Tambun Kochabi

Special thanks to Tambun Kochabi for extending this food review invitation.

Near the highway exit to the serene town of Bukit Tambun is Kedai Kopi Swee Leong (瑞隆茶室), a 3-generation coffee shop that has operated for several decades. Tambun Kochabi (淡汶古早味美食坊) is the main stall during the day, serving chicken rice (鸡饭) and other types of roasted meat (烧腊) in a casual setting.
Since my previous visit, the number of dishes has increased gradually. The signature Roasted Chicken and Roasted Duck are still on the menu. Due to popular demand, Boiled Chicken has joined the roster recently.
Meanwhile for pork, Barbecued Pork and Chinese Sausage are still the local favorites. Although the coffee shop provides plenty of dining space, most locals prefer to enjoy their meals at home. Indeed, the stall provides townsfolk with alternative "home-cooked food" when they are not planning to cook at home.
The signature dish at Tambun Kochabi is Roasted Chicken (烧鸡). Roasted in-house, the skin retains a fine balance between crispiness and juiciness. Underneath the skin is lovely chicken flesh, infused with savory flavors of accompanying soy sauce.
Roasted Duck (烧鸭) is arguably more flavorful than chicken, but this is mostly due to the intrinsic characteristic of duck meat. Like chicken before, the duck meat is nicely prepared and is quite appetizing.
Boiled Chicken (白鸡) is an interesting addition to the menu. During the boiling process, porous chicken skin absorbs moisture from the broth and becomes partially detached from the flesh. Fried garlic and chopped scallion help to enhance the overall taste.
As for Barbecued Pork (叉烧), I feel that it would be nicer if the pork belly were made juicier and tenderer. In addition, I generally prefer to enjoy pork directly without having too much influence from sauce.
Chinese Sausage (烧肠) is one of my favorites today. Fatty pork and liver are stuffed into edible casing, then seasoned and smoked to concentrate their savory goodness. I cannot recommend this dish highly enough.
Pork Belly (三层肉) is one of the most delicious parts of the swine. Stewed in a broth of soy sauce, porous pork tissues absorb salty-savory flavors to provide the desired palatability. The same can be said for soy eggs (卤蛋).
Chicken Feet (凤爪) are usually discarded by vendors in the wet market. But in the right hands, they can be turned into something delectable.
Since my last visit here, Tambun Kochabi has improved its choice of rice. This round, the Oily Rice (油饭) is substantially softer and more fragrant than before. Cooked with chicken stock, the rice grains are infused with scrumptious chicken essence. The chili sauce provides moderate level of spiciness, but I personally prefer stronger flavor.
The coffee shop serves mixed rice in the morning, usually to cater fishermen before they set off to the sea in the morning. Curry Fish (咖哩鱼) is the signature dish but is unfortunately not available today. Therefore, Curry Chicken (咖哩鸡) is prepared instead. Served with potatoes, the curry is well-flavored and quite enjoyable overall.
In lieu of rice, customers can also try a plate of Wan Tan Mee (云吞面). The egg noodle is reasonably springy and tasty. Slices of barbecued pork and wantan (云吞) are included. I think the saltiness of accompanying sauce should be reduced to so that egg noodle remains in the spotlight.
Food pricing at Tambun Kochabi is affordable as the stall serves to appeal to the local townsfolk. In addition, Tambun Kochabi aims to attract some highway business due to its close proximity to the highway exit and the town center.
Name: Tambun Kochabi (淡汶古早味美食坊)
Address: 1616, Jalan Bukit Tambun, 14110 Bukit Tambun, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 017-407-2199
Business hours: 7:30am-2:30pm, closed on Sundays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/TamBunKoChaBi
Coordinates: 5.27273 N, 100.44987 E
Directions: Traveling southbound along North-South Expressway (Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan), take exit 158 towards Bukit Tambun. After the toll plaza, turn right and drive for approximately 1 kilometer. Tambun Kochabi is located on the left. Parking is available directly across the road, in front of a row of new shops.

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