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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Macau Tsui Yuen Cafe – Hong Kong Hawker Centre?

Macau Tsui Yuen Cafe (澳門翠苑茶餐廳)

English Address: Mong Kok Cooked Food Market 557 Shanghai St Hong Kong

Chinese Address: 旺角上海街557號旺角熟食中心2樓8號舖

Opening hours: Mon to Sun 7.00am to 9.00pm

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Introduction

Macau Tsui Yuen Cafe is situated at a food centre above a bus interchange at Mongkok that is very little known among tourists. We always shop at Langham Place but almost never know of such a food centre exists.

Tsui Yuen is not exactly a cafe but a hawker stall. It is very well known for it’s Macau-Portugese dishes and their signatures are the Portugese-style Curry with Farmer’s Bun, Macau Pork Chop Bun and their Ice Coffee. Don’t be deceived by the stall outlook as they are very popular among the locals.

Apart from Kam Wah Cafe, Tsui Yuen is the most well-liked eatery on Hong Kong Openrice at the Mongkok District.

Click to enlarge: Menu Nov 2013

Grilled Chicken / Pork Neck Farmer’s Bun with Portugese-style Curry

I first visited them in 2012 when a Farmer’s bun cost $HK55 and they increased their price to HK$60 in Nov 2013. I ordered their Grilled Pork Neck and Grilled Chicken Farmer’s bun. A set comes with a bowl of curry, minestrone soup and a bread bowl of grilled meat. One portion is good enough to be shared by two person.

The giant bread is served hot from oven with a crispy exterior and pillow-fluffy center. The idea is very similar to our Singapore “933 Golden Pillow” except the curry is served in a separate bowl.

The curry is like Japanese curry that is more to the sweet scale and not as spicy as the Thai/Indian Curry. It coats the crisp-exterior bread effortlessly in a silky coat of smooth thick curry sauce.

i thought I would be more impressed with the Grill Pork Neck but the Grilled Chicken surprises me. The tender chicken slices were very well-seasoned and marinated and i can taste the fragrance of freshly grill chicken with every mouthful.

Curry Pork Chop Bun

I wasn’t impress with the pork chop bun. I thought the bread is a little dry, pork chop is ok, just that a little bit of curry sauce is added beneath the pork chop which was barely noticeable. It’s a bit disappointing as a signature dish.

Macau Iced Coffee

Introducing my favourite ice coffee in Hong Kong. Whenever i am here, I will order this ice coffee. It is really smooth and creamy and the scattered coffee powder adds on a light fragrance of freshly-grinded coffee bean. Like our Singapore’s Kopi-peng (Ice milk coffee), it quite sweet but that is what made it enjoyable. It’s definitely a revitalizing beverage to have after long hours of shopping!

Conclusion

I was actually a bit disappointed when I re-visited them in November 2013. Since the visit in 2012, my expectation of them is rather high. The curry and bread still taste as good but the much-anticipated grilled chicken didn’t keep up with the initial standard and the portion of the curry became smaller. I thought it’s still not bad, but was already less impressive, but the Ice Milk Coffee still kick ass.

For those who has never visited a hawker centre in Hong Kong, you may wish to pop by this place for a new dining experience. I thought the dishes offered by Macau Tsui Yuen Cafe is quite different from a typical Hong Kong cafe and i hope that their standard can improve. I will it another shot when i visit Hong Kong the next time.

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

The set that i ordered in 2012. The curry is served in a larger bowl.

Map and Direction

1. Exit from C4 at Mongkok MTR

2. Cross the very first street and walk a short distance and cross over to another street

3. Turn left and walk straight and you should be near a bus interchange already

4. Look for the escalator in my pic below and take the escalator to Mongkok Cooked Food Market

5. Macau Tsui Yuen Cafe is one of the first stalls that greets you.

This hawker centre is just behind Langham place within a bus interchange and most importantly, look for this escalator. This is the escalator that leads up to the food centre.

You know you are at the right place when you see this signage

 

Sing Heung Yuen, the surviving Da Pai Dang and it’s Tomato Noodle

Sing Heung Yuen (胜香园/勝香園)

English Address (Google Map): Mee Lun Street, 2, Central, Hong Kong

Chinese Address: 中環美輪街2號排檔

Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 8.00 am to 5.30pm Sun, closed

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Introduction

Introducing another of my favourite eatery in Hong Kong – Sing Heung Yuen (胜香园/勝香園). This place is not exactly a cafe but a Dai Pai Dong (大排档). Dai Pai Dong is a kind of open-air food stall that was once very popular in Hong Kong in the older days. It’s directly opposite another famous eatery Kau Kee Beef Brisket Noodle (九记牛腩).

Sing Heung Yuen has a proper kitchen though, but the dining area is a make-shift area built with temporary structure and canvas with no air conditioning.  I read from somewhere that such Da Pai Dang is very rare nowadays and there’s only less than 30 such stalls in Hong Kong.

There’s a queue even at 4pm on a Friday

Sing Heung Yuen’s specialties are tomato noodles and their unique crispy toast (condensed milk / pork chop). During meal hours (or even non meal hours on weekend), long queue is formed outside this no frill eatery. Like a typical Hong Kong cafe, the turnover rate is amazing and therefore the waiting time is not as painful.

If you plan to visit Sing Heung Yuen, there is a need to do some leg warming up exercise because there are some steps and slopes to climb. If comfort and tidiness of surrounding is an utmost consideration for an eatery, I think you also can give this place a miss.

Menu 1: Click to enlarge. As of 25 Apr 14

Menu 2: Click to enlarge. As of 25 Apr 14

Tomato Noodle Soup

Sing Heung Yuen’s tomato noodle is actually a very simple dish with simple ingredient. It’s instant noodle, cooked in tomato-base stock while there are 101 combinations of ingredients to choose from. There are choices like sausage, ham, fried egg, canned pork cube, pork chop, luncheon meat, chicken wings, beef etc.

On my first visit, i thought that it’s just instant noodle soup cooked in tomatoes but i think i was wrong. Back in Singapore, i tried combinations of instant noodle with fresh tomatoes, canned tomato, tomato puree but i can never get their kind of taste. This made me realised that their soup stock is more than meets the eye.

To be honest, i think the soup broth has a tinge of instant noodle seasoning taste, but also cooked in other ingredients that i can’t figure out. It’s really rich in flavour while it’s scattered with tomato pieces cooked so soft that it almost melts in your month. Unlike some tomato noodles, the tomato taste is not overpowering and i’m still able to taste the sweetness of the broth. I would finish the soup to the last drop on every visit.

My favourite combination is the pork cube and luncheon meat tomato noodle (HK$28) as i thought the pork cube gravy compliment the broth pretty perfectly.

Condensed Milk / Pork Chop Crispy Bun (脆脆)

Their Crispy Toast is also my must-order whenever i visit Sing Heung Yuen. Some people said that this is even more worthwhile than the noodle itself. Piglet Bun (猪仔包) is commonly found in Hong Kong cafe and Sing Heung Yuen’s Crispy Toast is similar to a Piglet Bun for it’s outlook, but with an almost completely different texture.

Sing Heung Yuen call their toast as Cui Cui (脆脆) that literally means “crispy crispy”. As the name suggest, the bun is really “crispy crispy”. The bread literally crumbles and crackles when you sink your teeth into the bread. Remember to lean towards the table or it will cause a mess with the bread crumbs falling all over you. No joking. It really does. While the exterior is so crispy, the interior yet remains fluffy and soft.

My favourite is their Crispy Bun with Pork Chop and Egg (HK$19). The pork chop is really tender and well-flavoured while it’s paired with fresh tomato slices, fluffy eggs and mayonnaise. It’s easily one of the best pork chop buns that i had in Hong Kong.

Their Condensed Milk Cui Cui (HK$10) is a good option if I feel like having something sweet but not overly cloying (aka “gelat”). There’s actually only a thin layer of condensed milk applied onto the butter spreaded toast bread.

Conclusion

My friend (who don’t really like instant noodle) once told me that this Tomato Noodle “is just instant noodle” and i don’t think he is 100% wrong. One of the reasons why i visit this place whenever i can is i love the simplicity of the dishes and it feels very home-cooked. I love instant noodle, luncheon meat and pork cubes by the way.

I like how they manage to put such simple ingredients together and successfully made it as their signature dish which is well-loved especially by their locals. Set your expectation right before making your way down to the most popular eatery at Hong Kong island district to indulge in Hong Kong old school’s dining culture and  understand why their local folks love this eatery so much.

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Map and Direction

This place is not exactly easy to find. My way to this place is rather straight forward and remember to keep a look out for two rather famous eatery as landmark – 莲香楼 and Kau Kee Beef Brisket Noodle (九记牛腩).

Sing Heung Yuen is actually in between Central and Sheung Wan but i always go from Sheung Wan.

1. Come out from Exit E2, cut through the square at Cosco Tower as shown in my maps. The square is easy to identify as it looks like a fountain with steps that lead up to a road.

2. Cross the road and walk towards the left narrow path as shown in my map. You will be going up a gentle slope. Walk straight until you see this restaurant 莲香楼.

3. This is where you should turn right and head up. There will be steeper slopes and stairs here.

4. While climbing up, don’t forget to look to your right for the signboard of another eatery 九记牛腩. This is where you should turn in.

5. Walk towards that direction and you will see Sing Heung Yuen on your left.

Bangkok Good Food – My Bangkok Food Itinerary

Intoduction

I went to Bangkok a couple of times and each time, i spent quite some time researching where is a good hunt for good food in Bangkok.  I thought it would be useful to consolidate all my food itineraries into a single post instead and hope that this post will come handy to like-minded food lovers.

Feel free to click on the food header to link to my more elaborated posts in my blog which includes address, operating hours , in-depth review and more photos of the eatery.

Street Food and Cheap Eat

(1.) Sabx2 Wanton Noodle  This famous Wanton Noodle is very popular among Singaporeans. Many returned to this humble stall for their crispy-pork-lard-filled noodle and it’s location is just situated opposite Singaporean’s favorite shopping mall – The Platinum Mall. Some are also hooked by their really tender braised pork knuckle.


(2.) Chatuchak Pork Chop Bun The pork chop bun stall is situated at  Chatuchak Area 22 Soi 4. Their tender Pork Chops are freshly grilled right in front of their stall, wrapped in fluffy white steamed bun.

(3.) Chatuchak Coconut Ice Cream The famous must-eat coconut ice-cream at Chatuchak. The ice-cream comes with two toppings and the stall owner offers free coconut juice to go with the ice-cream.

(4.) Sukhumvit Soi 38 Food Street – “Bangkok Best Mango Sticky Rice” Surprisingly, this street food stall earned it’s reputation of “Bangkok Best Sticky Rice”. I thought that indeed this is one of the best that i had in Bangkok, but not sure is it Bangkok Best. The whole street of Sukhumvit Soi 38 is transformed into a Food Street at night that operates up to 2 am at night or later. With about twenty street food stalls here, it is definitely a good place to indulge in Bangkok’s street food culture!

Cafe

(1.) Roast Coffee and Eatery One of the must-go brunch place in Bangkok. Situated at Thong Lor area. Serves pretty good all-day  breakfast, main courses and award winning hand-crafted coffee. I love to chill out, relax at this cafe while watching the time roll away.

(2.) Mr Jones Orphanage Just visiting this cafe for it’s interior design is well worth the travel. This is a cafe that pops right out from a story book, with the interior decorated with giant ceiling clocks, carousel, pastries-filled kitchen and an attic dining area. Also situated at Thong Lor area, you can just pop by to this cafe after having a meal at Roast Coffee & Eatery. With a wide variety of cakes and desserts, surely one will be able to satisfy your sweet tooth.

(3.) After You Dessert Cafe This is a very popular dessert cafe in Bangkok. Long queue is formed outside this cafe during peak hours and is famous for their Shibuya Thick Toast. It comes in many variations like Nutella Shibuya Toast, Chocolate Shibuya Toast or even Melted Cheddar Cheese Shibuya Toast.

(4.) Mont Nom Sod Mont Nom Sod is situated at MBK level two that specialise in Toast and Milk. Mont Nom Sod’s bread is nothing like our square toast which the texture became a little tough after toasting, or the really crispy style like Ya Kun’s. Their toast is crispy on the surface and fluffy soft on the inside. There are many options for the toast spread, like Coconut Custard, Condensed Milk, Chocolate, Taro spread, Pumpkin spread and Corn spread. A good place to have a quick bite before heading off for the crazy shopping regime again.

Dessert Place

(1.) Mango Tango Mango Tango is a dessert place that specialises in Mango dessert at Siam Square Soi 5. They are well known for their fresh mango and mango juice at a very reasonable price.

Thai Cuisine

(1.) Soi Polo Fried Chicken This fried chicken has a reputation of Bangkok Best Fried Chicken and it’s known as the hidden gem in Bangkok. People agreed that the fried condiments that were scattered generously over the tender fried chicken are really unique and it greatly enhanced the taste of the chicken. The location is not exactly the easiest to locate but well worth to try out this unique style of fried chicken.

(2.) Thip Samai Pad Thai Has a reputation of “Bangkok Best Pad Thai”. They sell good Pad Thai and sell only Pad Thai. Each plate of Pad Thai are prepared right in front of you and served piping hot, and frequent by a lot of their locals.

(3.) Huaplachongnonsea Junior Situated at Central World, i consider Huaplachongnonsea Junior as a relatively cheap eat at a very convenient location. Their speciality are their hotpot tom yum soup as well as their curry crab meat. I enjoyed their two signature dishes and will be going back for more in the future. This is a very non-mainstream non-touristy restaurants that are frequent mostly by locals during my last visit.

Romantic Restaurant / Restaurant with a view

(1.) The Deck @ Arun Residence Great place to chill after visiting the Grand Palace, Wat Arun or Wat Pho. This restaurant is strategically situated across Wat Arun. This is one of the best place to catch a glance or take a good photo of Wat Arun during set sun or watch Wat Arun glows in a golden light in contrast to the night sky.

(2.) Quince Bangkok Eatery & Bar Quince, a newly opened restaurant in the second quarter of year 2012, offers a fine dining menu at a typical Singapore restaurant price. It’s located at Sukhumvit 45 which is a couple minutes walk away from Phrom Phong BTS station. The amazing interior provides a great ambiance for couple to indulge in a romantic evening dinner.

Conclusion

This list will be updated if there is any new post on Bangkok food by me. Hope this is useful enough for you guys and have a great trip!