Like many people in Tanjung Bungah, I anxiously awaited the opening of the new Tesco's in Tanjung Bungha. For almost two years there were many rumors flying around as to what it would be like. Most of the rumors I heard centered around the the increased availability of imported western food products and higher end items. Everyone said that with the number of expats in the area, Tesco's wanted to draw their business away from Cold Storage.
Well it finally opened a few weeks ago, after many false starts. From all appearances the store was mobbed. I waited a couple of weeks before Kevin and I ventured into the store. There were a number of small eateries in the mall as well as a pharmacy, an electronics store and other stores. We ate at the Satay Hut, which was very good and also cheap. After eating we finally went into Tesco's. What a disappointment!
This was a brand new store yet there were hundreds of tiles with broken corners and holes in the the middle of the tiles. The products such as dishes, hardware items, clothing and electronics etc. were the same as those found in the other Tesco's. Walking over to the food aisles I was really surprised. There were open trays and display cases with cookies, cakes and other pastries, completely uncovered. I observed people picking up items, smelling them and putting them back. A few feet down the aisle was a table with a pile of catfish that were partially gutted. It looked like someone through a hand grenade into the pile of fish. As I was looking to buy some beef I made my way over to the meat area. There was a small display stand with large "hunks" of beef, which evidently could be cut down to size. Apparently no one there knows how to butcher beef. The chicken looked okay, as did the numerous kinds of fish. There was a large selection of frozen seafood, as well as some frozen meats.
There is a large frozen food section, but very few imported foods. They did have some imported ice cream products though. They did have an impressive array of dried spices and herbs. The fresh vegetables were far from fresh. There were numerous packages of lettuce or cut salads, where half of the contents were rotten. There was a large pile of "red" tomatoes, with very few red ones among hundreds of green ones. There were many, many cucumbers with a yellow tinge, which did not look too appetizing. I decided not to by any food, after surveying what was available.
I was very disappointed with what I saw and decided that I would do my food shopping at the wet markets or Cold Storage. I really was hoping that more imported foods would be available here, but I have noticed that Cold Storage is stocking more imported items. I only hope they continue to do so. Meanwhile I will visit Tesco for the other stores in the complex and for non food items.