If there’s one Macanese snack that’s famous worldwide, it’s the Macau Pork Chop Bun (豬扒包). A seasoned pork chop complete with bone is sandwiched in a baguette inspired bun, crisp on the outside yet pillow soft on the inside with no other further condiments or ingredients. It was definitely on my Macau must-eat list.
We were actually looking for another pork chop bun shop within the vicinity of Senado Square when we stumbled upon this shop with it’s banner proclaiming that authentic pork chop buns are made upon order. They also have this huge bun display atop the pastry display cabinet which caught our attention enough to warrant a try.
The front half of the shop is a bakery shop of sorts, selling all kinds of pastry including my favourite “Cocktail Bun or Gai Mei Bao” (鸡尾包) and their own Yellow Submarine. As usual photos of celebrities who have dined here are adorned near the counter, and we took the smallest booth made for 2 facing a window. Ordered only the milk tea and pork chop bun.
The humble looking pork chop bun sure surpassed my expectations! The bun was lightly crisp on the outside and the deep fried pork chop was well-seasoned and juicy. Really enjoyed this and I think it set quite high a benchmark standard for the other Macau pork chop buns out there. The milk tea on the other hand is not so much to liking, as the taste of milk was so heavy it overpowered the tea. But I found out later that most of the milk teas in Macau/HK were about the same, so another case of M’sian tastebuds playing up? Hehe.
Cafe Kam Ma Lon 金马轮咖啡饼店 (www)
50, Rua Da Mercadores,
We were walking the streets of Taipa in Macau and spotted this eatery with the yellow sign advertising its tarts, and since we have been hoping to get our hands on birds’ nest tarts, we decided to walk in San Hou Lei. Apart from the usual flaky egg tarts (蛋挞) and Portuguese Tarts (葡挞), they’re also famous for Milk Tarts (鲜奶挞) and Birds’ Nest Tarts (燕窝挞). But what we spotted every table having was Pork Chop buns!
Despite being swayed to order a portion of the Pork Chop bun, we still wanted our tarts. There are some translucent bits on top of the tart filling, which I doubt is real birds’ nest. The flavour is subtle, with a strong eggy and milky note but the texture was very smooth. Also found it not too sweet or cloying overall.
When the pork chop bun was served, somehow it didn’t look as enticing anymore. Probably it was the oiliness that doused my enthusiasm a little. But even though the pork chop was quite tasty, somehow in comparison with the other two places in Macau where we tried the pork chop bun, this fared the least satisfactory. But don’t get me wrong, it was still good, just less so in comparison.
But do come here for the milk and birds’ nest tarts if you like milky, eggy fillings. Best when it’s served hot.
San Hou Lei 新好利咖啡店
Rua de Regedor 13 & 14,
The most famous eatery serving Pork Chop Buns is of course Tai Lei Loi Kei in Taipa. Even though they are open throughout the day, the famous buns are only served from 3pm onwards until they’re sold out (which is often within the first two hours). Usually by 2:40 onwards, the line will have started forming and within 10 minutes, it has begun to wrap itself around the restaurant outside, spilling unto the square.
Found the place easily by 2:30pm and even though I knew that the buns start selling at 3pm, I decided to take a seat inside as I spotted people having pork chop buns. But those were merely Polo pork chop buns, where pork chop were sandwiched in polo baos, or Pineapple Buns. The famous ones were still being prepared and only 300 pieces were available for sale per day. So sat down and sipped away at my Lemon tea. At around 2:45pm, the waiters go around telling patrons that the queue has started and at least one person from each table would go join the queue immediately. I was quite lucky as I was seated inside, and one of the senior waitresses asked me to stand at the start of the line so I got to have the first pork chop bun of the day. Lol.
Tai Lei Loi Kei’s first pork chop bun of the day in all its glory. Hehe. The pork chop is reputed to be marinated in a house special and pan fried in its own juice to retain the taste. But it was the bun that I loved. Warm, lightly dusted and chewy to bite, it was divine. As for the pork chop, it was juicy and tasty, but yet I preferred the taste of the one I tasted in Kam Ma Lon earlier, which also happened to be the first pork chop bun I had in Macau. Ah, perhaps it’s all in the memory of falling in love with this snack for the first time…
But whatever it is, getting a pork chop bun at Tai Lei Loi Kei is quite the experience. It was actually quite fun watching the triumphant and anxious expressions of those who managed to get hold of the brown paper bags (in which all pork chop buns were wrapped in, regardless if you were eating in or taking away) and those still in line respectively. We wanted to stay until all the buns sold out initially but decided to give up our table to the waiting crowd instead. And as we left, I still chuckled at the sight of people seated at the benches around the square, each clutching a brown paper bag and happily digging in…
Tai Lei Loi Kei 大利來記咖啡室
Largo Governador Tamagnini Barbosa,
Open :6:30am – 6pm