Friday, May 25, 2012

Teck Kee Tanglin Pau

Teck Kee Tanglin Pau is one of the old school char siew pau shops that has been around for ages... well "since 1948". I have many nostalgic memories about it, about stopping by the roadside in Serangoon after visiting my grandmother to buy some char siew pau, char siew sou and char siew buns (yes back then they had char siew buns that tasted gorgeous fresh out of the oven!). Just the image of the fat man holding a pau above sends a wave of nostalgia over me. It is the reason I wanted to write about Teck Kee's paus.

Teck Kee's char siew pau is the one on the right, with the larger and brighter red dot.

Its filling is brighter red than Tiong Bahru Pau's pau.

Teck Kee's pau contains a creamy sauce and is "wetter" than Tiong Bahru Pau's pau. The sauce has a distinctive taste that has remained somewhat the same through the years. The shreds of pork within are lean, moist and tender. I think that is it to the pau filling - creamy sauce and lean pork.

Another memory I have of Teck Kee is gobbling lots of char siew paus, sous and especially the buns as a child, because they were just so good. But over the years, the paus and sous have changed in taste, and some time ago Teck Kee stopped selling the buns. Somehow I remember the char siew paus to have tasted much more delicious, to have thinner skins, and to be really packed with meaty BBQ'd morsels bathed in that delicious creamy sauce until the paper below was wet because the pau cracked.

Even Dr Leslie Tay of ieatishootipost has noticed the taste to be different. He wrote that Mr William Whey, grandson of Teck Kee's founder:

...admits that their Paus used to be much better in the past.   The Paus nowadays have less fat than the ones in the past because of the more health conscious public.  But there are other factors which are beyond their control.  The quality of pork in Singapore isn't quite as good as it was in the days when Singapore still had own own pig farms and there is still a ban on Malaysian pork, so most of the pork now comes from Brazil.  Even the flour isn't as fresh as it was in the past!

No matter, I do wish that Teck Kee would try as much as possible to replicate the old taste of its char siew paus. Teck Kee is a legend, and it is just slightly unsettling and upsetting when the taste of something you grew up eating has faded.

Teck Kee Tanglin Pau

All locations listed here:


  1. I remember having teck kee paus quite a long while ago and admit that I wasn't particularly enamoured by it. I found the skin too thick and the filling to meager. I must have passed the time when the quality of their paus were at their peak.

    So what's your verdict? Was the Tiong Bahru pau better? From the photo, the skin of the TB pau looks equally thick, if not thicker, than the TK one. A good pau with optimum skin-filling ratio is so difficult to find nowadays, apart from Chinese restaurants.

  2. Hmm when was the first / last time you had Teck Kee paus? I remember that 20 years ago they still tasted good, but cannot pinpoint any period of time when their taste started declining.

    Tiong Bahru pau - post coming up soon! ^_^

  3. Wow my history with TK pau doesn't go back that long. I think it was about 2 or 3 years ago I had it. Looks like I must try TB pau :) I think there's an outlet at Toa Payoh which is much nearer my place.

  4. Old already :p Yeah do try TB pau! And yup there's an outlet at Toa Payoh! After you try it, let me know what you think!