When I was at Macau for a day trip, my Hongkonger friend brought me to eat the famous Portuguese egg tart, and to the casino where swarms of prostitutes at the lobby buzzed round and round in their click, click, click high heels—the security did not permit them to sit—susurrating to men 需不需要; but my friend didn’t bring me to Tai Lei Loi Kei at Macau’s Taipa Village, an establishment since 1968. A pity because I now couldn’t compare whether this first Singapore fastfood-styled branch’s standard is the same.
There aren’t many things on the confusing menu, only about 5 main items and the ingredients repeat in a mix-and-match, so technically, there are maybe 3 items. The food is rather delicious, but unfortunately, the famous ju pa bao (pork chop bun, $6.90) is not.
The ju pao bao comes in normal baguette or bo luo bao option. The well-marinated pork chop is so tender that the meat within appears almost fibrous, but the baguette—really good quality bread—dulls the overall taste, proving two rights can make a wrong. The bo luo version is worse, an awful clash of sweet and savory; no harmony at all.
However, my and Huccalyly’s favorite is the Supreme Burger Set or cang dan zhi ($5.90, with a drink). The superior baguette, with ham, luncheon meat, egg, and cheese, is slathered with butter, and its whites are toasted till the edges are laced with black char, giving an umami crisp.
Will couldn’t stop eating the noodles (option of pork chop or fishball, $6.90). It is slightly thicker than our mee kia; has a wonderful bouncy bite; slightly sweet with a tinge of mushroomy aroma. Tasted like homecooked food, tasted like home.
To add a set (drink + side) to the main, add $3. For the sides, you can choose curry fishballs (tasted like prata curry) or chicken wings (unavailable on my visit) or a dessert (peanut powder and cream). For drinks, the Macau milk tea is not bad, rather fragrant.
Although their specialty ju pa bao was regrettably disappointing, the burger and noodles left us deeply sated, and content. And for all you 宅男, there is a cute, bespectacled girl in the kitchen. We paid $39.90 for 3 people.
23 Serangoon Central, Nex #B2-15, Singapore 556083
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.