Make room in your itinerary – and your stomach – for plenty of legendary Macanese food, whether it’s a piping hot pastry on the go, noodles slurped while sitting on a plastic seat, or fine dining with linen and silver.
The history of Macanese cuisine can date back as far as the 16th century and a lot of finest spices had been imported during the colonial period of Portugal. So the combination of the finest spices and the oriental cooking skills of Chinese had given the birth to Macanese Cuisine—one of must-try cuisines when you visit Macao. Putting the multivariate cooking skills and ingredients together comprises the unique tastes of Macanese cuisine. Influenced by the former colony, the décor of Macanese restaurants reflects largely on its exquisite dining set up which is an interesting contrast to the Chinese-dish-oriented menu.
African Chicken/Galinha a Africana
A barbecued chicken soaked with piri piri sauce. Piri piri sauce is made up of crushed chillies, onion, pepper, salt, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano, and tarragon so the cuisine as a fusion of east-west origin is well represented here. African Chicken, going through a series of cooking method, is a signature dish in Macanese restaurants and one even does not need to look at the delectable presentation, the mere heavenly aroma and taste of the dish as a result of powerhouse ingredients are strong enough to make everyone mouth-watering.
For meat lovers, Minchi tops your food list when visiting Macao. Minchi can be anything meat but mostly beef and pork. Macanese Minchi is seasoned by finely chopped onions and garlic, soy sauce, Worcester sauce, brown sugar, salt, white pepper, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and curry and cooked together with diced potatoes in olive oil till the meat is golden brown. Topping it with sunny side up egg, the sautéed meat goes very well with each intake of the innate chewiness of the meat and the fluffiness of the fried egg.
Bacalhau or salted and dried cod can be considered as the premier dish of Portugal, by which influence transcends to its ex-colony Macao. Bacalhau's versatility as a dish can be a limitless variation that you will never ran out of ways to cook it. Bacalhau's both a staple and an indulgence—both for everyday meal and for special occasions. Made of Bacalhau, mashed potatoes and herbs, Portuguese cod fish cakes is one of the popular Macanese dishes. It tastes more perfect with ketchup and salsa sauce.
Portuguese cuisine packs a real punch. It is famous for its use of spices and seafood, with the national dish – a platter of dried salted cod called bacalhau – and fragrant prawns, clams and mixed seafood rice dishes on the menu at most Portuguese restaurants. Dedicated carnivores can tuck into aromatic stews such as “cozido à portuguesa”, the well-loved "chouriço" (pork sausage) and suckling pig, while firm homemade cheeses and simple but fresh Portuguese salads are great non-meat alternatives. Top it all off by sharing a delectable array of desserts such as rice pudding, flans and serradura, a super creamy version of tiramisu – all guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. Macao’s authentic Portuguese restaurants offer a warm, homely atmosphere, with wooden interiors, simple table settings, wine and port bottles scattered around the dining rooms, and of course, the proprietor on hand for a chat.
Unravel Portugal's deep-rooted love affair with wine and start one of your own as you relish a history that dates back as far as Portugal's foundation. Influenced by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and set apart by distinctive winemaking techniques and the country's varied climate, Portuguese wine boasts a wide variety of unique characteristics, with four types of wine in particular holding prominence. A wine fortified with a spirit similar to brandy, Portugal’s port is unrivaled in its category. Madeira, also a fortified wine, is made in a similar style to port but with the addition of grape spirit. Portugal's famous vinho verde – “green wine” – is actually a young white, red or rosé wine, often with a very slight fizz and lower alcohol content. And muscatel is a grape variety most commonly used to make a dessert wine from the Setúbal and Duoro regions. Pair Portuguese wine with authentic Portuguese cuisine and great conversation.
With the diverse cultural background in Macao, the integration of western and eastern culture contributes to the uniqueness of Macanese desserts. These amazing Macanese desserts are sold all around town in bakeries, cafés and restaurants and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Macao by their accompanying. Let’s have a look at some of these sweet treats.
Portuguese Egg Tarts (Pastel de Nata)
Originally named Pasteis de Belem, after its namesake city in Portugal, Pastel de Nata are now synonymous with Macao. The rich egg custard encased in a light and flaky crust has always been likened to a crème brulee in a pastry. The combination of two opposing textures in one dessert – the creamy custard and the crispy crust – has made the Portuguese egg tart a Macao must-have, winning the hearts of tourists and locals alike. No trip to Macao is complete without a bite of a warm and delectable Portuguese egg tart.
- Taste the world-famous egg tart in Macao at Bakery and Café in the city.
Another popular Portuguese dessert in Macao is Serradura, which literally means sawdust. The name doesn’t sound very appetising, but the dish itself is far from it. Consisting of layers of finely crushed biscuits that looks like sawdust (hence the name) and a delightful mixture of whipped cream, condensed milk and vanilla, a spoonful of this dessert is downright heavenly. Served either as a chilled pudding or ice cream, Serradura is the epitome of desserts in Macao and a must-try for everyone with a sweet tooth.
- Find authentic Macanese Serradura at our Feast Restaurant, bakeries, snack vendors and ice cream shops on Rua da Cunha in Taipa.
Durian Ice cream
Dessert makers have attempted to incorporate durians into desserts for a while now, but few have had the success that Macanese ice cream makers have. If you have been hesitant to try durian desserts for fear of the lack of flavour, fear no more, for Macanese durian ice cream is possibly the ultimate durian dessert there is. Just like the fruit, Macanese durian ice cream is sweet, creamy and has the intense durian flavour we know and love. In fact, some of them have bits of durian flesh in it, giving any durian lover a tasty treat they will never forget.
- Try the best durian ice cream and other delicious durian-flavoured desserts on Rua da Cunha in Taipa.
Though the dining culture of Macao is influenced by Portugal, Cantonese cuisine remains its important role with Dim Sum as the most classical Cantonese delicacy. Dim Sum are like dumplings mostly made of prawn, pork, beef, and vegetables, either in sweet or salty flavor. With different cooking methods, over hundred types of Dim Sum are derived. To present, spending a morning in a tea house with a pot of tea and two pairs of Dim Sum is still the most authentic life in Macao.
Another featured Cantonese delicacy is Jook-sing noodles. It is freshly produced every day and made by kneading a thick bamboo rod on the dough. The taste of machine-made noodles can never be comparable to Jook-sing noodles. This signature dish is popular among the city and you can choose the traditional Wonton noodles or noodles with shrimp eggs which gives you a taste that can never be replaced.
A specialty can represent the diverse cooking in Cantonese Cuisines is water crab congee. This amazing congee is made of rice grains, water crab and water under a long boiling time till it turns to a nice orange yellow color. The first taste is astonishing for its rich flavor of crab and smooth texture, not to mention the wonderful visual effects of this Cantonese culinary. Traveling all way to Macao, you should not miss this affordable luxury delicacy.
Take a break in your trip at a Cantonese restaurant in Macao, enjoy the haute cuisines and share the joy with your beloved family and friends.