Rua Direita Carlos Eugenio, Taipa, Macau
Visited 20th March 2010Cafe Tai Lei Loi Kei is famous for the same culinary treat that Macau is perhaps most famous for; the pork chop bun. A hot cooked pork chop, slapped in a white roll is a simple, but a beautiful thing; a treat that certainly meets my idea of a good time. Despite Cafe Tai Lei Loi Kei's mammoth reputation I hesitated to visit for ages because of talk of the massive queue that greets the daily 3pm arrival of the buns. I'd heard plenty of stories of people waiting well over half an hour to try and get one before they sell out at around five. I was on day trip to Macau with a visiting mate and we wondered into Cafe Tai Lei Loi Kei mid afternoon, where, despite the pulse of punters, we managed to snag a table.
We stuck with the crowd favourite as this was just meant to be a little snack to tie us over between lunch and sightseeing and the drinks (OK lots of drinks; we're talking flaming cocktails in skulls) and dinner that followed. The pork chop buns at Cafe Tai Lei Loi Kei aren't massive, but where they excel is the flavour of the tender, marinated grilled pork. The unbuttered, unflavoured soft white roll is an excuse to soak up the delicious dripping pork juice (let's call it juice rather than fat shall we). It's such a simple but satisfying snack.
With tasty pork rolls at a bargain price of MOP16 each, what's not to like about Cafe Tai Lei Loi Kei? Well the queue is an obvious nuisance, and while you can't knock success, I wonder if the food's good or special enough to merit lining up for 30-40 minutes? I certainly wouldn't bother standing around so long for a sandwich, when plenty of other places offer similar (if perhaps not quite as good) fare. All that being said, I really do like Cafe Tai Lei Low Kei; the tasty food and outdoor setting in Taipa Old Town make for an authentic and fun stop. If you can grab a table or nab a bun without having to battle the crowds I'd seriously recommend it.