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The 10 Best Macanese Dishes to Try in Macau

Tacho
Tacho | © Urban Kitchen Macau
Macau is more than just a casino city. It’s also a place where East met West over 400 years ago to produce the world’s first fusion food: Macanese cuisine. A unique blend of both Chinese and Portuguese ingredients and cooking techniques, here are ten of the tastiest Macanese dishes to try on your next visit.

Minchi

Minchi is a signature Macanese dish. Comfort food at its best, combining minced beef with diced potatoes stir-fried with onions, and seasoned with Worcestershire sauce. It’s often topped with a fried egg and served with a side of steaming white rice. Minchi is a household favourite in Macau, but you can also find it on the menu at several Macanese restaurants in town. Try local canteen-style restaurant Riquexo.

Macanese minchi as served at Riquexo, Macau © Matthew Keegan

Tacho

This Macanese take on a traditional Portuguese slow-cooked stew is a veritable feast of both European and Asian elements in one. Combining cabbage, with cuts of ham, pork and Chinese meats, including cured sausages and duck, it’s a warming winter stew that is true Macanese soul food. Try it at Restaurant Carlos.

Tacho © Urban Kitchen Macau

Capela

Capela is a Macanese-style meatloaf. This popular family-style dish consists of beef, pork, chorizo, bread and olives. It’s topped with crispy bacon slices and grated cheese.

Macanese capella dish © Urban Kitchen

African chicken

Considered the quintessential Macanese dish, African chicken is essentially a Macanese take on a chicken curry. Created by a local Macau chef in the 1940s, using spices he obtained from trips to Africa, it’s become a staple dish at local restaurants. It’s a moreish combination of chicken baked in a rich sauce made of peanuts, tomato, grated coconut, red pepper, a little chilli, and sometimes a touch of paprika.

Pork chop bun

Sometimes referred to as ‘the Macanese version of a hamburger’. This signature Macanese snack combines a succulent marinated pork chop wrapped in a warm, chewy bun. Sun Ying Kei specialises in this Macanese speciality.

Sun Ying Kei, GF, 2B Rua da Alegria do Patane, Macau

Pork chop bun, aka ‘the Macanese hamburger’ © Glio / Wiki Commons

Braised pork in tamarind shrimp sauce

Another mouthwatering example of Macanese fusion cooking is stewed tamarind pork. A slow-cooked pork stew coated in a rich Macanese shrimp paste sauce. The sauce is a careful balance of sweet, sour and spicy flavours. It blends dried shrimp, brandy, salt and pepper, chillies and bay leaf.

© IFT Educational Restaurant Macau 

Salted cod fritters (Pasteis de Bacalhau)

These delicious golden brown croquettes, filled with salted cod, mashed potato, onion, egg and parsley, are a staple of Portuguese and Macanese menus. Crunchy on the outside and creamily soft on the inside, they can be served either hot or cold. Try them at O Santos, a local Portuguese restaurant in Taipa Village.

Macanese chilli prawns

Also known as gambas à Macau, Macanese chilli prawns are stuffed with garlic, red chilli, shallot and parsley before being fried and finished with a white wine and garlic sauce.

Macanese-style Portuguese chicken (Galinha à Portuguesa)

Despite the ‘Portuguese’ reference in its title, this dish originated in Macau. It’s essentially chicken and potatoes cooked in a mild, coconut-based, yellow curry sauce made with turmeric powder. Try it at Macau’s oldest Portuguese restaurant, Solmar.

Macau egg tart

Arguably the city’s most famous snack, Macau egg tarts continue to sell quicker than proverbial hotcakes. Based on the Portuguese pastéis de nata and given a local spin, they combine crispy crème brulée tops, flaky pastry crusts and delicious egg custard centres. Best served fresh from the original Lord Stow’s Bakery, located in the heart of Macau’s Coloane Village.