When traveling, food is just as much of an attraction as the historical and cultural sites. A similar situation exists in Macau, an autonomous region in southern China.
The city has many dishes to try, some of which are considered culinary signatures. Here’s a start:
1. Portuguese Egg Tart
The Portuguese egg tart is Macau’s most famous food. It has a flaky pastry shell, is filled with a rich, sweet egg custard, and is similar to crème brûlée. A caramelized top plays an integral role in the taste.
Best eaten hot. They are sold everywhere from restaurants and hotels to street food vendors. Among the many good options, Lord Stow (many outlets) and Grand Hyatt Hotel have high rates with food.
Lord Stow Bakery, (near Largo do Presidente Antonio Ramalho Enes), downtown Cologne. Tel: +853 2888 2534
Grand Hyatt , City of Dreams, Estrada do Isthmo, Cotai. Tel: +853 8868 1234
2. Pork Chop Bun
Crispy pork, tasty bread, happy customers. Courtesy wei-te wong/flickr/creative commons
Another well-known Macau street snack, the pork chop bun is literally a seasoned pork chop on a bun. At Tai Lei Lok Kei in Taipa, the bone-in, incredibly tender and flavorful pork chop is in a piggy bun, with a crispy exterior, a soft center and a good chew. Simple but satisfying.
Operating since 1968, this humble establishment only serves buns at noon, while stocks last.
In case you missed it, street food vendors around the Ruin of St. Paul offer their own version. A roll costs $4.15 (MOP33) at Tai Lei Lok Kei .
Tai Lei Lok Kei, 35 Rua Correa da Silva, Taipa Village. Telephone: +853 2882 7150
3. Mashed potatoes
Macau’s mash is to die for. Courtesy Leon Brocard/Flickr/Creative Commons
With three Michelin stars, everything is good at Robuchon au Dôme.
However, the mashed potato side dish is beyond compare — it takes skill to elevate something so simple. The dish is velvety and rich with a (very) 2-to-1 potato-to-butter ratio and is made with ratte potatoes (cooked with the skins on for extra flavor) and cold added French butter.
All this is vigorously stirred and passed through a drum sieve several times to get an ultra-smooth texture.
Robuchon au Dôme, 43/F Grand Lisboa, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau. दूरध्वनी: +८५३ ८८०३ ७८७८
4. Egg Roll
When your egg rolls are this good, your stall doesn’t need a name. Courtesy David Bote Estrada/Flickr/Creative Commons
Egg rolls are not limited to Macau, but they are very popular here.
For a combination of fresh snacks and local color, it’s hard to beat a little no-name street stall run by eccentric locals who offer free samples. They are crunchy, sweet and so light that it is easy to eat more than one.
They are best served hot from the pan. A roll for three costs $0.75 (MOP5.50).
(नाव नाही), 312 Rua Direita Caros Eugenio, Taipa.
5. Portuguese Seafood Rice
Loved it.Courtesy Temptations
Portuguese seafood rice is the soupier cousin of its Spanish and Italian counterparts.
The main attraction is not the juicy mussels or giant prawns but the comforting soupy rice cooked in a tomato seafood broth with other ingredients.
Newly reopened restaurant Temptations carefully walks the line with its Portuguese seafood rice — it stews long enough that the flavorful seafood juices are locked into the rice without losing its distinctive texture.
It’s topped with a spoonful of seasoned Portuguese olive oil, made in-house by the restaurant’s McNeese executive chef, Joe Chan.
The dish costs $16 (MOP128).
Temptations , 16/F, Starworld Macau Hotel, Avenida da Amizade, Macau. Tel: +853 8290 8688; Related Content
Gelatin Mok Yi Kei is known for its Serradura. Courtesy wei-te wong/flickr/CNN
Serradura translates from Portuguese as “chaff.” It’s not a catchy name for a dessert, but it’s a favorite — served as a chilled pudding, semifreddo-style, or as ice cream.
A layered dessert of sweet biscuits (crushed super fine like sawdust), cream, condensed milk and vanilla. It is found on the dessert menu of many Portuguese or Macanese restaurants in Macau. It is also sold at bakeries and snack vendors.
One of the most popular options for the ice cream version is Gelatin Mok Yee Kei located in the heart of Old Taipa. It costs $2.50 (MOP20).
Gelatina Mok Yi Kei, 9a Rua da Cunha, Villa de Taipa. Tel: +853 6669 5194; . . . .
7. Shrimp Tartar
Tartar de Gamba: It’s fresh shrimp tartar dressed with lemon and olive oil. Courtesy Taipa Village Macau
Serving contemporary Spanish cuisine, Casa de Tapas brings new life to an old house with a charming terrace.
A standout is the shrimp tartare — juicy, sweet shrimp briefly marinated in lemon juice and combined with olive oil, giving it a mouth-watering roundness.
There is nowhere to hide in the dish, the prawns should be the best and it takes a skilled hand to add spices that enhance the natural flavor of the seafood. Other dishes include sous-vide suckling pig, paella and stuffed squid. Prawn tartar costs $15 (MOP120).
Tapas House , 9 Clergy Street, Taipa. Tel: +853 2857 6626
8. Almond Cookies and Sweet Pork Jerky
You can try them all until you get kicked out.Courtesy Hiufo Wong
These two items are often sold by the same vendor and are found everywhere. One of the most famous places to buy them is Koi Ki Bakery, which has several branches.
Its almond cookies are baked on the premises and have a crunchy texture and nutty flavor made with mung flour. A little saltiness prevents them from being too sweet. There is also a wide selection of cured meats, from spicy beef to wild boar.
Samples of both are provided, as are other products such as coconut ginger candy, peanut candy, and black sesame cookies.
Prices start at $2.50 (MOP20).
Koi Ki Bakery; Check Koi Kee’s website for their multiple locations.
Casa dos Grelhados (Grill House) specializes in Portuguese and Filipino grilled food and attracts mostly take-out customers. (They deliver to the nearest Irish bar.)
It has a handful of seating options to enjoy dishes like grilled chicken sandwiches, pork spare ribs, and grilled Portuguese sausage (chourico).
The most guilty-pleasure dish is described on the menu as pork lard. It has the flavor (and look) of smoked, porky, thick-cut bacon — grilled and tender with crispy fat, served with warm bread and homemade chili sauce. It costs $6 (MOP48) for three pieces.
There is a small selection of Portuguese wines and the beer is extremely cold.
Casa dos Grelhados, 347-410 Estrada Governador Albano de Oliveira, Nam San Gardens, Taipa. दूरध्वनी +८५३ २८८२ ११६७
10. Black garlic chocolate
Black garlic (fermented garlic) is known as a super food (due to its high antioxidant content), and has a flavor and complexity that can take it to the sweet extreme.
At McPherson’s Sweet’s Shoppe, two slices of dark chocolate sandwich a rich black garlic ganache (there’s also a black garlic ice cream option).
The cafe also sells durian ice cream. Trying ice cream made from the notoriously smelly fruit is a food adventure test — less challenging options are frozen chocolate banana and green tea ice cream.
Prices $2-$6.30 ( MOP15-50).