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As the small southern Chinese city stages its annual 17-day food festival this November, Macau probably doesn’t receive as much recognition as it deserves as an influential food city. After all, it’s widely believed that Macau was the birthplace of the world’s first fusion cuisine.
Macau might be most famous for its casinos and hugely successful gambling industry, but it can lay claim to being an influential food city too – a detail often overlooked by most.
With Macanese cooking dating back 450 years, it’s widely believed to be the world’s first fusion cuisine. Macanese food is a unique blend of southern Chinese flavours and Portuguese ingredients, spices and cooking techniques from Macau’s colonial days.
Signature Macanese recipes include ‘minchi’, considered the national dish, which is a delicious combination of ground pork or beef, onions and diced potatoes stir-fried with soy sauce, and topped with a fried egg plus a generous dash of Worcestershire sauce.
Of course, local delicacies such as minchi take pride of place at the annual Macau Food Festival, but so do a host of international dishes and flavours. It’s become a real paradise for foodies.
Held every November (November 10–26, 2017, this year), the Macau Food Festival gives both residents and tourists alike the opportunity to sample an array of local and foreign specialities in a lively, carnival-like environment. Hundreds of local food merchants exhibit alongside a variety of international restaurateurs, making it one of the city’s most popular annual events.
The festival lies over five zones at the Praça do Lago Sai Van (Sai Van Lake Square), located near the Macau Tower. The 150 catering stalls are split into different ‘streets’, with each one representing a particular cuisine, making it easier for you to decide what you would like to try. You’ll find a variety of Asian and European favourites, delicious desserts, as well as specialities from all over the world.
Taking pride of place this year is Japanese food, with 25 catering exhibitors from Japan housed in a special Japanese Village, which will also feature traditional Japanese performances.
Seafood lovers are in for a treat with several stalls selling cooked lobster, garlic lobster, crab, as well as Japanese favourites such as sushi, sashimi, grilled squid, scallops and even pan-fried crab legs. There will be a handful of barbecue offerings as well, serving succulent meat skewers and grilled chicken wings right off a charcoal grill.
The festival has a relaxed and friendly carnival atmosphere with plenty of spectacular performances, games and family entertainment. From live bands to dance performances and funfair rides, there’s plenty to keep you entertained while you munch away.
Now in its 17th year, the annual Macau Food Festival continues to attract more visitors every year, and alongside the city’s unique Macanese cuisine, it is finally putting Macau on the culinary map. Let the feasting begin!
17th Macau Food Festival
Location: Sai Van Lake Plaza, Macau
Date: November 10–26, 2017