A Foodie’s Guide to Macau

March 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Feature Highlights, Gourmet, Uniquely Far East

I won’t even try to confess that I’m a foodie – I just am. So it was no surprise to anyone, including myself, that the biggest part of my agenda for my recent visit to Macau was simply to eat. All day long. Having visited both Brazil and Portugal, I’m well aware of the various types of Portuguese food and was eager to see this translated in Macau kitchens. Here’s my breakdown of the perfect day of chowing down on the best of Macau’s cuisine.

Macau's Portugese eggtarts. Photo credit - hamron.

Macau's Portugese eggtarts. Photo credit - hamron.

Breakfast

What’s better way to start the day than with those absolutely scrumptious egg tarts. You’ll find these everywhere in Portugal and in Macau, about ever 10 feet or so. It’s hard to say if there’s any difference, and I had quite a few so I speak from experience. Grab two or three and eat them while they’re hot – at most places they are takeaway snacks so find a corner of the nearest square with a good few. Add an order of coffee to go to wash it all down.

Morning Snack

They always says that milk is good for you, so why not visit Macau’s milk bar, Leiteria i Son. It’s right on Largo do Senado – look for the small cow sign and head into the venue which is just underneath. It’s an open, relaxed space and you’ll be ushered to a seat with a friendly smile; ask one of the staff for an English menu. The bar serves up two types of treats; the first being small bowls of egg custard, similar to the filling of the egg tart. You can have these either warm or cold; I suggest cold just to provide some contrast to the hot egg tart. They also serve up “milkshakes” – these are made with milk whipped and frothed with a fruit of your choice. Served in a metallic jug, these are some of the tastiest smoothies you’ll find in Asia.

Lunch

Caravela (Mata e Oliveira, no. 7) is a great place to experience Portuguese-inspired cafe culture. The part-bakery, part-restaurant setup of this café gives it the feeling of an old world coffeehouse, not unlike something you’d find in Paris, but with a huge dose of Asian zest. The daily set menu is a steal and includes a soup, main, and dessert. Bread is homemade and the short menu is lovingly prepared to order.

Strips of dried meat. Photo credit - ahreeves1.

Strips of dried meat. Photo credit - ahreeves1.

Afternoon Snack

Wander around any of the shopping streets and you’ll be offered some of the dried meats on display at the front of many of the snack shops. Take advantage of these free tastings to see what meats and what flavors you prefer. There will be an employee that will cut the meat to the size you want; I suggest buying a few smaller strips of different flavors to get a bit of variety. My favorite is any of the pork ones, although a warning that anything which says spicy means they do indeed pack a punch!

Roasted pigeons. Photo credit - avixyz.

Roasted pigeons. Photo credit - avixyz.

Dinner

While it may sound touristy, there is a good reason why Fat Siu Lau is Macau’s oldest restaurant. They’ve been serving up tasty Macanese dishes since 1903 and to this day you can still get a fantastic meal for a very inexpensive price. If you can stomach it, try the roasted pigeon, which is flavored with a 100-year old secret recipe. Keep in mind most restaurants shut in the afternoon and do not open until 6 or 7PM.

About the Author. Andy Hayes. Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not crossing the world to have his next Asian travel adventures, he is hitting the walking trails near home. To get in touch or see Andy’s other travelogues, visit his website, Sharing Experiences.