The Pork Chop Bo Lo Bao–The Next Great Asian Sandwich?


Now that banh mi is officially over, sandwich enthusiasts are on the lookout for the next great eastern import. We’d like to nominate the bo lo bao or pineapple bun for the job, a crunchy-topped sweet bread found in Hong Kong, Macau and a few other lucky spots in Southern China. We have found variants of the bo lo bao at Chinese bakeries here in New York, but none that were served the way we had them in Taipa, Macau: sliced with a tender brandy-marinated and fried bone-in pork chop spilling out of it. If you happen to be walking by a nondescript cafe on Largo Governador Tamagnini Barbosa in Taipa Village at any hour other than around 3 pm, you could easily miss out on these simple, delicious sandwiches. But at the golden hour of tea time, a queue of hungry locals wraps itself around the corner of Tai Lei Loi Kei awaiting their delicious afternoon treat. Based on the “bifana” made in Portugal, the sandwich (actually called a chu pa bao with the pork–bo lo bao only refers to the bread) also comes on a plain roll, but having it on a pineapple bun is quintessentially Macanese, as it perfectly blends both the cultures. Made with flour, eggs, lard and sugar, the bread (a carb-fat-and-cholesterol-packed calorie-fest voted one of the top ten most harmful snacks in Hong Kong) is like a sugar-topped scone, the yellow color coming from the eggs and sugar–not actual pineapple. When combined with the savory grilled pork chop, it makes for a perfectly balanced sweet-salty bite. No condiments necessary.