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I may have only spent one day in Macau, but that was enough for me to conclude that it’s one of the most interesting places in Asia. Macau isn’t a very big place so you can see beautiful centuries-old Catholic churches fight for real estate space with casinos that are oh-so-Brutalist on the outside, but opulent on the inside.
You can also see lots of brightly-painted apartments and cobblestone footpaths; they will make you think, just for a second, that you’re in Europe or South America.
And you can also see hundreds of potted bright red and orange impatiens every few metres – speaking of which, who is responsible for looking after these flowers? Why are there so many of them and why are they in such perfect condition? Is there a Ministry of Potted Plants or something?
Anyway, other things you’ll see a lot of in Macau are pork buns, egg tarts and peanut cookie stores. And tourists carrying bags of peanut cookies from said peanut cookie store (including ourselves).
By the time we were done with shopping, cathedral-hopping and fortress-climbing, it was 3pm – and we realised that we had not eaten since departing Hong Kong. This was perfect because it meant that I could go to Tai Lei Loi Kei to try their famous pork chop buns which are only available after 3pm.
TLLK have a few branches all over the island (and some in Malaysia and Hong Kong) but we visited the one in Taipa Village, just a street away from the foot of the Ruins of St Paul. I’ve been told that TLLK is usually pretty packed so we were lucky to find that there were only a few people lining up when we rocked up.
TLLK has a few things on their menu but let’s face it, everyone’s just here for the buns. The bread is soft on the inside, and slightly crunch on the outside – think banh mi bread roll but not as crunchy and perhaps a little bit sweeter.
The star of the show, however, had to be the pork. Here, they use pork from Brazil (gotta be all Portuguese, yo!) which is apparently one of the most expensive pork in the world. I found the meat, which was marinaded in a herb-y and slightly spicy mixture, very tender despite it being very lean. Oh, and it was juicy too. Like, wow.
I’m not a big pork lover (but I go nuts over dumplings, go figure) but I’m glad that I chose to have this humble pork chop bun as my only meal in Macau. Who would have thought that such a simple thing (bread and pork, no trimmings) could bring so much joy? If my pork-hating dad wasn’t so stubborn, I dare say that even he would like it more than accompanying my mother on yet another jewellery-shopping expedition in Taipa Village.