Enjoy Macau without placing a single bet. Recommendations of eating in Macau – from the East to the West, and Portuguese Style.
Macau is a small town but it’s amazingly filled with great food. It is impossible to list out all the delicious places – but I do have a list of personal favorite, some of them are famous, some of them are intimate and ‘secretive’. Once a Portuguese colony, Macau is a southern Chinese community that serves brilliant Portuguese cuisine with a Chinese cooking touch; the end result of the combo is exponential. But again, who would challenge Chinese cooking! So, come on, I have some Chinese, some Portuguese, and even some Southeast Asian places to bring you, hurry up!
Let’s begin with some place nice since sometimes we don’t go to a place for the food exactly :P.
Macau Tower – Casino resorts may have a nice buffet and dining places but it’s Macau Tower that has a 360 panoramic view from the Macau Peninsula all the way to the Taipa and beyond. Very typical western style buffet, but sometimes you may see daredevil challenging themselves of the Bungy jump, sky jump or skywalk experience.
The Pousada de Sao Diago – a.k.a. the Santiago hotel is a historical secluded castle hotel resort on the west corner of the Macau Peninsula. Away from the dazzling casinos in the city center, the hotel is an intimate, charming heritage site with only 12 luxurious suites overlooking the inner harbour of Macau and the Pearl River Delta. Try their afternoon tea in the courtyard, you may see a different side of Macau.
Exploring the City – strolling in the streets and alleys of the Macau peninsula, it’s an eye wide shut for food lovers. Being the most highly and densely populated city in the world, everything is so compact, and hidden gems are always found just around the corner.
During the freezing days, a lamb stew with bean curd sheet would warm you up in a heartbeat. The lamb belly was cooked tenderly, while water chestnuts, beancurd sheets, and radish absorbed the rich flavor of the soup base. At the back of the Saint Dominic’s church, there was a street food stall still serving this street-style style delicacy in a clay pot over traditional charcoal. Nice.
Walk along the Avenue de Almeida Robeiro – one of the main avenue in Macau Peninsula, The R. da Felicidade (Yes, most Macau’s streets and alleys are still named in Portuguese), is a food street where lots of restaurants were in business for decades, yet still long queues could be found outside every day. Chinese congees, noodles, and local cuisines that make your mouth water, and aftertaste lingers :).
Another bustling area in Macau Peninsula was the Rotunda de Carlos da Maia, where the locals would call it the ‘Three lamp posts’. Because it does have three lamp posts still standing in the middle of the roundabout square.
It’s street food paradise. One you shouldn’t miss even if you are full is the pork knuckles and ginger stew at the Fung Kei stall.
More, on the other side I once found a hidden Myanmar restaurant (and so there’s a Burmese community in Macau) – nothing fancy, it’s local it’s cheap, the coconut with curry noodle was something that I never tried before.
In Taipa, immerse yourself in the Rua do Cunha and rebirth in the street food Nirvana. If you are looking for Macau famous local pastries, cookies and meat jerky, this is where you needed to be. My favorite would be the crab congee at the 30 Seng Cheong restaurant.
Turning the page to the Portuguese chapter, Macau is filled with Portuguese restaurants. Seafood stew, clams in wine, roasted suckling pigs and Portuguese tarts are impossible to resist.
So I saw a very intresting video about the identity of the macau portuguese tart, which is actually different from the tarts in Belem! (About Pastéis de Belém – My Lisboa Encounters: The Diners)
In the Macau city center, the Margaret’s café e Nata is the mix of yin and yang – Portuguese custard tart and pastries served with milk tea that reminds me very much of Belem in Lisbon. The crispiness of the tart crust and the warmth of the egg/custard filling will lighten your day.
On the Macau peninsula, the traditional Alorcha and Henri’s Gallery are very closed to the Nam Van Lake and Sai Van Lake. However, the true exotic experience is mostly located in Coloane, the once southernmost island in Macau now connected with Taipa and formed the Cotai district.
The Coloane area is less developed still and it could be considered a backyard of the Macau city. On the west side, the café Nga Tim is an outdoor café located right in front of the chapel of St. Francis Xavier, with a small square paved with Portuguese tiles – it is a lovely setting for a little Lisbon experience in China.
The last two places are great and so I saved it as my Finale, not only these two places has a nice and relax seaside setting and but also the food are actually nice and yummy. Fernando’s and Miramar are located on the opposite ends of the Hac Sa Beach (Black Sand Beach) – I am not (or could not) judge whether their Portuguese dishes are ‘authentic’, I just love the taste – especially grilled fish, crispy and salty on the outside, juicy and fresh on the inside; and the clams, the soup served with garlic bread…. Heavenly ~~