Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Tai Lei Loi Kei @ Pandan Indah

This pork chop bun from Macau, reputed to be highly sought after, has been around since 1968.  In Macau, there is usually a long line around the corner from this place.  Even well renowned celebrity chef, author and television personality, Anthony Bourdain, has tried this famous bun. 

This fast food chain brand expanded to Malaysia in April 2013.  There are currently 16 outlets in the Klang Valley with plans to open 30 - 35 outlets by the end of the year.
So, when I found a Tai Lei Loi Kei @ Pandan Indah (opened in November 2013) in my neighbourhood, I decided to find out what the hype was all about.  The restaurant is run like a fast food outlet, you make an order, they give you a queue no, and when your no. is called, you collect your food.

The first order I tried was the Polo Pork Chop Bun @ RM12.90 and not their Signature Pork Chop Bun because the bun looked rather dry (from the photos I've seen on blogs).  I believe the polo bun is a better choice.  It was soft and slightly sweet and buttery.  As soon as the pork chop bun arrives at the table, the very first thing that hits you is the fragrant smell of the pork chop.  

Though the pork chop (on its own) was fairly decent, it was a bit dry when eaten together with the bun (though you do have an option of adding mayo, chilli or tomato sauce which will then mar the original taste of the pork chop).  Also, what's the idea of leaving the pork chop with its bone in which makes the burger difficult to, no, no, I don't want a bone in my burger!

I also sampled their Bouncing Noodles with Pork Chop @ RM12.90.  The noodles resembled our wantan mee and it tasted ok and was quite springy.  The pork chop was flavourful from all the spices they use in the marinade (don't know what the spices were but it tasted like a five-spice powder mix to me).
You can also have the Pork Chop Soup Noodles @ RM12.90 which is the same bouncing noodles but in a soup version.  However, the soup is a big letdown!  It's not the broth that results from boiling bones, over a long period of time, to arrive at an intense flavour.  [#Tip: In fact, it tastes like a 'commercial' powder mix like the ones you get with your Maggi soup noodles, if that is a fair comparison.]

As the pork chop is deep fried and has a crisp exterior, it's served separately from the soup to ensure it doesn't get soggy.
If you're a rice person, then your only option would be the Supreme Pork Chop Rice with Egg @ RM12.90.  This is served with the same signature pork chop and a fried egg together with a curry sauce.  This is nothing like all the awesome Malaysian curries that we have as all you can taste is just the curry powder...not good, so not good!
If you choose one of the above as a set, you can add on a drink for RM2 (but I didn't like any of their drinks whether it's their Macau Coffee or Tea or their Honey or Ribena Lemon).
My Personal Opinion

I don't understand what the hype is all about after tasting the pork chop myself.  The pork chop was reasonably good but certainly no where near good enough to warrant me to crave for it and line up (insanely) just to get it (like in Taiwan).  Luckily, this is not the case here and the one in Pandan Indah is quite deserted actually.  This goes to show that all of us have vastly different taste...the Taiwanese might love this pork chop to bits but Malaysians don't seem to like it as much.

Eating the pork chop with the bouncing noodles (dry version) is the best option (of the 4 above) for me.
Likes:  Just the pork chop....and only the pork chop!
Dislikes:  Why is there a bone in the pork chop bun?  We don't want any bones in our burgers, please!

Update:  7.09.2014 (The branch in Pandan Indah, their 14th outlet, has since closed.  A check on their Facebook revealed that a few other outlets have closed down in Klang Valley as well).

Tai Lei Loi Kei
15G Jalan Pandan Indah 4/8
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur

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