Hei Lin Cafe

(Last updated: June 23, 2024)

This is the fourth installment in my “Elaine Series”, which reviews 9 Taipa restaurants recommended by born and bred local resident, Elaine. A certified foodie in her early 20’s, she has the Taipa dining scene cased, and it’s my hope that we uncover a few hidden gems together here, that only Macau people know about. Next up? A Hong Kong style cafe on the outskirts of Taipa Village.

Just like Niu Ji on the old peninsula, Hei Lin Cafe is so popular that they have a pair of outlets on the same street.  Packed everyday at lunch, I had to wait all five times I went there, never getting to sit in the original restaurant.

Hei Lin Cafe outside

Instead I was motioned to walk in the direction of Taipa Village a little, to their second smaller venue, which was wall to wall as well.

Hei Lin Cafe patrons eating lunch

Marketed as a “Hong Style Cafe”, you need to be very careful what you order there, and I wouldn’t touch any of their Egg Noodles ($29 to $35), Sandwiches ($22 to $30), or Spaghetti ($39 to $52) with a 10 foot pole.  The reason being they don’t know how to do them at all, sabotaging and subverting them in obscene ways to please the local market.  For safer options, just stick with any of the Soup ($25), Fried Eggs ($34 to $40), Fried Noodles ($49 to $55), Fried Rice ($44 to $50), and Rice Dishes ($42 to $52), and you should be okay.

Heeding my own advice, I kept it Macanese all the way and struck gold with three selections: Rice with Minced Beef ($50), Baked Spicy African Chicken ($48) and Ox Tongue with Red Wine Sauce ($52).

Minchi at Hei Lin Cafe
Minced Beef with Rice

Better known as minchi, Elaine’s favourite dish at Hei Lin Cafe delivers the goods, even though it was done in a way I’ve never seen before.  Regardless, the extra vegetables and pork fit in just fine, the moist beef pairing with the rice so well that it should be made illegal.

Baked Spicy African Chicken At Hei Lin Cafe
Baked Spicy African Chicken

The Spicy African Chicken came out all baked and gooey, the upper layer a congealed mess of sauce and sorrow. But as we know, the worse that Macanese food looks, the better it tastes, and this was one scrumptious bird, really good value for only $48.

Ox Tongue with Red Wine Sauce at Hei Lin Cafe
Ox Tongue with Red Wine Sauce

The cow tongue is a personal favourite of mine, something I put down to my Uncle Doug, who can throw anything into a crock pot and proclaim its greatness 8 hours on.  When in Rome, you destroy delicious pastas and pizzas, and when in Macau, you come to Hei Lin Cafe and eat cow tongue, it’s as simple as that.  For those afraid to take the dip, don’t be!  While technically an organ, it doesn’t taste like one at all, much closer in consistency and flavour to a tender piece of steak.

Oxtail tongue on top of rice at Hei Lin Cafe
Buy 1, Get 1 Free!

Also available with curry sauce, I believe that red wine is the way to go, and Hei Lin sure doesn’t skimp on the portion size, giving two huge slabs per order.

Beyond these three dishes that were all 4.5 stars, two other ones disappointed.  I’m not sure how good their noodles are, since the Pepper Beef Strips ($52) were just serviceable, and not something I’d order again.

Pepper Beef Strip Noodles at Hei Lin Cafe
Pepper Beef Strip Noodles

Sure they paired the meat nicely with fresh green peppers and onions, but the rather lame noodles weren’t bringing enough body and soul to the party.

The worst dish I had was the Steak Rice for $48, known as 沙丹牛扒饭 in Chinese.

Steak Rice at Hei Lin Cafe
Steak Rice

Usually served with an egg on top, the sausage, vegetables and random pieces of pork really had no business being there, like digging into some big grab bag of bush.  It’s precisely these sorts of dishes that puts the fear of God into me when visiting Hong Kong style cafes.  For whatever reason, they sometimes bring strange and odd together to birth a Frankenstein, for no good purpose that I can see.

From my experience, Hei Lin Cafe’s best food is served with rice and I will gladly return for more of it, with the Curry Chicken ($45), Fish Fillet ($46), Fried Pork Rib with Chili and Garlic ($43), and Curry Fried Fish ($45) next up on the docket. Unlike other restaurants where I have to order two dishes to feel full, Hei Lin takes care of business with just one.  Obviously not the place for special occasions, white table cloths and life altering wine pairings, Hei Lin will only appeal to more adventurous tourists not afraid to get freaky with the locals and try new things.

Other “Elaine Series” restaurants

-Loja de Sopa Fitas (叠记咖喱面食): 0 stars.  No English menu = no use to us, plus noodles nothing special.
-Kam Lei (金利食店): 1 star.  Maybe better than Loja de Sopa Fitas, maybe not. English menus, but more ordinary noodles.
Xiao Sheng Xuan Japanese Ramen: 2.5 stars
Duckling: 3 stars
Rest Yangon: 3.5 stars
-Sei Kee Cafe (世記咖啡): *Coming soon
-Tuk Tuk Thai Kitchen: *Coming soon
-Chiang Rai: *Coming soon

General Information

Maven Score

Address 84 Edificio Nam Long, R. de Fernao Mendes Pinto, Taipa
Business Hours:
7:30 am to 8:30 pm (Sunday)
7:00 am to 5:00 pm (Monday)
7:00 am to 8:30 pm (Tue to Sat)
Price Range: $
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