The Famous Tai Lei Loi Kei Pork Chop Bun from Macau at Serangoon Nex

Macau Tai Lei Loi Kei Pork Chop Bun (大利來記豬扒包)

Address: 23 Serangoon Central, NEX Shopping Mall, #B2-15

Opening hours: 10:30am – 10:30pm

Introduction

If you have never heard of Tai Lei Loi Kei, they originated from an island, Taipa, in Macau and they are very well known for their pork chop bun. They have a humble beginning when they  opened for business at Taipa in year 1960 and started by selling plain Piglet Bun. Back then, business was quite not very ideal, as the ferry is the only mode of transport from the main Macau island. In year 1970, business picked up during and after the construction of the bridge connecting the Taipa to Macau.

During this time, a local chef suggested to the lady boss then, to consider adding in a slice of pork chop into the bun and also imparted some knowledge on preparing pork chop using Portuguese-style cooking method. The lady boss also consulted various chefs on how to improve her recipe. This is the turning point of Tai Lei Loi Kei and many specially travelled from the main island to Taipa just for their pork chop bun. In Dec 2014, Tai Lei Loi Kei opened it’s first brand in Singapore at Serangoon Nex.

Tai Lei Loi Kei Menu – Click to enlarge

It’s situated at B2 of Serangoon Nex and they have adopted a fast food restaurant operating model. They serve a variety of main courses involving pork chop such as pork chop bun, noodle and rice.

Pork Chop Bun

Tai Lei Loi Kei is famous for its pork chop bun and is branded as their must-try dish. I ordered their bun ($6.90) with two add-ons at $1 each for a piece of luncheon meat and an egg. I also topped up $4.00 for a set meal that comes with an ice milk tea and a bowl of curry fish ball. All in all, the meal cost me $12.90.

The portion of the pork chop bun is quite well-sized. The pork chop is rather thick and is sandwiched between two pieces of well toasted crispy bun. I was actually quite surprise because  some reviews online mentioned that the bread is plain average but I thought the bun is pretty good.

The pork chop has an expectedly tender texture and with a light crisp on the outside. At first bite, it doesn’t taste fantastic but it gets better after each bite. The pork chop is moderately marinated and not overly salty so it’s quite enjoyable to the last bite, especially when it’s served with an add slice of luncheon meat. However, I thought the egg add-on didn’t do the pork chop bun much favour. If only they can change the sunny side up to the Chinese Pan-fried Scrambled Egg.

Curry Fish Ball

The curry fish ball actually taste quite different from those that i had in Hong Kong. The curry is definitely sweeter, although it’s not necessary bad. The texture is an in-between of Singapore’s bouncy fish ball and Hong Kong’s chewy version. Overall I think this is not fantastic, but not bad either and i manage to finish the fish ball with no difficulty.

Pork Chop Noodle

The pork chop taste exactly like the one in the pork chop bun so I am not going to write about it again. As for the noodle, it’s quite disappointing. I was expecting the noodle to be more flavourful but it’s quite bland, with only a tinge of fragrance of the spices found in the Chinese Braised Sauce. I didn’t manage to finish the noodle.

Conclusion

$6.90 for a pork chop bun (a pork chop and bun and nothing else) is not exactly affordable considering it’s a fast food dining environment. I could have a full meal in most fast food chains in Singapore. In term of taste, i think this pork chop bun is pretty not bad in term of Singapore standard and indeed it’s one of the better one around. You can pay a visit to Tai Lei Loi Kei If you don’t mind paying abit more for a branded and a rather satisfying pork chop bun.

If you compare this to the some that i had in Hong Kong, Tai Lei Loi Kei’s pork chop bun stood out for it’s size and satisfaction but loses out for it’s value for money and to a certain extend, taste. 

Lastly, I really think that Tai Lei Loi Kei should rethink about their branding because this english name is so difficult to remember (or even pronounce for non cantonese speaking people) and people probably end up calling this place the Macau Pork Chop Bun place at Nex.

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Bangkok Street Food – Chatuchak Market (Street Food – Pork Chop and Coconut Ice Cream)

Chatuchak Weekend Market (Street Food – Pork Chop and Coconut Ice Cream)

Before starting my post, here is a photo of the coolest biker dog that i saw in Chatuchak Market’s Pet Section:

Chatuchak is the ultimate destination for street food lover. I took a train and alight at Mo Chit BTS station and it’s walking distance to Chatuchak Market (or JJ Market). You can also alight at Kamphaenpetch MRT station.

I am more than happy to start my eating spree in Chatuchak, but, i have a specific objective this time. I need to fill my tummy with two specific food – pork chop bun and the famous coconut ice cream. Pork chop bun? Yes. Super tender Pork chop bun in Chatuchak. So the next question is where?

Click to see my list of consolidated Bangkok Food Itinerary

*I had marked the location of the two stalls in Chatuchak’s map and you can see the map at the end of this post

Coconut ice cream

Coconut ice-cream is very commonly found in Chatuchak market but where exactly is the authentic coconut ice-cream? Accordingly to reliable source, i must look for the stall that is in between section 1 and section 2 that is near Kamphaenpetch MRT. You know that you are at the right stall when the crowd at this particular stall is more than usual.

I had my first serving with corn and nata de coco and shortly after,I found myself having the second serving with atap chee and roasted peanut! I thought the coconut fragrance of the ice-cream goes very well with the slightly char-roasted peanut and adds on a crunchy texture to it.

Previously the flag toothpick is a symbol of authenticity but apparently i was told that many stalls also ‘enhanced’ their ice-cream with flag toothpicks. This coconut ice-cream cost 35 baht (less than S$1.45) with two selected toppings.

You can imagine what i can buy with S$1.45 in Singapore. Some stalls in Singapore is selling S$2.50 or more for fresh coconut juice. And now on top of the free coconut juice ( I got four cups of juice from the auntie), I got to eat the coconut meat, get a scoop of coconut ice-cream, and two more toppings of my choices. Plus the hot weather in Bangkok, I welcome a ice cold scoop of coconut ice-cream anytime!

There is a stall selling Iced Thai Milk Tea near the Ice Cream stall. It’s really thirst quenching but it’s REALLY sweet.

Pork chop bun

The pork chop bun stall is situated at  Area 22 Soi 4. This stall is not easily noticeable but not tough to find. I just need to slow down my pace while in Soi 4 of Area 22 and peek into smaller lanes at the side. Just keep in mind to look out for this signage:

I stood in front of the stall for a while, staring at the pork chops and i think i was salivating. The pork chops were freshly grilled in the stall.

They sell their pork chop by weight, therefore to order, you just tell them the weight you desire, and purchase the bun separately and they will wrap it for you.  I was so happy that i didn’t take note of the price of the pork chop. I only remember i bought three buns with total of 200g of pork chops.  The bun itself cost 10 baht.

The photo of my pork chop’s surface looks a little dry, as you can see that the bun had absorbed all the oil into it which makes the bun really tasty. This portion should be about 70g then. Some locals bought 200g of pork chop to go with one bun.

As for the pork chop, i can simply describe it in one word – tender. Actually i am still not able to understand how they make it so soft and tender.  I believe they should have used lean meat for pork chop which is tougher in nature. It felt a little like i am almost eating Kong Ba Bao (braised pork belly bun), just a little tougher, and that the pork is grilled.

I had also tried another interesting item from their stall. They call it the “Chilli Ginger Salted Egg”. It’s sold in individual cup with a piece of salted egg on it at 30 baht. This chilli minced meat is quite spicy with a lot of lemon grass. Skip this if you hate lemon grass or very spicy food. I would say this is interesting, but not a must-try.

Directions and Maps

I had marked the location of the coconut ice-cream and pork chop bun in red. Feel free to save the large version of Chatuchak Map into your phone.

Click to enlarge

Other Stuff from Chatuchak

Section 47/2 – Freshly Toasted Bread Cracker

I also came by this stall that sells Toasted Bread Cracker. There are a few flavours like Black Sasame, Garlic and Butter Sugar and only cost 35 baht for a small packet. I find it especially enjoyable to get a pack that is freshly toasted from the oven. I had the Garlic flavor and it taste almost like our Garlic bread, but much more crisper.

Chatuchak Toasted Bread Cracker

The boss is a little shy as i took a photo of him

Pet Section

You got to punch a wall to feel manly again after visiting Chatuchak’s Pet section. All these furry friends are too cute and are running around freely in a open-top cage and feel free to play with them. However you got to be more tactical if you wish to take photos as momento as many stalls do not allow photography.

 Some Other Street Food

Grilled Chicken Skewer that looks fantastic

Frozen Banana dipped in molten chocolate with toppings. This thing is rather hard. Try it only if you have good set of teeth.

Toasted garlic bread on stick near the coconut ice cream stall