May has been a month of despair for the wallet because of all shopping and celebration expenses (Mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day) and it’s not going to get any better in June (no thanks to Father’s Day, boyfriend’s birthday, Chubs’ birthday and a friend’s wedding). To tide through this rather financially difficult period, boyfriend and I would have to scrimp and save on everything else including food, and that’s why we have been having home-cooked meals when we meet, or at budget eateries on certain days of the week. Since boyfriend lives in Serangoon, we would often go to nex for dinner.
Known as the largest mall in the north-east region of Singapore, nex (not poor grammar hor, the name of the mall is really stylized this way) first opened its doors in end 2010 to much fanfare and the delight of residents living on the other end of the purple MRT line. However, not all shops benefit from the surge of patrons obviously, as can be seen from the frequent change of tenants during just 4 years of its existence. But the mall recently underwent a major tenancy restructuring and brought in quite a number of well-known retailers and food establishments including one restaurant near the bus interchange. When it first opened we didn’t know it was popular and we even dismissed it as another fast food restaurant because its menu shows prominent pictures of burgers. Subsequently we kinda avoided that place (partly because it was always crowded) until 2 weeks ago when we couldn’t decide on an inexpensive place to eat. Looking through the menu again at the entrance, we came to realise that it was a restaurant from Macau called Tai Lei Loi Kei and it’s notable for its pork chop bun. It’s even endorsed by Hong Kong celebrities Nicholas Tse and Angelababy!
We dined at Tai Lei Loi Kei on two separate occasions to try out different food on the menu. Here’s what we had:
The noodles were just about the right springiness and texture (love the not-too-soft and not-too-hard kind of chewiness). Flavour was great with a tinge of sweetness. My egg came with runny yolk and the chicken wings were still crispy even after some time! I was quite surprised by the number of chicken wings in the bowl too because it’s akin to serving another a la carte dish (chicken wings on a la carte basis come in 6 pieces) – all for just S$7.90! I mean like c’mon, even a plate of dry noodles with just luncheon meat and egg costs S$8.50++ at Xin Wang Cafe so this is undoubtedly an awesome deal man!
Boyfriend ordered this and I took a rather substantial bite out of it (hehe). The patty was a little tough and dry and the bun, though soft and fluffy, didn’t taste anything extraordinary to me. Beats me why this is their signature bun instead of the more delectable polo bun I got for myself.
The crust is so crispy and the bun on the overall is so (but not overly) sweet, I love it! I reckon they used the same kind of patty as the one in the normal bun but it somehow tastes less bland and more savoury here. Perhaps the sweetness of the polo bun instantly compensates for the blandness of the patty on the taste buds!
Crave for some desserts? Simply upgrade the above mains to a set for just S$3-S$5 (price varies for different combo) and you can enjoy a cup of hot/cold beverage and either of the following:
(A la carte prices are reflected in brackets)
These Serradura, or “Sawdust” in Portuguese, are the only deserts available at the restaurant and are best eaten chilled. I ate only the powder and crush biscuits and avoided most of the whipped cream because that’s what girls on diet do 😛
Our milk tea was alright but they tasted really Singaporean, like teh at Kopitiam, lacking the Macanese feel.
The fish balls were chewy and bouncy, very unlike the curry fish balls I had in Hong Kong which was a little tougher. I very much prefer this version because I like fish balls to be light and tender. And don’t be fooled by the piece of chilli in the bowl. The fish balls (and curry gravy) don’t taste spicy at all, trust me! 🙂
The same number of chicken wings is given for a la carte so I wouldn’t recommend ordering this individually because it’s more worthwhile getting it as a set with a main dish.
I haven’t been to Macau so I can’t compare this with the original. But judging from the hype around the outlets in Macau, I’m very sure the food tastes a lot nicer there 🙂
And that’s all for Tai Lei Loi Kei! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more food updates!