My obsession with pork is by definition probably an unhealthy one. But when so many cultures around the world prepare pork in a variety of tasty ways, what’s one to do? Well, one goes on a pork pilgrimage to track down the famous Macau pork chop bun. The Macau pork bun is a sandwich we first tracked down in Malaysia, so finding the best pork chop bun Macau offers was top on our list of things to do in Macau.
Fortunately, we’ve spent a lot of time in places like Thailand, Vietnam, Spain, and Italy over the years. These are all great countries able to satisfy my need for all things pork. Ribs, pork belly, jamon, prosciutto. The list goes on and on. One item on this porktastic list is also one of the most elusive: the famous Macau pork chop bun. The Macanese pork chop bun is something we had never heard of before traveling to Asia.
What is the Macau Pork Bun?
What is a Macau pork chop bun? Picture an oversized bone-in Macau pork chop, marinated to perfection in a combination of five spice powder, garlic, sugar, salt, soy, white, and black pepper. The pork chop bun is fried to a golden brown and severed on a warm, buttered Portuguese bun. Hungry yet? Want one?
The Macau pork chop bun recipe reminds me of the Portuguese bifana, which is not exactly a pork chop bun but is a similar pork sandwich. The Macau-style pork chop sandwich and the Portuguese bifana are two of my favorite pork sandwiches in the world. That’s saying something. There is no surprise that both Macau and Portugal have similar and related pork sandwiches. Macau was once a Portuguese colony. Not only are the pork sandwiches similar, but there are many Portuguese restaurants in Macau.
Prior to our visit to Macau, we had only ever seen the Macanese pork chop bun in Kuala Lumpur. I fell in love with the pork chop bun Macau recipe even before stepping foot in Macau. And, after trying it in Macau, I realized the version of the pork chop buns in Kuala Lumpur was pretty spot on.
It’s also a great cheap eat so even if you are backpacking in Macau or traveling on a budget, this is a must-eat sandwich.
Where to Find The Pork Chop Bun Macau
The most famous restaurant, in fact, I believe they are credited with “inventing” the Macanese pork chop bun recipe is Tai Lei Loi Kei Macau. Tai Lei Loi Kei started serving up these tasty Macau style pork chop sandwiches in 1968. Visiting them in Macau was a personal “pork pilgrimage” that I needed to accomplish. And, I wanted to track down the Macau style pork chop sandwich Bourdain ate.
Like many of our food pilgrimages, we were inspired to visit Tai Lei Loi Kei after watching Anthony Bourdain’s pork chop sandwich clip. We watched him dive into his own pork chop bun while mocking fictitious vegetarians who secretly want to eat one of their own (something we’ve also done after eating a Portuguese bifana). Having only eaten at the Tai Lei Loi Kei franchise in Kuala Lumpur, we were excited to head to the source of the Macanese pork chop bun and look for the best pork bun Macau offers.
Looking to try more things to eat in Macau, more than just the Macau pork chop sandwich? Check out this Private Macau Food Tour
Want to see us dive into the best food in Macau? Truly a must-eat in Macau:
Macau Pork Chop Bun in Taipa
So where is the best pork bun in Macau? Located in the Taipa Village neighborhood of Macau, Tai Lei Loi Kei is down a nondescript alley only a few doors away from, of all things, Starbucks. Although not really a Macau restaurant, per se, it’s more of a counter service restaurant. And, this wasn’t the location where Anthony Bourdain visited, which might be the original. It was still exciting to be home to one of my biggest food obsessions. Costing only $48 HKD or approximately $6 USD, it’s more expensive compared to other shops selling their pork chop bun for around $30 HKD. We didn’t sample the competition so we can’t say if paying twice the price means it was twice as good. One thing is for certain, it was pretty damn good.
There’s something to be said about simplicity especially in a world that’s increasingly more complicated. Meat and bun served in a brown paper bag. No sauce, no toppings, no china nor cutlery needed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for some out of this world gastronomic experience where the chef is serving dishes that look like one thing but taste like another. But a simple fried piece of meat on a fresh bun gets me every time. The bread was so flaky we made a mess. The pork so tender and juicy. Easily one of the simplest of Macau foods, but certainly on the top of the list of what to eat in Macau.
Our visit to Tai Lei Loi Kei was a tasty yet quick one. Pork pilgrimage complete, we wandered around Taipa Village seeing signs of the influence the Portuguese left on Macau. It’s strange to think that Macau was a Portuguese colony until 1999. My lasting memory, of course, is that of one of our favorite things to eat in the world. A simple creation born in a unique corner of the world, where two vibrant food cultures meld together.
Looking for more than the best pork chop bun in Macau? Learn more about What to Eat in Macau
Tai Lei Loi Kei Macau – The Best Pork Chop Sandwich in Macau
There’s one place that food travelers must head to for the Macau famous pork chop bun – Tai Lei Loi Kei. There are now four Tai Lei Loi Kei locations in Macau making it pretty easy to track down the pork chop bun during a visit to Macau. Rumor has it that the original owner used a secret family marinade to make the Macau pork chop sandwich. It is also rumored that they fly their pork in from Brazil.
The original Tai Lei Loi Kei Macau location is in the Taipa Village Macau, across the bridge from Old Town Macau. There is also a location in the nearby Venetian Hotel. The address in Google Maps is for a former location. Just look for the Starbucks, and look for the signs. It’s the best way to find the famous Macau pork chop bun and at the top of the list of where to eat in Macau.
Learn more about the Macau pork sandwich, and what else there is to do in Macau and Hong Kong: Pocket Rough Guide Hong Kong & Macau
Pin It!! The Macau Pork Bun
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