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I wanted to warn the Samui Times readers and residents of Koh Samui to be careful when purchasing chicken from Big C in Bophut.
Being Sunday yesterday I decided to cook a roast dinner for myself and my family who are on holiday in Koh Samui.
It is quite a long drive to the superstore from our rented villa in Bang Por but as I was unsure how clean the produce is on the market at Maenam I decided to make the journey. I went into Big C and brought a large chicken for 275 baht. I was a little surprised to see that it had been put in two polystyrene trays, but figured that it was probably due to its size. I picked up a few veggies at the market in Bophut on the way back to the villa and got home around 4pm about an hour and a quarter after I had left off.
I put the oven on and pealed the potatoes and then un-wrapped the chicken and nearly keeled over at the smell, it was absolutely rancid, not just a bit whiffy, as some chicken can be, but really stomach turning, I almost vomited. My husband could smell it from the other room and both of my kids ran outside when they smelled it. I find it incredible how the foul odor had managed to be contained in the rather overzealous packaging.
I literally had to put tiger balm under my nose to get close enough to the thing to wrap it back up again before turning off the oven and heading out once again to Big C.
I arrived at the store and told the girl on the promotions/help counter what had happened, she took one whiff of the bird and agreed that it was very smelly indeed. I then had a ten minute wait for a rather robust woman dressed in a big white apron and wellington boots to come over. She asked when I had purchased the chicken via the first girl who spoke very good English and then asked for the receipt that I had somehow got caught up within the glad wrap that I put on it to transport it back to the store. This meant the bird had to be unwrapped by the meat counter lady who happily ripped off the wrapping and shoved her hand into the putrid bird to retrieve the now equally smelly, and wet, receipt. The receipt was handed around a few staff members, none of whom washed their hands or seemed that bothered by the revolting stench before I was handing a credit note to sign before being reunited with my 275 baht.
While I appreciate there is a good level of customer service at Big C and that I was given a refund with no real problems other than a wait I find it incredible that the bird had sell by date of the 11th of May on it. There is now way any bird could have gone off during a two day shelf life and I now suspect it had two trays underneath it because it had been rewrapped when it passed its sell by date, although of course I have no proof of that.
I felt very upset that I had to waste another hour going back to the store and missed out on my Sunday roast dinner. I think it would be wise for anybody to actually check to make sure the chicken they buy does not smell before they leave the store if they want to make sure they do not spend their Sunday afternoon driving to and from Big C rather than enjoying a roast dinner.
Incidentally I decided on the way back to our villa to give the market a go, the Chicken there looked very fresh, the lady on the market stall happy decapitated the bird for me and took its feet off and I have to say that it was really delicious and very moist, so perhaps for the rest of our vacation I will not be scared to use local markets who in my experience are selling far fresher products than the Big C superstore