East meets West in Macau, just like its flavoursome food. Contrary to popular belief, fusion cooking was not introduced in the 1970s by innovative professional chefs. In fact, its roots go back centuries to its earliest pioneer; the lesser known Macanese cuisine.
More recently, the southern Chinese city of Macau has become known as the Las Vegas of the East – the world’s largest gambling hub. However, few know that it’s also the place where Portuguese and Chinese cuisine melded over 400 years ago to create what is regarded as the world’s first truly global fusion cuisine.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Today, there are numerous kinds of well-known fusion cuisines such as Tex-Mex (a combination of Texan and Mexican) and even popular hybrid foods like the cronut (a croissant-doughnut hybrid) or ramen burger (Japanese-American style burger).
However, historically, until the late 20th century, most cross-cultural culinary exchanges took place between relatively close neighbours such as the United States and Mexico. Except in Macau.
The Portuguese colonised Macau in 1557. The European settlers brought with them different herbs, spices and cooking methods like roasting, grilling and stewing; none of them traditional to the Chinese. Over time, this type of southern Chinese cuisine using Portuguese ingredients, spices and techniques blended into a distinct style that became known as “Macanese”.
Unlike so many of today’s modern East-meets-West recipes that are typically created out of novelty, Macanese cuisine has stood the test of time, with its classic home-style recipes passed down from generation to generation.
Some classic Macanese dishes include minchi, considered Macau’s national dish, made from minced beef with soya sauce, onions and a fried egg, served with rice and/or fried potatoes. There are others like tacho (a fusion stew made with Chinese and Western ingredients), cappela (a baked meatloaf made with cheese, black olives and breadcrumbs, topped with crispy bacon), and Portuguese chicken (made with turmeric powder, black olives and sausages).
In addition, Macanese cuisine has several popular street food snacks, such as its pork chop bun – a fried pork chop in a bun that is crispy on the outside and very soft inside. It’s often described as “the Macanese version of a hamburger”. There’s also Macau’s own edible icon – the Macau egg tart. Although they derive directly from Portuguese pastries, the Macau egg tarts are believed by aficionados to be the best in the world.
To this day, it’s often hard to find Macanese dishes in the city’s restaurants as its more commonly regarded as a cuisine that’s cooked at home. Restaurants specifically devoted to the cuisine are few and far between.
Over the past decade, since the arrival of Las Vegas style casino resorts and the rapid emergence of international restaurant chains, concerns have grown that Macanese food is increasingly losing its presence in the city.
“Of all the new hotels and resorts that have opened in Macau in the past 10 years, not one has a Macanese restaurant,” says Macanese chef Antonieta Fernandes Manhao (Neta), in an interview with the South China Morning Post.
Leading the comeback for her beloved native cuisine, chef Neta spends her time educating locals and tourists about Macanese origins and offers cooking classes and demonstrations in a quest to pass down classic Macanese recipes to younger generations.
Local chefs like Neta hope that by continuing to promote the cuisine, both regionally and internationally, more people will hear about Macanese cuisine, its significance as a fusion pioneer and discover its unique and delicious flavours for themselves.
“Macanese cuisine is such an interesting food, you would never think of mixing Chinese and Portuguese ingredients and I believe many people would be intrigued and curious to try it,” she told the South China Morning Post. “If we start doing more demonstrations, hopefully, more and more people will get to know and understand what Macanese cuisine truly is.”
Although not widely represented in Macau, there are some local eateries specialising in authentic Macanese cuisine. Among them, APOMAC Macau – a civil-servant retirement club that serves up delicious homestyle dishes. Recently, a new Macanese menu called ‘Taste of Tradition’ has been added to Urban Kitchen, a buffet-style restaurant located inside the Galaxy Macau resort.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.