Macanese Cuisine – Portugal meets China

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If you love food, a trip to Macao will leave you feeling both satiated and excited as the mélange of food available in this island is guaranteed to take you on a gastronomic journey like no other. Macao has a cuisine that is unique courtesy the fact that it has elements of Portuguese and Chinese as well as Indian and Malay influences that will take your palate on a culinary journey that is as unique as it is tasty.

Pork Chop Bun
Pork Chop Bun

Portugal Calling

Having been a Portuguese colony there is a large influence of the culture on the country in the food, there are some excellent restaurants close to A-Ma Temple and in the city center where you can try the same. Special mention needs to be made of the Caldo Verde a green vegetable soup and Ameijoas (clams) with Chourico (Portuguese sausage) and olives. Most Portuguese restaurants also serve the favourite codfish – Bacalhau that can be made in many ways. Do try the special wines to wash down the food as well as the traditional desserts like serradura, a sawdust pudding and doce de ovos, a homemade egg candy. Macao’s version of the Portuguese egg tart or Pastel de Nata is a must try when you are here. Macao also has a selection of coffee shops where you can sample Portuguese, Italian and American styles of coffee as well as organic variants. In fact you can also have the blends you want ground fresh and take home possibly one of the best food souvenirs back home. Rua Pedro Jose Lobo in the city center, Rua de Nagasaki and the area around Tracessa de S, Domingos are some of the best places where you can try the superior blends and tuck in some delicious pastries too.

Local food at Macao
Local food at Macao

Cantonese Cues

Traditional Cantonese fare is a must try too and the areas if Rua do Almirante Sergio and Rua das Lorchas along the Inner Harbour serve fresh morning catch prepare din traditional style. The best part is that most of the restaurants here have both an indoor and alfresco dining spaces. During the winters a must try is the Ta Pin Nou, a fondue with many kinds of seafood, meat and vegetables that are boiled in a dish on the table. Traditional Cantonese fare is best sampled in the NAPE area and city center. If you love fresh seafood, many restaurants actually display them live in water tanks that are cooked after you place an order. When you are here do try the variety of dim sums that come with all kinds of filling from shrimp, pork, chicken and mushroom and try the varieties of teas available. A word of caution though, the minute you drink your tea, it is filled again so make sure that you sip it slowly.

Egg Tart
Portuguese Egg Tart

Traditional Tales

When in Macao it is a must to visit some of the iconic eateries to sample the local food. Tai Lei Loi Kei for instance is the place where the Pork chop bun was first made and dates back to 1968. The use their own secret ingredients to make these delectable buns and you can also hop into the kitchen to see how the dish is made. Likewise the Long Wa Tea House is a vintage restaurant that serves Chinese-style dim sum and teas and has a large collection of antique tea pots and dates back to 50 years. Established in Macau over 30 years ago, Wa Sang Hong is a Chinese herbal specialist known for its Turtle Jelly, Herbal Tea and Double-Boiled Soup. The small space is well known for the turtle jelly that is a hit with patrons. Just a word of caution –each portion is huge so you can share it with a group of 4-5 people easily. And the best place to taste the egg tart is at the Lord Stow’s Bakery, located on Coloane Island. Started in 1989 this place is known to be the origin of the famous egg tart and even today has crowds thronging the place. For a unique dessert head to the Yu Kei Dragon Beard Candy store to sample the delicious Dragon Beard Candy made with crushed peanuts, sesame seeds and crunched coconut and is light and fluffy. Macao’s cuisine is a world of discovery and a visit to this island is sure to unlock many of those secrets.

This story first appeared in Sakal Times dated Oct 31, 2018 here:

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