Food Trail: Macau

Macau’s colourful colonial past and place as a thriving port city has over the last few decades been overtaken by rapid development, which paved the way for the construction of opulent hotels and casinos, and swanky shopping centres offering tourist and locals an array of branded products.

This last European colony of the Far East was returned to China on Dec 20, 1999 and continues to thrive as an autonomous Special Administrative Region for the following 50 years until 2049.

The influence of the first Portuguese settlers and missionaries are still visible from the buildings, architecture, cobblestone streets, fountains, squares and of course in Macanese food.

The food is a heady mix of East and west, and I suppose owing to the fact that it used to be a trading port, everything in between.

It was hard to find Portuguese restaurants around the Heritage zone in the Sao Lourenco parish or district.

However, at the old village adjacent to the Taipa Houses/Museum, one will be spoilt for choice.

One of the Taipa House

An array of restaurants offering a wide range of Portuguese food line the rows of shops along the cobblestone roads in the Taipa old village area. Many of these are owned by descendants of Portuguese settlers in the peninsular.

We picked Toca, as it was on a quiet street off the tourist trail and it looked decent enough. No regrets!

There is a first time for everything and the menu and food was different from the Portuguese food we have back home in Malaysia- probably because of different local influences – but I’ll save that for another food trail expedition.

Anchovas Marinadas – anchovies marinated in vinegar, olive oil and paprika for starters (MOP $115)
Bachalau A Braz – Shreded Bachalau Scrambled with Potato (MOP158)
Caldo Verde – Traditional Green Cabbage Soup with Sausage (MOP $45)
Assroz de Pato a Antiga – Baked Portuguese Duck Rice (MOP $175)

Despite being located close to the new Urban Zone, the village and the houses retain the charm of what used to be colonial homes and shop houses belonging to affluent Portuguese families in the early 1900s.

One of the Taipa Houses

The Taipa Houses used to overlook the sea which has since been reclaimed to construct a part of the Cotai Strip which which hosts hotels, malls and casinos – all which give Macau its reputation as the Las Vegas of the east.

What remains now is a lake and swamp.

The Taipa Houses used to overlook the sea – now a lake after land reclamation.

In the Taipa village some eateries are tucked away in nice quiet nooks where you can spend a mindless afternoon tucking into the delicious food, while sipping on wine, spirits or beers.

Steps leading to Taipa Village
Colourful home and beautiful Portuguese inspired architecture
Bars and eateries dot the nooks and corners of Taipa Village of you are looking to escape the tourist routes
Cobblestone backlanes – Taipa Village
The pathway along Our Lady of Carmel Church, Taipa
Our Lady of Carmel Church, Taipa
Parents wait for their kids at Sunday school at Our Lady of Carmel Church, Taipa

Below are a collection of Macanese food in the hotel, streets and cafes that we tried along the way.

A typical Macanese dessert – the Serradura also known as Sawdust pudding – made from crushed Marie biscuits layered between whipped cream
A unique dessert that we discovered in a small cafe in the Sao Lourenco parish. It was basically mango pieces and mango flavoured nata de coco wrapped in a thin and silky wrapping made with rice flour
A warm and silky smooth sweet broth with slices of mango and honey dew flavoured pearls
Just had to try the local Starbucks and local delicacies served here including this char-siu (barbecued minced pork) pie
Bacon and egg pastry @ Starbucks Macau
Less than ideal in terms of looks but yummy Hojica tea latte @ Starbucks Macau
Your food trail in Macau will not be complete if you do not try the Portuguese egg tart which comes in a variety of modern flavours nowadays
The traditional Portuguese egg tart and a variant – cheese tart is sold all over Macau

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