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Macau has a 400-plus-year-old culinary legacy in the form of its own East meets West ‘Macanese’ cuisine. In addition, it has a reputation as a city where chefs come from all over to introduce their new dishes to Asia, which has resulted in UNESCO recognising it as a Creative City of Gastronomy. Here are 11 must-try local foods that have helped to put Macau, as an emerging culinary capital, on the map.
Considered one of Macau’s ‘national dishes’, minchi is a delicious combination of minced beef or pork (or a combination of the two), diced potatoes stir-fried with onions, and Worcestershire sauce. It’s sometimes served with an egg on top. Try a delicious serving at local Macanese restaurant Riquexo.
Riquexo, Songbo Village, 69 Av. de Sidonio Pais, Macau +853 2856 5655
It’s been dubbed Macau’s ‘edible icon’ and with good reason. Based on the traditional Portuguese pasteis de nata and adapted to create a ‘Macau’ version – these delicious egg tarts with their flaky pastry crusts, delicious egg custard centres and crispy crème brulée tops attract visitors from all over. Find out what the fuss is all about at Macau’s original egg tart bakery, Lord Stow’s in Coloane Village.
Lord Stow’s Bakery, 1 Rua do Tassara, Coloane, Macau +853 2888 2534
The pork chop bun is Macau’s other signature snack and is often dubbed the ‘the Macanese version of a hamburger’. Succulent pork chops are coupled with warm, chewy buns to make for a winning combination. Sun Ying Kei specialises in this Macanese speciality.
Sun Ying Kei, GF, 2B Rua da Alegria do Patane, Macau
Considered Macau’s other ‘national dish’, African chicken is essentially a Macanese take on a chicken curry – chicken, covered in a peanut, tomato and chilli sauce, sometimes with paprika. It was introduced to Macau by Portuguese colonisers using spices borrowed from territories on the Portuguese trading route. The dish has endured for centuries as a local favourite. Restaurante Litoral is a good spot to try it.
Restaurante Litoral, R/C, 261-A Rua do Almirante Sergio, Macau, +853 2896 7878
Another popular snack that tourists buy by the box load are Macau-style almond cookies. Numerous cookie stores line the streets of Macau selling these tasty treats. The unique taste and low price have resulted in almond cookies becoming king of the local specialty. Fong Kei Pastelaria is a popular spot for buying a box, and they also sell an equally popular version made with seasoned pork.
Chinese steamed milked pudding can be found in cafés and restaurants all over the region. However, the original branch of Yi Shun in Macau is still considered the best place to go for a bowl. Served cold or piping hot, try the double skinned milk pudding with red bean, or the steamed milk with ginger for that extra kick.
You can’t come to a city or town in southern China and not try this signature cuisine, and Macau is no exception. Traditionally served with tea, these bite-size dishes are as delicious as they are addictive. The Eight, located inside the Grand Lisboa Resort, offers over 50 different kinds of dim sum, and we recommend the beautiful goldfish-shaped dumplings and hedgehog-shaped char siu buns (BBQ roast pork buns).
The Eight, 2/F, Grand Lisboa Hotel, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau, +853 8803 7788
Egg rolls are again an extremely popular snack in Macau. Similar to a spring roll, they typically consist of diced meat or prawns and shredded vegetables wrapped in a dough made with egg and deep-fried. However, there are a variety of fillings, and some of the very best are sold at local Koi Kei bakery. Packaged beautifully, you will see many tourists buying them by the box load to give them as gifts.
Otherwise known as Macanese sawdust pudding, this is a delicious local dessert that originated when Macau was still a Portuguese colony. Made of whipped cream, condensed milk, along with crumbled Bolacha Maria cookies – the result is an elegant chilled dessert that is simple but sublime.
Riquexo, Songbo Village, 69 Av. de Sidonio Pais, Macau, +853 2856 5655
While similar to jerky, bakkwa is a little softer due to having a higher moisture content. It’s a salty-sweet dried meat that is considered a delicacy in some parts of China. You can find it all over the streets of Macau in various snack shops. It’s pretty tasty and many shops allow you to try before you buy.
A Portuguese colony for nearly 450 years, the Portuguese left a delicious culinary legacy in Macau. Among the tastiest dishes is balcalhau – a staple of Portuguese cuisine – which refers to salted cod. In Macau, you’ll find it at any restaurant serving Macanese or Portuguese cuisine. The salted cod fritters (pasteis de bacalhau) at local restaurant Fernando’s are a must-try.
Restaurante Fernando, Praia de Hac Sa, No 9, Coloane, Macau, +853 2888 2264