rice is often enjoyed with stir-fried yao mak (油麦, RM2.00). The lightly-flavored leaves act as counterbalance to other meat-heavy dishes. Some chicken floss (肉松) is added to lend some sweetness.
Last but not least, a bowl of chai boey (菜尾, RM1.00) provides an alternative dimension of sour-spicy flavors. This dish was traditionally made from leftover meats and vegetables such as Chinese mustard (芥菜), therefore staleness was masked using ginger, sour plum, tamarind, dried chili and other spices. Once regarded as poor man's food, chai boey is now enjoyed as a delicacy in its own right. To provide rich savory flavors, odd chicken parts like the neck and feet are used.
Chicken Porridge (鸡粥, RM3.50) is also available here. The consistency of the porridge is between Teochew porridge (潮州粥) and Hong Kong porridge (港式粥). While rice grains remain intact, they are soft enough to be enjoyed by elderly people with limited jaw strength. Meanwhile, fried breadstick (油条) are cut into bite-size pieces to provide chewy appeal.
The porridge contains shredded pieces of boiled chicken and some chicken liver. Don't feel like eating chicken rice today? No problem, the porridge is an alternative choice.
Papapi & Bubu Chicken Rice is not air-conditioned, but there are a number of fans and ventilators to keep the dining room airy. In terms of pricing, this eatery uses no-frills approach to provide hawker-level pricing with better ambience. Nevertheless, food quality is not compromised. It is just a matter of time before former regulars "rediscover" this restaurant, and bring in new customers through word of mouth.
Name: Papapi & Bubu Chicken Rice (海南鸡饭粥)
Address: 47A, Lintang Angsana, Bandar Baru Air Itam, 11500 Air Itam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-430-0160
Business hours: 10:00am-6:00pm, closed on Mondays
Coordinates: 5.38879 N, 100.28169 E
Directions: Papapi & Bubu Chicken Rice is located across the street from Farlim's Public Bank. The shop is just beside a narrow alley. There are plenty of parking lots in front of the restaurant.

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