Saturday, March 21, 2009
Tai Lei Loi Kei- Macau
As you walk around and arrive at this place at 3PM, the thing you will see at first will be a huge, giant snaking line. For what? Something very famous and popular- the Macau Pork Chop Bun at Tai Lei Loi Kei, which is only available at 3 PM until they completely sell out. Do you see what the woman in the photo is holding? That's the item.
Luckily, our friend/guide/food person who also brought us to Wong Kun, knew the manager here at Tai Lei Lo Kei. And you know what happens when one has a good relationship with a manager. Instant bumps.
Almost immediately we got our pork chop buns, which were packaged in a brown bag. (The people in the line looked at us in awe.) One taste of this, and you will definitely recognize why this is so popular. Compared to your local Hong Kong cafe, this was very, very different. Unlike Garden Cafe, the bread was not a big fat piece of bread. It is lightly crisp on the outside and very soft and chewy on the inside, and is white colored on the outside and on the inside. The pork chop actually still had the bone attached, and what shined out is the pork flavor- not soy sauce or the marinade. A light sear gives the pork even more of the juicy flavor. Porky goodness it really is!
How is this possible? No fillers. No lettuce, pickles, cheese, or anything else that can distract the flavor from the pork. But, you say, pork is easy to taste good. However, it is easy to make it like this- juicy, tender, and lightly crisp? Not really, according to restaurants that I have ate a pork chop bun at. The bread though, is what is really different from all the pork chop buns I have seen and had. Macau, for some reason, makes awesome bread. The bread didn't make your mouth dry at all, and it was proportionate to the amount of pork chop, unlike JR Cafe, and the texture was perfect.
While eating, our friend talked more about this place. She said that for the day, the line actually wasn't that long compared to other days (What?! Really! That would be considered ultra long here in California!). She also said she forgot to get some milk tea. Well, there's always next time...
Tai Lei Loi Kei Cafe
Rua Direita Carlos Eugenio, Taipa
*77th post on Eat. Travel. Eat!
Reader Dominique also has some pricing information: "I accidentally found this cafe yesterday and ordered what everybody was eating! The pork chop buns are 18MOP and I had it with milk tea which is 12MOP. The egg tarts are at bakeries and cost between 4-7 MOP."