Like Macau itself, Macanese cuisine is a fusion, combining the best of Chinese and Portuguese, in this case in its ingredients and cooking techniques, along with influences from Southeast Asia and the rest of the Lusophone world. Today, Macanese gastronomy is recognised as a valuable yet intangible part of the city’s multicultural heritage, and here are six dishes that meet the time honoured taste test.
Portuguese restaurateur and chef Manuela Ferreira opened Restaurante Litoral almost twenty years ago. Her favourite dish is African Chicken, a fusion food named for the exotic combination of ingredients used to coat the grilled chicken, among them coconut, peanuts, red bell peppers and paprika. However, each chef will wield these flavours slightly differently, she notes. “Our sauce is more nutty and buttery instead of hot-spicy to better complement the tender chicken,” says Ferreira.
Restaurante Litoral, Rua do Almirante Sergio, 261-A, r/c, Macau
+853 2896 7878, restaurante-litoral.com
To introduce authentic local dishes to younger age groups and visitors, chef Antonieta Manhão opened her own private restaurant, Ron's Kitchen, inside an industrial building in Macau. The space not only offers private dining but also hosts classes in Macanese cuisine. Manhão’s late grandmother ruled the family kitchen, and her uncle, who has also since passed away, was owner and chef of a now-gone Macanese restaurant in Taipa. But not before passing on the family’s gastronomic secrets, one of which is tacho, a Macanese evolution of the Portuguese dish cozido, a delicious stew made with Chinese meats including cured sausages and duck, cabbage and puffed pork skins.
Ron’s Kitchen, Unit A, 10/F, Edificio Industrial Man Kei, Avenida Do Coronel Mesquita 46-48
+853 6685 5889, facebook.com/chefneta/
Deep-fried Cod Fish Balls
Portuguese chef Mario Gil sampled top-notch delicacies from across the world while completing his training in Michelin-starred restaurants such as Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford, and Alinea in Chicago. While seafood rice is his signature dish, the chef’s deep-fried cod fish balls are among the best in town, with Gil tweaking traditional recipes to add elements of surprise. “You can feel my passion when you taste my dish,” says the chef.
Gosto, G013, Galaxy Macau, Estrada da Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperanca, Cotai
+853 8883 2221, galaxymacau.com
Seafood with Rice
Located in Taipa, António’s is a Michelin-recommended restaurant tucked away inside a picturesque historical building. Here, Portuguese chef António Coelho strives to offer the best of home-cooked Macanese flavours and the sum of his culinary passion is best tasted in his seafood with rice. “It is luscious and flavoursome, just like Macau,” he says. For the dish, a variety of seafood including crab, clams, mussels, prawns, squid and scallops are cooked with onion and fresh tomato in a stew, then simmered slowly with whole grain rice, lemon and white wine, and topped with a dash of Piri Piri, African bird's eye chili.
António’s, Rua dos Clerigos No. 7, Old Taipa Village, Taipa
+853 2899 9998, antoniomacau.com
No list of Macanese delicacies is complete without the inclusion of the original egg tart. A Macau icon, Lord Stow’s Bakery was founded in Coloane, Macau in 1989 by Englishman Andrew Stow. In 2006, he was awarded the Medal of Tourism Merit by the Macau SAR, in recognition for creating his unique egg tart recipe featuring a caramelised top like a crème brûlée, which became this signature Macau delicacy.
Lord Stow’s Bakery, 9 Rua do Cunha, Taipa, +853 2857 6580, lordstow.com
Manuela Ferreira’s son Filipe, also born in Macau, now operates a sister establishment in Taipa, the Café Litoral. The café strives to target younger customers by offering similarly authentic fare in a more laid-back environment. Here the creamy serradura dessert or “sawdust pudding” is a popular treat among locals, combining chilled layers of vanilla whipped cream and finely crushed biscuits. A classic Macanese treat.
Café Litoral, Rua do Regedor, Bloco 4, Wai Chin Kok No 53-57, Taipa, +853 2882 5255
Follow us on Facebook for all the latest updates.